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Literature / You Killed Wesley Payne

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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.

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Tropes associated with this work:

  • 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.
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  • 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.
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  • 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.
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