He's come to do a job.
A job that involves a body.
A body wrapped in duct tape found hanging from the goal posts at the end of the football field.
You Killed Wesley Payne is a truly original and darkly hilarious update of classic pulp-noir, in which hard-boiled seventeen year-old Dalton Rev transfers to the mean hallways of Salt River High to take on the toughest case of his life. The question isn't whether Dalton's going to get paid. He always gets paid. Or whether he's gonna get the girl. He always (sometimes) gets the girl. The real question is whether Dalton Rev can outwit crooked cops and killer cliques in time to solve the mystery of "The Body" before it solves him.
Sean Beaudoin (Going Nowhere Faster, Fade to Blue) evokes the distinctive voices of legendary crime/noir authors Dashiell Hammett and Jim Thompson with a little bit of Mean Girls and Heathers throwin in for good measure. This smart, slick, and alluring detective novel that will tease you, thrill you, and suck you in.(Publisher's summary from Goodreads)
You Killed Wesley Payne is a very original detective novel that shows a very dark and humorous side to Sean Beaudoin. The main character Dalton Rev is up to his ears in a murder case that has him transferring from one high school to Salt River High. The entire school is on the take and I enjoyed the satirical look at high school cliques, and really had to wonder if Sean might have been a bit like me in high school never really fitting into any of the cliques. It would explain his ability to characterize them in such an exaggerated, unfaltering, and yet realistic way.
I couldn’t help but like Dalton. His motives for taking on the case of “The Body” are pure. He needs to send his brother’s platoon body armor and needs money and lots of it to accomplish this. He has read every book in The Private Dick Handbook which is referenced frequently through out the story whenever a situation comes up that causes Dalton to question which way to go. He has a very ethical side to him and attempts to stay true to his values. Finally, I liked that he was still all teen age boy, who while searching for answers to the crime, often faltered when making important decisions and feeling bad when he made the wrong ones.
While I am not sure that this book would appeal to all YA audiences, I do think that it is well suited for guys. While I did find the pace slower than must books I read, the pace was steady and the plot had enough twists and turns to keep me engaged throughout. If you are a fan of pulp fiction and crime/noir, then I would highly recommend this spoof as a creative YA version of these genre.
Source: Received ARC from publisher for review