Author : Hillary Bell Locke
Publisher:  Poisoned Pen Press
ISBN : 9781464200243 HB
ISBN : 9781464200267 PB

Insurance companies employ Loss Prevention Specialists to minimize the risk they take or payout they have to make when performers in the entertainment business don’t complete contracts.  It’s a tough job – there’s no business like show business and there’s no employee more trouble than an indulged, self-absorbed movie star. Just ask Jay Davidovich, Trans/Oxana’s loss prevention specialist— his company has accepted a policy on Hollywood hunk, George Trowbridge and Jay has been assigned the role of babysitter to protect Trans/Oxana’s premium by keeping Trowbridge trouble free. George has to complete his multi-picture contract with New Paradigm Studios or Trans/Oxana will have to hand-over an eight figure cash payout.

There’s a problem: George has been caught DUI in his Ferrari. A repeat offender, he’s been booked to appear at the San Gabriel County Courthouse – two strikes doesn’t mean Trowbridge is out; it more than likely means he’ll be in… in jail for a minimum of nine months. Not for cissies or movie star screw-ups, jail is for grownups, mostly drug taking, paranoid grownups. 

The movie-going public being notoriously fickle, George Trowbridge doing jail time could mean his movies will tank; a disaster for Trans/Oxana as part of the Paradigm Studios policy includes a profitability clause – if Trowbridge’s movies don’t make money Trans/Oxana pays out. Jay has to think fast: if Trowbridge goes to jail he’s got to come up with an angle – an angle that means Trowbridge’s fans won’t become ex-fans. Certain he won’t last nine days let alone nine months on the inside without help, Jay hires a Jail Coach, ex-marine, Katrina Starr Thompson. Her brief: teach the finer points of jail etiquette to Trowbridge.

Hire Katrina and you hire her young daughter, Lucky Luci. George Trowbridge falls in like with Katrina and Luci and the trio become inseparable. Everything looks set for a happy ending – it’s a scriptwriter’s dream; Katrina and Luci farewell George at the prison gates and (cue celestial choir) nine months later, he emerges, if not a born again Christian at the very least a trim, toned, true believer, surrounded by the ever-faithful Katrina and Luci and a barrow load of fans.

What can go wrong?’ Jay thinks as the end credits start to roll. Stan Chaladian, that’s what. Chaladian, a big guy with a nasty temper and a penchant for dollars (lots of them) isn’t a figment from Katrina’s past… he’s real and he’s real dangerous. Jay’s dream scenario disappears fast and with it Katrina and Luci. In trouble deep, Jay has got to find them or a payout from Trans/Oxana to Paradigm studios will be in the mail. 

The pace, fast, furious and funny, the author of Jail Coach, Hillary Bell Locke has created an engaging, quick-thinking protagonist in Jay Davidovich. Exciting action, smart, funny dialogue in a plot that just doesn’t stop, makes Jail Coach a fun read about an industry that will do whatever it takes to make a profit.

Only one quibble: The interaction between Jay and his separated, loopy, Ukranian wife which I found predictable and a touch boring. Note to Ms. Locke: Jay could do better; he’s a spunky gu

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