Authors: Pete Hautman
Winner of the National Book Award
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 Â© 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
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. 1952â
Blank confession / Pete Hautman.
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 dealersâFiction. 2. BulliesâFiction. 3. Conduct of lifeâFiction.
4. High schoolsâFiction. 5. SchoolsâFiction.] 1. Title.
PZ7.H2887 Bl 2010
ISBN 978-1-4169-1328-3 (pbk)
ISBN 978-1-4424-3638-1 (eBook)
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 downâhis 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 boyâblack jeans, black T-shirt, scuffed-up black cowboy bootsâsat 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 suitâcould 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 kidâyour 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.