Jackie Bouchaine has a small role in Second Hand Goods, but she is pivotal in both Northcoast Shakedown and is central to the third Kepler novel Bad Religion. Like Eric Teasdale, though, she came about quite accidentally.
While writing Northcoast, I reached a point where I needed someone on the side of the law who could help Kepler without risking their career. None of the police could do it. In fact, by that point in the story, they had to be a little antagonistic. I had an assistant prosecutor named Boyd who got Kepler out of a jam midway through the story, but again, he had to keep his hands clean.
So Boyd, being the busy man he is, sends over an intern, Jackie. She’s young and attractive and arrives to throw Nick off balance (and provide Elaine an opportunity to give him a hard time about it.) At the time that scene was written, I had met a bartender at a local club whom I thought looked interesting. She had a passing resemblance to MTV VJ Duff from the early 1990’s. So I modeled Jackie on the bartender and her personality, thinking this would be a one-off scene.
And then I had to get whiny property manager George Shannon safely out of town and get his financial records to someone Kepler could trust. Jackie fit the bill, so there’s a really good scene where Jackie is clad solely in a bikini, and Kepler is too wrapped up in his dilemma to even care. The scene was actually one of the better ones in Northcoast, and I liked the chemistry between the two characters.
So Jackie is there at the beginning of Second Hand Goods, sharing her engagement and giving Nick a sense of normalcy. She and her boyfriend also play an inadvertent role in setting the events of the story into motion. Later in the story, she saves Nick from a serious ass-kicking by sicking a bouncer in her father’s bar on a couple of thugs.
In the next book, events impact Jackie directly, and she has a stake in what happens to Nick. Which is good, because Nick needs someone non-judgmental to lean on when Bad Religion ends.