A few months ago, I plucked a book off a shelf of a bookstore and bought it, only because the back cover copy made it look fascinating. It was. The book was You Killed Wesley Payne (by Sean Beaudoin), a YA noir detective novel. I finished reading it today, and I loved it.
The novel takes place in a high school torn apart by rival cliques, as private detective Dalton Rev rolls in on a scooter to solve the murder of a popular senior. The language is whip-smart, filled with clever slang and often lovely language, but is always at a brisk, no-nonsense pace. Dalton is a teenaged writer who has to make money as a detective to support his family, and he has a tough exterior but is just an average kid trying to navigate a cutthroat world.
There are so many minor characters with conflicting motivations and plot twists that I found myself having to stop and think at times, and I wish some of the characters (including love interest Macy) and motivations were fleshed out more, but above all it's a satisfying book with an endearing protagonist. Highly recommended.