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YOU KILLED WESLEY PAYNE by Sean Beaudoin

YOU KILLED WESLEY PAYNE

By Sean Beaudoin

Age Range: 12 & up

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-316-07742-2
Publisher: Little, Brown

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)