You Killed Wesley Payne by Sean Beaudoin
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2011
4 out of 5
He's come to do a job.
A job that involves a body.
A body wrapped in duct tape 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 to solve the mystery of "The Body" before it solves him.
Wesley Payne does what a good book should--it sneaks up on you. From the outset I loved the idea of a teenage private detective with some noir thrown in. It's an idea I haven't seen before, which makes it incredibly intriguing.
For more than half of this book, I just wasn't sure what to make of it. There are moments where it's trying so hard to be something, but I'm not completely sure what that something is. World building is usually limited to science fiction or fantasy titles, but it is definitely a different world in this book. It's an interesting world, but heavy.
Then all of a sudden it becomes a really good book. I'm not sure where it took this turn exactly. I just know I went from the depressive to the manic. I did not want to put this book down until I knew how it ended.
The extras are excellent. There's a glossary (which is funny by itself) to help with the jargon, copies of Dalton's writings, and the opening of a Lexington Cole novel (Dalton's PI guru).
This title was difficult at first but I'm glad I stuck with it. It has some really good moments that are funny, beautiful, sweet and surprising.
This title was sent to me by the publisher following a work-related webinar.