Monday, November 1, 2010

Blank Confession by Pete Hautman

Mikey knows he has a smart mouth, but he makes up for it with style.  He wears a suit everyday and it doesn't matter is people think he doesn't fit in or that he's short...his suave style gets him through the day.  And a good day is one where he doesn't have to meet up with his sister Marie's boyfriend, Jon.  Everyone in school knows that Jon's the major pusher, whatever your drug is.  He's got the looks, the money, and whatever he wants.

But one day, when the cops come in with a drug dog, Jon forces a bag onto Mikey for "safekeeping."  And when Mikey ditches it, Jon Brandt makes his presence in Mikey's life more known, and he and his gang, Trey and Kyle, will make sure Mikey repays.

In perfect timing, Shayne arrives.  Driving a beat up BMW motorcyle and sporting dark clothes, Shayne doesn't shed a ruffled feather as the new guy.  He sees what's going on between Mikey and Jon, and decides to do something to help Mikey.  Through a series of events, it seems that everything Shayne does to help makes matters worse for Mikey.  When you get two alpha guys against each other, something is going to snap....

Detective Rawls has seen them come and go.  When it comes to teens, he can pretty well read them since he's spent his life in that department.  It's at the opening of this book that the reader sees Shayne sitting in the police station, wanting to make a blank confession of murder.

Pete Hautman's books are short but powerful, and this is another fine example of a quick read with high impact.  What exactly happened between the first showdown between Shayne and Jon to the present, where Shayne is at the police station?  Told in flashback, Hautman draws his characters out, allowing the reader to take small glimpses of who they are while maintaining the pace of the story until the climactic denoument at the end of this novel.  The reader is drawn into the personas as much as the storyline, and that is what gives this book excellent qualities of a great YA read.  Compelling, intense, mystifying....all wrapped up in a perfect package Hautman delivers to his audience.  Highly recommended

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