Monday, April 18, 2011

You Killed Wesley Payne by Sean Beaudoin

You Killed Wesley Payne is a neo-noir, murder mystery novel set in the town of Salt River. Dalton Rev, the protagonist, is a Private Dick, or detective for hire, who transfers to numerous high schools to solve cases. Dalton is hired to investigate the suspicious death of Wesley Payne, a focal figure in the Salt River High School caste system. Thrust into a school divided by profit-driven cliques and a corrupt administration, Dalton must search through the bloshite and learn who to trust in order to discover who killed Wesley Payne. However, as Dalton digs deeper into the story, he realizes Wesley's death is only the tip of the iceberg.

This novel reminded me of the 2005 film Brick starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt. What I loved about You Killed Wesley Payne is the element of noir that gives the book a vibrant setting. This adds an additional layer to the book which separates itself from other school mysteries. The author is very ambitious in the storylines with complex issues surrounding Dalton and the students at Salt River High School. However, some of these storylines were not necessary. I could not determine what the subplot of Dalton being courted by a Harvard admissions representative added to the story. Also, the chapters devoted to Dalton's past could have been integrated more seamlessly into the pace of the story. Nevertheless, You Killed Wesley Payne is an entertaining and enjoyable read. I recommend this book to readers who enjoy mysteries with a teenage backdrop.

Reviewer Age:21
Reviewer City, State and Country: Eden Prairie, Minnesota United States

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