Jeff Whittaker has been a trusted communications advisor at the highest levels of government and industry. Now, no one wants his advice. Unemployed at fifty-five, Whittaker volunteers at the Jamieson International Documentary Film Festival, where greater value is placed on his clean driving record than his strategic marketing expertise. He’s assigned to chauffer one of the festival’s biggest draws—Margaret “Terror” Torrance, a Hollywood star at the top of her game and the bottom of most casting lists. She’s promoting Red Carpet, her first film as a producer—a blistering tell-all on the film industry’s historical marginalization of women. The film has landed her on industry blacklists and may yet land her in court if she dares speak about the incident that drove her to make it. Torrance is financially and emotionally spent, and in desperate need of allies. Is Whittaker someone she can take into her confidence?

The Cutting Room captures the spirited encounter between two people facing the second acts of their lives. It’s a powerful affirmation of friendship’s sturdy bonds, a study of the entropy of middle age, the maddening sleights of memory, and the limits of trust.



Jeff Whittaker is a former government policy-pusher, a career fixer with a quick lip and a life that’s beginning to unravel. His family suffers a tragic blow. His relationship with screen actor Margaret “Terror” Torrance hits the rocks. His house won’t sell. Yet he can’t pull himself away from the mystery surrounding a figure from his distant past. Billy Gibbon was Whittaker’s closest childhood friend, but after moving west during high school, Gibbon fell out of touch and was caught up in a grisly criminal case that traumatized the small British Columbia town where his family had settled. When Gibbon’s ghost surfaces in Ottawa thirty years later, Whittaker digs back into the case, driven to discover what happened to his friend and confront his guilt about a friendship neglected and lost. What Whittaker lacks in investigative skill, he makes up for in mulish tenacity—a quality he’ll need as he gets under the skin of drug kingpins in BC’s Kootenay Mountains, home to some of the most sought-after cannabis in the world.