The Yellow Press by H. D. Spalding. Newsstand Library (1959), 190 pp.
Sam Benson arrived penniless in Los Angeles and in only two years has established America’s most popular gossip magazine. Sam is not an attractive character. He’s fat, overbearing, dishonest and ruthless. He also has strange flashbacks that cause him periodically to rape his art director, Olive Trimble. The book’s remaining characters (blackmailed printer Karl Slauson, guilt-ridden reporter Frank Satretelli, disapproving lawyer and brother Sidney Benson, and scheming advertising manager Spencer Robins) are all shallowly drawn and generate little sympathy. Still Spalding might have salvaged the novel if he’d followed up on its premise. But he drifts from the magazine’s titillating gossip-mongering to accounting malfeasance and then to a murder rampage. When the dust settles, the author tacks on a ridiculous ending. Readers who somehow run across a copy of the book can safely ignore it.