John Stanton, working class writer, lover of dogs and women, answers his phone on April Fools’ Day to find that Hell is calling. On the vengeful word of a jilted lover sick with self-importance, Stanton is charged with multiple counts of felony rape. Faced with the choice of turning himself in or being on the run, he chooses to turn himself in. He is arrested and arraigned. Bail is set at an absurd amount. Stanton will remain in county jail until trial. Jumpsuits and screws alike are quick to tell him that his trial is a foregone conclusion. There are Measures, they are harsh, and the sentences they carry are inevitable. Stanton refuses to plea to lesser charges. Doing so would dishonor him. Worse, it wouldn’t be worthy of Helena, Stanton’s enigmatic love. He is willing to face trial by jury, and the strong possibility of life in prison. But to be heard, to be vindicated, he must first endure the arbitrary inhumanity of county jail. Whatever you may have heard, it’s worse. This is a skin beef, a bad jacket to wear even among thieves and killers. The machine is designed to hurt, to scar, to break. Broken again and again, Stanton hangs crucified in the jagged machinery of the American justice system, grinding out a letter to Helena, the only one that can truly hear him. Bad Jacket is a message from Hell. It’s also a true love story like none you’ve ever experienced.
March of Time and Skin, Dead Birds Hot, and Flotsam for Jetsam author Jeff Stewart takes us deep into the world of county jail, the hell and fear, the breaking of blood through long hours of solitude while surrounded by inmates and guards in a system unknown to Stanton. Stewart dives into a letter to the source of Stanton’s creation with liquid-metal prose that grips the core and leaves the reader on edge. Bad Jacket takes us deep inside the mind of a man falsely accused, facing life in prison, and waiting for certain conviction.
Stewart rings in again with what is being acclaimed as his best novel, raw and with nothing to cover the bones.