Sean Beaudoin

Enough excellent writing to fill a large tube sock

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Second Starred Review

Wesley gets a second starred review, this time from BCCB:

You Killed Wesley Payne
By Sean Beaudoin
February 2011 / Ages 12 & Up / $16.99
ISBN: 978-0-316-07742-2

In classic noir fashion, hard-case Dalton Rev is enticed by an apparently bereft, beautiful girl to take on a mystery involving the death of her brother, who was found trussed in duct tape and hanging from the goalposts on his high school’s football field. Dalton is not as cool and in control as he appears, however; in fact, he takes his entire game plan from a fictional detective, Lexington Cole, whose exploits don’t always model well for Dalton’s circumstances, leading to some hilarious improvisations. The school in which Dalton is sleuthing is a hotbed of corruption and intrigue, ruled by virulently oppositional cliques, each with lucrative money-making rackets and all held in a tense stasis by the elusive cult of the Lee Harvies, who show up at random on the school roof with assault rifles to ride herd on the masses. The cliques themselves are the main characters here; they are introduced and flowcharted in introductory material, with descriptions reeking of hyperbolic, snort-evoking snark. Beaudoin’s razor-sharp rhetorical wit plays smartly with the generic conventions of the hard-boiled detective novel, but the story is shaded throughout with typical adolescent male anxieties, making this parody more engaging and complex than the exemplars it plays off of. Even the sentimental heart of the piece, a talk between Dalton and his mother, who is despairing over the apparent failure of their family, is as emotionally resonant as the earnest attempts at this sort of conversation found in texts that take themselves more seriously. The hipster slickness of the narrative makes the accompanying glossary a welcome aid even though most of the terms are evident in context; like the glossary in Frank Portman’s King Dork, it provides as much supplemental comedic value as it does genuine information. The short stories appended to the end are entertaining, and the excerpt from the Lex Cole novel makes one wish it were real. Give this to fans of King Dork and the indie film Brick and then direct them to Dashiell Hammett for a taste of the real thing, knowing that they just might like this better.

Comments

Fantastic!

That might be the best review I’ve ever seen. What a rave. Will you remember me?

Wonderful! I’m thrilled!

Wow wow wow wow wow.

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