Ever since anchorman Peter Mansbridge (CBC’s The National) announced his plans to retire, the search has been on for a replacement. I propose that Sebastian Hunter the male protagonist (and more often than not, antagonist) of Glenn Deir’s irreverent novel The Money Shot (2016, Breakwater Books) be given a ‘shot’ at the top job.
The author (who is a former CBC television reporter) describes Sebastian as an “unscrupulous rake”. In this context, “rake” refers to Sebastian’s predilection for womanising. He is also unscrupulous in that he will stoop to any level to get the scoop (or “money shot”) on a story, the ultimate reward being that of getting your name mentioned on The National. It is also Sebastian’s goal to be one of the co-hosts on the news show “Here & Now” hosted by a much -beloved veteran anchorman Garrison Hill. Beloved by all but Sebastian that is, who covets the job and has a hand in getting Garrison off the air, but not in a way he anticipated. Then, instead of stepping into Garrison’ shoes, he finds Ethan Tremblay, a longtime CBC correspondent from the Jerusalem bureau imported to fill the anchor man’s seat. Incensed, Sebastian goes snooping for some dirt and proceeds in his unscrupulous way to get Ethan Tremblay dethroned. While all of this is going on at the CBC, Sebastian is trying to maintain a relationship with his fiancée Roxanne (whose father just happens to be the vice-president of the CBC) while clandestinely bedding various women.
The Money Shot has a relentlessly witty pace to it, and I never found it crass or vulgar. Sebastian Hunter is the sort of person you can’t help but like (despite his chronic lying to Roxanne to cover his dalliances) and many will find his humour entertaining. I think fans of the NBC TV show The Office and the older CBC comedy The Newsroom should enjoy reading The Money Shot.
GLENN DEIR is a former CBC television reporter who lives in St. John’s. He used three decades worth of journalistic black humour to write The Money Shot. His memoir, Sick Joke: Cancer, Japan and Back Again, was shortlisted for a Newfoundland and Labrador Book Award for non-fiction.