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You Killed Wesley Payne
Cover of You Killed Wesley Payne
You Killed Wesley Payne
Borrow

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. It'll tease you, please you, and never ever leave you. Actually, that's not true. It's only a book. One that's going to suck you in, spit you out, and make you shake hands with the devil. Probably.

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. It'll tease you, please you, and never ever leave you. Actually, that's not true. It's only a book. One that's going to suck you in, spit you out, and make you shake hands with the devil. Probably.

Available formats-
  • OverDrive Read
Languages:-
Copies-
  • Available:
    1
  • Library copies:
    1
Levels-
  • ATOS:
    4.3
  • Lexile:
    660
  • Interest Level:
    UG
  • Text Difficulty:
    3

Recommended for you

About the Author-
  • Sean Beaudoin is the author of Going Nowhere Faster, which was nominated as one of YALSA's "Best Books for Young Adults"; Fade to Blue, which was called "Infinite Jest for teens" by Booklist, You Killed Wesley Payne, which was a Booklist Editor's Choice; and The Infects, which was called a "wickedly unpredictable adventure" by Publishers Weekly. His short stories and articles have appeared in numerous publications. Sean's website is seanbeaudoin.com.
Reviews-
  • DOGO Books Mrs. Stubbs - I was browsing when we were in the library looking for books that boys might want to read. This one caught my eye then I read the "blurb." It sounded interesting, so I am going to try it.
  • Publisher's Weekly

    December 6, 2010
    Beaudoin offers up a fast-paced mashup of noir homage and high school satire that's often witty, but founders under the weight of its ambition. Dalton Rev models his life on his favorite detective, Lexington Cole, and brings his hard-boiled sensibilities to Salt River High—a place that resembles "school" in only the loosest of senses—where cute Macy Payne has hired him to find out who killed her brother, found hanged on the football goalposts. Rev's wanderings bring him into contact with assorted cliques (helpfully outlined in a guide at the front of the book), which include everyone from poetry-worshipping Plaths to brainy Euclidians as well as Lee Harvies (anarchic, gun-toting snipers). Beaudoin (Fade to Blue) wavers too often between fleshing out his characters and keeping his world off-kilter (a subplot involving Rev getting into Harvard is particularly painful). The resulting concoction is in the surreal vein of recent books like Going Bovine and Andromeda Klein, but never quite meshes the social satire of the cliques with Rev's concerns about his family, and the muddled ending does the story no favors. Ages 12–up.

  • Kirkus

    December 15, 2010

    Tough, suit-sporting, no-nonsense high-school sleuth Dalton Rev stalks the killer who masterminded the murder of popular in-guy Wesley Payne. Hired by Wesley's über-hot sister Macy, Dalton treads a dangerous path, where high-school cliques war like gangs and corruption is pervasive. Dalton's hilarious, hard-boiled Chandler-esque one-liners cut the intimidating come-ons of thuggish football players, snooty band snobs and jaded cops to the quick, though they also often require flips to the novel's glossary. They add to Beaudoin's ambitious, sharply scoped gumshoe universe, the complexity of which often overwhelms the plot and may leave many readers scratching their heads and leafing back to previous chapters to uncover who-did-what-when—though it's so adeptly constructed one might legitimately wonder if that's the point. Multiple characters simultaneously add intrigue and befuddlement, and the 30-plus pages of climax will have willing readers chuckling in amusement and less patient ones enraged. That said, this dark, cynical romp is full of clever references and red herrings, which will delight the adult noir fan and pique the curiosities of the observant outcast teen who's looking for a way to infiltrate the in-crowd. (Mystery. 12 & up) 

    (COPYRIGHT (2010) KIRKUS REVIEWS/NIELSEN BUSINESS MEDIA, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.)

  • School Library Journal

    April 1, 2011

    Gr 9 Up-Dalton Rev is a hard-boiled teen detective searching for a killer in a high school ruled by ruthless cliques and corrupt adults. The social structure at Salt River High is so complex that readers will need an organizational chart and an index to keep track. These are thoughtfully provided at the beginning of the book, and they make for some hilarious reading. Dalton, armed with his Private Dick Handbook and a copy of his favorite detective novel, walks into an impending war between the Balls (jocks) and Pinker Caskets (rockers) for control of the campus rackets. Other cliques (Euclideans, Foxxes, Populahs) and the Fack Cult T jockey for position and profit. The crime noir story, combined with the exaggerated high school social structure, is very funny-for the first 100 pages. The cliched dialogue and stereotyped characters wear thin but there is a compelling mystery here that will keep readers guessing. Unfortunately, the ending is too contrived and, well, too weird to be satisfying. Snarky outsiders may enjoy this novel but many teens will tire of the story or find it too confusing.-Anthony C. Doyle, Livingston High School, CA

    Copyright 2011 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Booklist

    Starred review from December 1, 2010
    Grades 9-12 *Starred Review* The cliques rule the rackets in Salt River High. The two top outfits, the Balls (football players, wearers of no-irony crew cuts) and Pinker Casket (thrash rockers, most appropriate for funerals or virgin sacrifices), are hurtling toward a turf war, and all the assorted mid-level cliques (and even the crooked Fack Cult T) are constantly looking for an angle to ride to prominence. At the center of the maelstrom is a body, Wesley Payne, a former member of the Euclidians (nerds, fingertip sniffers), who was found wrapped in duct tape, hanging upside-down from the goalposts. Teenage private dick Dalton Rev arrives to sort out the murder, locate a missing hundred grand, and if everything rolls his way, ride off into the sunset with the adorable Macy Payne, Wesleys sister. Beaudoin plays a Chandler hand with a Tarantino smirk in this ultra-clever high-school noir, dropping invented brand labels on everything from energy-drink ingredients (Flavor Flavah) to the Almighty (Oh my Bob!). Ever checking his moves against what his crime-novel hero, Lexington Cole, would do, Dalton himself is so straight hard-boiled, its screwy: Dalton played it cool. He played it frozen. He was in full Deano at the Copa mode. But in the end, none of the stylistic pastiche and slick patter would matter if they werent hitched to such a propulsive mystery, with enough double-crosses and blindsiding reveals to give you vertigo. Moreover, the opening Clique Chart might just be the funniest four pages youll read all year.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2010, American Library Association.)

  • chewing the profunda-cud Beaudoin is the Fred Astaire of comic writing, translating each sentence into a manic dance routine of half-invented jargon (
  • School Library Journal (starred review) The author does a brilliant job getting into the head of a troubled teen and does not shy away from racy topics.
  • Kirkus Reviews Larger-than-life characters....Behind the music quest, sarcasm and pursuit of girls, however, lies a more complicated and often compelling story about family, grief and flawed coping mechanisms.
Title Information+
  • Publisher
    Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
  • OverDrive Read
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Sean Beaudoin
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