Genre: YA Contemporary
Word Count: 54,000
Pitch: Jessica Lahmer is crazy. She hasn’t spoken in three years, and after skipping one too many meals, she’s teetering on the edge of death. But if you were a murderer, you would be crazy, too.
I did not murder Ricardo Montanez.
Then why are my hands so filthy? Why are they so red?
But no, that’s not right. My hands are smooth and pale, empty and small. I stare at them, torn between the image I see in my head—shadows and blood—and the image I see right before my eyes.
I know somewhere outside of the police cruiser I am sitting in, hordes of people are watching, waiting in silent horror. Red and blue lights flash. I hear voices, loud and demanding. All of them seem to be asking the same question.
Who murdered Ricardo Montanez?
The police think it is me. In the morning, everyone will think it is me. Knowing this, I should be afraid. I should be terrified. But the fabric of my mind is unraveling, a quick spiral of thread piling on the floor of my thoughts. I cannot look away from my hands, cannot fathom what these hands have done, what these hands have lost.
If I try to fathom it, I will lose myself.
I am losing myself.
I have lost myself.
I hear my name, know I am being spoken to. Distantly, I am aware that a man hovers over me, wearing a hastily tucked button-down and slacks that are two sizes too small. I see all of this out of the corner of my eye because I cannot bother to tear my gaze away from my hands, which have begun to shake.
CLUE: Mr. Boddy is hidden behind the rose bushes near the entrance to the mansion. Two, horizontal stab wounds are found in his back. A silver money clip is gripped in his hand with an engraving of the Ten Commandments.