Reviews for You Killed Wesley Payne

Booklist Reviews 2010 December #1
*Starred Review* The cliques rule the rackets in Salt River High. The two top outfits, the Balls (football players, wearers of no-irony crew cuts) and Pinker Casket (thrash rockers, most appropriate for funerals or virgin sacrifices), are hurtling toward a turf war, and all the assorted mid-level cliques (and even the crooked Fack Cult T) are constantly looking for an angle to ride to prominence. At the center of the maelstrom is a body, Wesley Payne, a former member of the Euclidians (nerds, fingertip sniffers), who was found wrapped in duct tape, hanging upside-down from the goalposts. Teenage private dick Dalton Rev arrives to sort out the murder, locate a missing hundred grand, and if everything rolls his way, ride off into the sunset with the adorable Macy Payne, Wesley's sister. Beaudoin plays a Chandler hand with a Tarantino smirk in this ultra-clever high-school noir, dropping invented brand labels on everything from energy-drink ingredients (Flavor Flavah) to the Almighty (Oh my Bob!). Ever checking his moves against what his crime-novel hero, Lexington Cole, would do, Dalton himself is so straight hard-boiled, it's screwy: Dalton played it cool. He played it frozen. He was in full Deano at the Copa mode. But in the end, none of the stylistic pastiche and slick patter would matter if they weren't hitched to such a propulsive mystery, with enough double-crosses and blindsiding reveals to give you vertigo. Moreover, the opening Clique Chart might just be the funniest four pages you'll read all year. Copyright 2010 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2011 Fall
Teenage private eye Dalton Rev is hired to investigate the murder of one of his school's most beloved students. While searching for the truth, Rev meets a series of dubious characters, fumbles through the seedy underbelly of the school's cliques, and falls for the girl who hired him. The proliferation of detective slang creates a unique noir high school world. Copyright 2011 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2010 December #2

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) 

Copyright Kirkus 2010 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2010 December #1

Beaudoin offers up a fast-paced mashup of noir homage and high school satire that's often witty, but founders under the weight of its ambition. Dalton Rev models his life on his favorite detective, Lexington Cole, and brings his hard-boiled sensibilities to Salt River High--a place that resembles "school" in only the loosest of senses--where cute Macy Payne has hired him to find out who killed her brother, found hanged on the football goalposts. Rev's wanderings bring him into contact with assorted cliques (helpfully outlined in a guide at the front of the book), which include everyone from poetry-worshipping Plaths to brainy Euclidians as well as Lee Harvies (anarchic, gun-toting snipers). Beaudoin (Fade to Blue) wavers too often between fleshing out his characters and keeping his world off-kilter (a subplot involving Rev getting into Harvard is particularly painful). The resulting concoction is in the surreal vein of recent books like Going Bovine and Andromeda Klein, but never quite meshes the social satire of the cliques with Rev's concerns about his family, and the muddled ending does the story no favors. Ages 12-up. (Feb.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2010 PWxyz LLC

School Library Journal Reviews 2011 April

Gr 9 Up--Dalton Rev is a hard-boiled teen detective searching for a killer in a high school ruled by ruthless cliques and corrupt adults. The social structure at Salt River High is so complex that readers will need an organizational chart and an index to keep track. These are thoughtfully provided at the beginning of the book, and they make for some hilarious reading. Dalton, armed with his Private Dick Handbook and a copy of his favorite detective novel, walks into an impending war between the Balls (jocks) and Pinker Caskets (rockers) for control of the campus rackets. Other cliques (Euclideans, Foxxes, Populahs) and the Fack Cult T jockey for position and profit. The crime noir story, combined with the exaggerated high school social structure, is very funny--for the first 100 pages. The clichd dialogue and stereotyped characters wear thin but there is a compelling mystery here that will keep readers guessing. Unfortunately, the ending is too contrived and, well, too weird to be satisfying. Snarky outsiders may enjoy this novel but many teens will tire of the story or find it too confusing.--Anthony C. Doyle, Livingston High School, CA

[Page 167]. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

VOYA Reviews 2011 April
Seventeen-year-old Dalton Rev's arrival in the Salt River High parking lot is loudly announced by the growling of his motor scooter's muffler. When he dismounts and unzips his leather jacket, his white shirt and tie make it clear that he will not be easily categorized into one of the school's many cliques. That is good, because he has come to solve the murder of a student, hired by the victim's sister. Dalton moves into a cynical, and sometimes dangerous, teen world where students pay off teachers, administrators, and each other to get what they want. Navigating the complicated social strata, moving ever closer to the real killer, Dalton refers frequently to the sardonic sayings in his Private Dick Handbook, a feature of his own hero, the fictional detective Lex Cole Poking fun at detective novels, guy lit, and teens themselves all in one novel is a tall order, but the author pulls it off. Just when the reader begins to think that 368 pages is going to be too much wisecracking patter, the author lets Dalton's mask slip to reveal his feelings and insecurities. With just-right pacing, suspense builds to Dalton's ultimate success and a bittersweet resolution. Then, in a hilarious coda to the main plot, Dalton's little brother, Turd Unit, proves to be the best detective of all. A chart of the Salt River High cliques in the front and a tongue-in-cheek glossary of the book's highly inventive slang at the end add to the satirical fun of this multilevel spoof.--Marla K. UnruhThis book will entice teen readers with action, intrigue, and backstabbing, along with the more subtle undercurrents of dirty money, mafia-like dealings between the school's many social groups, and the satirical real-world parallels with high school. The book will appeal to many who are overwhelmed with the unseen segregation of high school cliques. The author does not, however, go in-depth with many characters. Most, if not all, teens will enjoy this read. 4Q,4P.--Colby Smith, Teen Reviewer 4Q 4P M J S A/YA Copyright 2011 Voya Reviews.