Slats and the Chanteuse
Slats Conners is a reporter for the Pacific Coast Gazette, a gossip–oriented daily. He's covering Ann Sloan, the Chanteuse, who's trying to free a poetry–swilling con facing the death penalty for killing a cop. The new trial does free the convict, but unforeseen events cause the radical left community to turn against her.
Slats becomes emotionally involved after falling head over heels for Rhea Simpson, the public relations specialist assigned to shepherd the Chanteuse through the crisis. The normally laid–back, happy–go–lucky reporter now comes across malevolent operatives out to destroy the Chanteuse for the Progressive cause.
As the narrative spans the nation from Manhattan to Malibu and from Washington, DC, to the San Francisco Bay area, Slats runs into some of the same operatives involved in a clandestine war between an ob–gyn and a ruthless malpractice lawyer. The ob–gyn, Dr. Craig Beltran, has gone into hiding and vows revenge for malpractice suits that ruined his practice and family. William Mellon, the billionaire lawyer, also goes into hiding and employs hit men to get Beltran before Beltran gets him. Liberal activists and "sue at any pretext" trial lawyers generally support the attorney, while Conservatives, corporate lawyers, and industrialists finance and support the doctor.
Suddenly involved in events beyond his capacities, a terrified Slats pictures being "whacked" by one of the hit men, while Tom Leary, his demanding editor, urges him to become part of the story. "We're looking at a Pulitzer, Slats, and not to worry, if you die in the process, we'll get you a splendid funeral."