Friday, May 18, 2012

You Killed Wesley Payne

By Sean Beaudoin
Published by Little Brown
Copyright 2011

Pulp Fiction P.I.'s meet high school in this mysterious and funny novel. You'll never look at high school cliques the same again.

Dalton Rev is a teenage private detective with a serious case to crack. Macy Payne has hired Dalton to find out who killed her brother and upon being intercepted by the principal (Principal Inference) he has also found a second case – tracking down $100,000 in stolen racket money.

Wesley Payne was found dead, wrapped in duct taped and hanging from a goal post at the Salt River High School football field. It becomes apparent to Dalton very soon that Wesley’s death is not the suicide it was cracked up to be. Salt River High is out of control with two raging cliques that want to rule the school, the Balls and the Pinker Caskets, and the various fringe and hangers-on cliques. The Fack Cult T is more than willing to look the other way as long as their price is met. The only thing that keeps the school from full scale violence is the looming threat of the Lee Harvies, who thwart violence with the threat of violence. This is going to be a tough case for Rev to crack by himself.

Sean Beaudoin has written your classic pulp-fiction novel that is updated with a seriously modern and off the wall cast of jocks, geeks, nerds, preps, goths, psychopaths, and depressed loners. And don’t forget those tough as nails police detectives that inevitably have to be circumnavigated. “You Killed Wesley Payne” is prison rules high school with high fashion, tough mystery, snarky Ironic humor, and witty banter.

This is an awesome book for high level teens (grades 9-12). While some content in this book is a little edgy, I applaud him for accomplishing this without the excessive use of foul language which tends to find its way into high level YA Literature. I love Beaudoin for bringing back the hard-boiled mystery/crime genre. This book is going to resonate with teens of every ilk because of Dalton’s anti-superhero, how many times can I be beat unconscious, everyman persona, as well as for the plethora of cliques that will enable most teens to find someone they relate to.

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