Craig Sher­borne / Text Pub­lish­ing / $30

Qantas - - Iq. -

Cal­lum “Words” Smith is not a very like­able char­ac­ter. An ex-news­pa­per jour­nal­ist work­ing for sen­sa­tion­al­ist web­site Pry, he knows all the dirty tricks. Petty and mean-spir­ited, he uses the few friends he has left to en­hance his ca­reer. He cheats on his wife. Then, when she throws him out, he tricks his son into spy­ing on her, be­fore dob­bing in her new boyfriend for be­ing a tax cheat. He’s a bas­tard, pure and sim­ple. But there’s al­ways a big­ger bas­tard. So when Words gets his come­up­pance, it comes as lit­tle sur­prise. Things fall apart but this leop­ard doesn’t change his spots. Tak­ing pot shots at tabloid jour­nal­ism “ethics” and male van­ity, Off the Record is a clever if some­what con­trived satire.

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