Read Blank Confession Online

Authors: Pete Hautman

Blank Confession







Winner of the National Book Award


No Limit

Mr. Was

An imprint of Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing Division 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, New York 10020
This book is a work of fiction. Any references to historical events, real people, or real locales are used fictitiously. Other names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the author's imagination, and any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

Copyright © 2010 by Pete Hautman

All rights reserved, including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form.

is a trademark of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

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Also available in a
hardcover edition

Book design by Krista Vossen

The text for this book is set in Melior.

Manufactured in the United States of America

paperback edition November 2011

2 4 6 8 10 9 7 5 3 1

The Library of Congress has cataloged the hardcover edition as follows:

Hautman, Pete. 1952—

Blank confession / Pete Hautman.

1st ed.

p. cm.

Summary: A new and enigmatic student named Shayne appears at high school one day, befriends the smallest boy in the school, and takes on a notorious drug dealer before turning himself in to the police for killing someone.

ISBN 978-1-4169-1327-6 (hc)

1. Drug dealers—Fiction. 2. Bullies—Fiction. 3. Conduct of life—Fiction.

4. High schools—Fiction. 5. Schools—Fiction.] 1. Title.

PZ7.H2887 Bl 2010

[Fic] 22


ISBN 978-1-4169-1328-3 (pbk)

ISBN 978-1-4424-3638-1 (eBook)



Chapter 1: Rawls

Chapter 2: Mikey

Chapter 3: The Interview Room

Chapter 4: Mikey

Chapter 5: The Interview Room

Chapter 6: Mikey

Chapter 7: The Interview Room

Chapter 8: Mikey

Chapter 9: The Interview Room

Chapter 10: Mikey

Chapter 11: The Interview Room

Chapter 12: Mikey

Chapter 13: Mikey

Chapter 14: Mikey

Chapter 15: Mikey

Chapter 16: Mikey

Chapter 17: The Interview Room

Chapter 18: Mikey

Chapter 19: Mikey

Chapter 20: Mikey

Chapter 21: Mikey

Chapter 22: Mikey

Chapter 23: The Interview Room

Chapter 24: Mikey

Chapter 25: The Interview Room

Chapter 26: Mikey

Chapter 27: Rawls

Chapter 28: The Interview Room

Chapter 29: Mikey

Chapter 30: The Interview Room

Chapter 31: Mikey

Chapter 32: Mikey

Chapter 33: Mikey

Chapter 34: Mikey

Chapter 35: The Interview Room

Chapter 36: Mikey

Chapter 37: The Interview Room

Chapter 38: Mikey

Chapter 39: Mikey

Chapter 40: Mikey


Thank you to Swati Avasthi, H. M. Bouwman, K. J. Erickson, Leslie Harris, Ellen Hart, Mary Logue, and Virginia Lowell for their many helpful suggestions, and to Jack Schaefer for providing the map.


Five lousy minutes.

Detective George Rawls hung up the phone, brought his feet down from his cluttered desktop, looked at his watch, and sighed. If the kid had walked into the station five minutes later, Rawls's shift would have been over. He would have been driving home to enjoy a peaceful dinner with his wife.

Five more minutes and Benson would have caught this case. Rawls stood up and looked over the divider toward Rick Benson's desk. Benson, looking back at him, smirked. Rawls rolled his eyes and hitched up his pants. They kept falling down—his wife's fault, all those vegetables she'd been feeding him since his cholesterol numbers came in high.

He opened the upper left-hand drawer of his desk and took out his service revolver. Rawls was old school; he still used the weapon that had been issued to him as a rookie. He emptied the cylinder into the drawer and slid the unloaded weapon into his shoulder holster.

The unloaded gun was a prop. These young punks were impressed by such things. Most of them. He left his jacket hanging on the back of his chair and made his way out of
the room and down the hallway toward the front entrance. He walked past the long citizens' bench, automatically checking out the four people sitting there: A slight, pale-faced boy—black jeans, black T-shirt, scuffed-up black cowboy boots—sat with his elbows resting on his knees, staring at the floor. Probably some middle-school bad boy picked up for shoplifting. Next was a young woman wearing a tight skirt, smeared mascara, and a nasty bruise on her right cheek. A hooker, no doubt. Then an anxious-looking older woman, probably there to report a runaway husband, or a purse snatching. At the end was a scowling middle-aged man in a rumpled suit—could be anything.

Rawls made these assessments automatically and effortlessly. Part of the job.

Directly facing the front doors of the police station, John Kramoski sat behind his elevated desk flipping through the duty roster. Rawls stopped in front of him. The desk sergeant looked up.

“Sorry, George,” Kramoski said. “I know your shift is almost over, but you were up. And it's a kid—your specialty.”

Rawls was the precinct's unofficial “Youth Crimes” officer. He had once believed that, working with kids, he might actually make a difference. These days he wasn't so sure.

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