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OFF THE RECORD by Jennifer O’Connell


by Jennifer O’Connell

Pub Date: Sept. 6th, 2005
ISBN: 0-451-21645-8
Publisher: NAL/Berkley

O’Connell (Bachelorette #1, 2003) takes another stab at poolside reading, this time examining the disparate worlds of pop music and corporate law.

Jane Marlow, a buttoned-up Chicago attorney, is gunning for partnership at her law firm. In her determined effort to get ahead, she has woefully neglected all the other areas of her life: family, friends and especially romance. Life gets deliciously complicated for Jane when her slacker brother, Andy, discovers that a decade-old pop song, “Janey 245,” was written about her. While Jane learns to kick up her heels and enjoy her celebrity status as “Janey,” Teddy Rock, the song’s author, is attempting to make a comeback. After years out of the spotlight, Teddy basks in the media attention Andy and Jane bring to his legendary song. Although O’Connell’s characters are thinly drawn and even predictable at times, they are also delightfully self-centered. Through her relationship with Teddy, Jane hopes to gain a lucrative client for her law firm and secure the coveted partnership. In turn, Teddy latches on to Jane for an image boost—Jane’s fresh-scrubbed appeal offers a welcome break from his past. Teddy hopes to distance himself from tabloid articles regaling his trips to rehab and his tawdry affairs. O’Connell is adept at exposing the manipulative nature of both the legal profession and the music industry. It’s decadent fun to see Teddy’s oleaginous agent create a media circus as Teddy and Jane rekindle their childhood relationship in full view of the paparazzi. The action is a bit sluggish until O’Connell tosses in the requisite plot twist, in the form of a love triangle. Just as Jane is becoming intoxicated with her taste of the rock-’n’-roll life, Drew Weston, a handsome lawyer, shows up at Jane’s firm to lend a hand on a million-dollar case and remind Jane of her true nature.

O’Connell makes this sweet treat go down smoothly thanks to snappy dialogue and evocative scenes of Chicago in the summer.