January 12, 2011

You Killed Wesley Payne by Sean Beaudoin

Release Date: February 1, 2011
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Pages: 368
Review Source: ARC for honest review

Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
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.

My Thoughts:
Do you enjoy reading about hard boiled detectives or watching noir films? If so, you will definitely get a kick out of 'You Killed Wesley Payne'. This detective/mystery novel features a teenage sleuth who aims to be like his favourite fictional detective. The novel features many things typical to crime fiction, and it provides a good story while also satirizing the genre.

This isn't my typical type of read, and I never would have picked it up if I wasn't reviewing it, but I'm glad I did. I was hoping the book would be a bit like the TV show Veronica Mars, and it really wasn't, but it featured some similar themes. The book is quite humorous in a wry way, and I quite liked the protagonist, Dalton Rev. However, there are so many characters in the book, and keeping the rest of them and their cliques straight was a bit of a nightmare. The clique index and chart contained within the book almost made it worse, because it was information overload right from the beginning. There were more than a couple of times where I felt like I was missing something, like this was the 2nd book in a series and I just didn't know about it, but that wasn't the case.

For older teen readers who don't mind violence, sexual references, and creative swearing, this is quite the original novel, and I would definitely recommend it, especially to boys and people who are fans of hard boiled detective characters. The book is a throwback to crime fiction of the 1960s while also providing its own unique perspective. 'You Killed Wesley Payne' is not my style of book, but I still found the reading experience interesting, and I appreciate its originality, when most YA coming out right now is paranormal in nature.


Find You Killed Wesley Payne by Sean Beaudoin on Goodreads, Book Depository, & Amazon.ca


  1. I have no problem with violence or the occasional cuss, but this sounds a bit too stylized for me. Great honest review though! :)

  2. I very much like the sound of this novel, it's just like something I would read. Nice review :)

  3. Hm. I'm not sure about this one. It's not my typical genre either but it sounds interesting despite the large number of characters to keep track of, and I like a good mystery:) Nice review Ashley!


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