The Daily Monocle

Critical book reviews from a literary skeptic.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

You Killed Wesley Payne by Sean Beaudoin

Posted by J. P. Wickwire

He's infamous to the authorities, but completely unknown to his peers. He's the slick seventeen year old detective coming to your school. He's Dalton Rev and now he's going to catch whoever killed Wesley Payne.

Wesley Payne was found hanging upside down on the goalposts of his school's sport field. And in this school, where there are more cliques than is probably humanly possible (and they all seem to hate each other), there's no telling who committed the crime. Now it's up to Dalton Rev, Payne's sister, and a motley of other students to solve the murder.

You Killed Wesley Payne by Sean Beaudoin is a fun detective tale written in a faux-noir style of mysteries of the past. Full of quick quips and colorful characters (and yes, annoying alliteration of names), one might think that You Killed Wesley Payne might be just what the YA market needs. Unfortunately, it straddles a fine line between the fun and the ridiculous, and crosses over to the latter side a little too often.

This book just seemed to be trying too hard in every respect. From the over-the-top personalities and their respective cliques, to the absurd You Killed Wesley Payne couldn't find secure footing. If any one thing could be picked on, it would be the style. Although Beaudoin tried to emulate the noir writers of the past, he didn't succeed. Instead, the story came out muddled, buried under a lot of ridiculous quips. Even if viewed as a comedy, it's highly difficult to digest.

I honestly was bored just a few pages in, and by 100 pages, I couldn't read another word. Maybe if you're a big fan of mysteries you'd like this one. Otherwise, You Killed Wesley Payne is one you probably want to skip.

You Killed Wesley Payne hits shelves in early February

Author's Website
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