You Killed Wesley Payne is a YA crime noir novel written by Sean Beaudoin.
Dalton Rev is a hard-boiled, seventeen-year-old private detective that transfers to the incredibly corrupt Salt River High to investigate a murder. He doesn't do it out of the goodness of his heart. He does it to get paid. And Dalton always gets paid. Dalton always solves the crime.
But this case involves crooked cops, power-hungry cliques, and danger around every turn. The mean hallways of Salt River may indeed be a tough venue for solving a murder no one wants to talk about - but Dalton is tougher...
Okay, so it is hard to write a synopsis of such a noir heavy, awesomely melodramatic novel without almost copying the back cover description - so please forgive its lack of oomph, if it is lacking. Just trust me: it's cool. Really cool.
You Killed Wesley Payne has absolutely fantastic wit and humor, making for a deliciously dark comedy. It's smart, extremely well-executed, and intricately plotted. Sean Beaudoin nearly demands a sharp mind in the reader and expects attention to be focused, a demand, which when followed-through, rewards the reader with a unique, refreshingly original detective novel that merges classic voices of black-and-white drama with biting humor.
At least this is what I thought. ;)
This is the first real "noir" book I've read. I've heard some of the narration over old movies that has that dramatic flare, which always seems fun but kind of weird. But, man, Sean Beaudoin makes it work in a whole new way! And with the introduction of vividly drawn cliques, which are pretty much heavily armored warring gangs and their admirers, he takes cliches and, ahem, murders them.
And then when you get into all the crazy plot twists and marvelously melodramatic romantic entanglements, I was honestly pleasantly surprised with the pleasant, unexpected surprises and likable, lovably different characters and their varied levels of character development.
I am definitely intrigued in what Sean Beaudoin might have coming next, and can't help but wonder what gems may be hiding in his past novels.
Despite You Killed Wesley Payne being first-and-foremost, seemingly, a tongue-in-cheek comedy masterpiece, it still managed to shock me and give it a measure of seriousness.
You Killed Wesley Payne is a truly one-of-a-kind story - I dare you to try and not let it fascinate and grip you!
*I received a review copy of You Killed Wesley Payne from Hatchette Book Group. Their generosity in no way influenced, nor sought to influence, my opinion of the novel.