Thursday, January 27, 2011

ARC Review: You Killed Wesley Payne by Sean Beaudoin + Giveaway

You Killed Wesley Payne
Author: Sean Beaudoin
Publication: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (February 1, 2011)

Description: 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 FasterFade to Blue) evokes the distinctive voices of legendary crime/noir authors Dashiell Hammett and Jim Thompson with a little bit of Mean Girlsand 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.

My Thoughts: This is the book for you if you like your mysteries from the noir end of the spectrum and you like your humor dark. Dalton Rev comes to Salt River High School to find out who killed Wesley Payne and finds himself involved with all the varied cliques that inhabit the place. There are the Balls (football) and the Pinker Caskets (trash rock) who are bitter rivals. There are the Euclids (the brainy bunch) and the Crowdarounds. They all seem to have forgotten Wesley Payne because they are all so involved in their own deals.

Dalton is hired by Macy Payne - a Euclid and Wesley's sister. He also has to find out who stole $100,000 from Principal Inference who is deep into the school's corruption. The story contains crosses, double crosses and probably even triple crosses. Dalton tries to uncover what is really going on at Salt River and tries to earn his fee.

Dalton gets his inspiration from the works of Sir Barnaby Smollet who writes the Lexington Cole mysteries. Lex Cole is Dalton's idol. The books have wonderful titles like The Junkie with Two Bad Habits and The Gypsy Who Could Only Sort of Dance. The book is also interspersed with notes from Dalton's Private Dick Handbook. I was especially fond of Rule #9:

Does a showdown with this character smell like hospital time followed by about ten thousand dollars worth of Freudian analysis? Um, yeah.

My one concern with this novel is that so many of the movie references and references to the hard-boiled detective novels of Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett will go right over the heads of today's high school students. But, this will be a great story for students with the correct sense of humor. 

I recommend it for older young adults as some of the language and situations may be inappropriate for middle school age students. 

Favorite Quote:
Hutch turned his squat torso in one motion, giving Dalton a left cross to the chin. Things went dark. A company of cartoon pigs did a production of Swine Lake on his chest. Dalton woke up, staring at tongue depressors spilled on the floor. He counted them. Twelve. He counted them again. Eighteen. 
Check out the trailer:

As an added attraction, you can win an autographed copy of Sean's second book - Fade to Blue - if you live in the US and complete this form

I will also be giving away my gently used ARC of this book. This giveaway is US only too. Fill out the same form for both contests.

The autographed book will be coming from the publicist and the ARC from me. This is just a quick contest. I will use to pick the winners on Tuesday, Feb. 1. 

1 comment:

  1. I think this sounds like a great book, my son would love it.


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