Literature: You Killed Wesley Payne
A 2011 Mystery Fiction
/ Young Adult
/ Hardboiled Detective
parody novel by Sean Beaudoin.
Dalton Rev, an amateur Teen Detective
transfers to Salt River High, a Wretched Hive
where cliques function more like gangs, to solve the murder of Wesley Payne, one of the most popular kids on campus.
Modeling himself after Lexington Cole, a schlocky series of detective novels, Dalton handles armies of Jerk Jocks
, psychopathic punk rockers, textbook-racketeering nerds, and a faculty that operates on bribes to get to the bottom of an energy drink-fueled conspiracy. The novel features rather cartoonish imagery and outlandish characters. Its like detective noir sliding
with Scott Pilgrim
Tropes associated with this work:
- Adults Are Useless: Dalton holds this view, given his experiences with his parents.
- Affectionate Parody: of Hardboiled Detective fiction.
- Alpha Bitch: Cassiopia Jones. Subverted, its all an act.
- Arc Words: You killed Wesley Payne.
- Axes at School: Clique tensions are so strong that there’s a gang of snipers, the Lee Harvies, who keep order. The Pinker Casket band is shown to actually be stockpiling axes for their takeover.
- Brand X: Boxxmart.
- Buffy Speak
- Bury Your Gays
- Corrupt Cop/ Police Are Useless: The cops are actively malevolent towards anyone snooping into Wesley’s death. subverted at the end.
- Did Not Get the Girl: In fact, he gets her arrested.
- The Dreaded: Lee Harvies keep the barest semblance of order with the threat of sniping.
- Driven to Suicide: The cops brush off Wesley’s death as this, Dalton thinks otherwise. He’s wrong.
- Enemy Civil War: The Balls, the football team, and Pinker Casket, the school rock band, each want to wipe each other out.
- Femme Fatale: Cassiopia Jones, Macy Payne.
- Genre Savvy: Dalton lives by Hardboiled Detective rules.
- Hardboiled Detective: Dalton Rev imagines himself to be one, basing himself off the fictional (that is, the stories are fictional) Lexington Cole series.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Wesley killed himself to wake up the school to how terrible the clique system was.
- Jerk Jock: Jeff Chuff and his clique the Balls, the local football team.
- Kid Detective
- Kudzu Plot: In Noir tradition, there are wheels within wheels.
- Loads and Loads of Characters: There’s a handy chart and index included.
- MacGuffin: The money stolen from the principles vault.
- Meaningful Name: Mole
- The Mole: Mole, of course.
- Relationship Reveal: a couple, the most notable being: Wesley and Chuff.
- The Reveal: Too many to count, even before the end.
- Ripped from the Headlines: The mysterious Rush soda has shades of the energy drink health scare on high school and college campuses.
- Teen Genius: The Euclids.
- Stylistic Suck: There’s a sample of a Lexington Cole novel in the extras, Mickey Spillane would be proud.
- Unusual Euphemism: All hard swearing is replaced with similar sounding gibberish, such as bloshite, and God is replaced with Bob. It really fits with how cartoonish the world is.
- Wretched Hive
- Xanatos Gambit: At the end, Dalton sets one up to set the two main cliques against each other. Macy hired Dalton to trigger a clique war so the Euclids could take power.