The investigation leads Linnea and Parker to the island. Just what will they uncover there? Find out in Pine & Merrimac #2 from BOOM! Studios.
PINE AND MERRIMAC #2
Writer: Kyle Starks
Artist: Fran Galán
Letterer: Pat Brosseau
Editor: Jon Moisan
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Cover Price: $4.99
Release Date: February 7, 2024
Previously in Pine AND Merrimac: Linnea Kent is a former homicide detective turned private. Her husband Parker, a former MMA fighter, is her assistant. Most of the work they get is mundane, such as finding out whether people’s spouses are cheating. Then one day a couple comes in and asks Linnea to help find their missing daughter, Tabbitha. This hits close for Linnea, whose young sister went missing years ago and was later found dead. She usually does not take cases like this one, but this time, she decides to do it. The investigation leads to a motorcycle club, and with a little persuasion from Parker, they admit to taking the girl and dropping her off at an island.
THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND
As Pine and Merrimac #2 opens, Linnea waits for her coffee order and wonders about the symbol in a matchbook she found. The morning news is all about Senator Lockridge, born in Jamesport, and his run for president. Linnea gets her coffee – under the name Linder and then realizes that Abigail Byrne now works here. Abigail is upset about her divorce, having no place to live, and needing to get a “normal person” job, all because of Linnea’s detective work. She also admits to making Linnea’s coffee. Linnea takes her coffee and leaves, throwing the coffee away as soon as she can.
Back at the office, Parker is frustrated by not being able to find anything about the island online – no pictures, no maps, nothing. If only they knew someone with a boat.
But they do know someone with a boat! Jody tells them there is not supposed to be anything on the island. But he also knows there is a no-fly zone over it. He figures it must be a local version of the Bohemian Grove. He drops Parker and Linnea off on the far side of the island, opposite the old dock.
The two detectives walk across the island in the moonlight, only to come upon a fence topped with razor wire. That is suspicious. Parker takes out his bolt cutters and cuts through the chain link fence. Beyond the fence is a large, dark tent. There is also a guy with a gun who says they should not be there. Linnea makes an excuse and Parker clobbers him. Parker wants to take his assault rifle along, but Linnea nixes the idea.
In the tent they find a group of prison cells all isolated from one another. No one is currently in them, but there are footprints. Parker has a bad feeling about this and urges Linnea to leave. But Linnea wants to see if Tabitha is here. Two more guards come in on their way to look for the guard who has not yet reported back. Linnea spots a large sculpture that matches the symbol in the matchbook. In front of it is an altar with ropes. Parker figures some kind of sex thing is going on. Linnea takes pictures.
The guards return, and the detectives duck into hiding. The guards talk about how they had to move the girls. The bosses thought the bikers might have blabbed – and killed them all. In shock, Linnea throws up and the guards hear them. Parker knocks them out. They leave, only to run into more guards. Parker punches his way through and the two of them race for the dock. Linnea spots some gasoline and uses the matches to start a fire. Jody approaches from the water. He heard gunshots and came to meet them.
Jody also recommends that they toss their phones into the water. Linnea has evidence on hers – but the phones could be tracked. But Linnea also overheard the name of a hotel from the guards!
FROM FUN TO HORRIFYING
The characters of Pine and Merrimac #2 are depicted in such fun ways. While the main mystery seems grim, the supporting characters bring in some lightness as quirky New England people. Jody, besides having a boat, runs the army surplus store. He has long, white hair and a dark handlebar mustache. He is pretty shrewd about the island, and his idea to approach from the far side makes sense. On the other hand, his speculations have an almost paranoid bent to them. I love how he cheerfully agrees to hang out and wait for them while just as cheerfully refusing to set foot on the island.
The atmosphere on the island is terrific. There is just enough moonlight so that they aren’t on the island in complete darkness. A bit of fog allows for just enough light scatter to make the scenes interesting. While the brightness allows for good silhouettes, the fog obscures the full shapes of anything they pass. The razor wire comes as a surprise and the large tent looks weird and incongruous. But as charming as this all looks at first, the creepy prison cells convince us that whatever is going on here is horrible.
BOTTOM LINE: WHERE NEXT?
The plot thickens and gets darker in Pine and Merrimac #2. Linnea really wanted to get away from investigating murders, but it is starting to look like that may not be possible!
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Pine and Merrimac #2
Linnea and Parker go to the island, an island that is not supposed to have anything of interest on it at all.