The qualities that make San Francisco TV newscaster Baker a good reporter (besting both the police and the FBI on the Patricia Hearst kidnap case) are just the things that make her book so abrasive -- e.g., banging on the door of a potential informant, an uncooperative woman with ""stringy hair and unkempt appearance"": Baker: ""Look, lady. . . . Maybe I'm not clever, but I don't live off food stamps or welfare, and I sure as hell pay the taxes that let people like you live off them."" And while on the one hand Baker identifies with Patty (aside from the fact that they were both born of woman we fail to see any similarity between a 44-year-old career woman and mother of two and the 20-year-old heiress), Baker is also highly critical of the indulged, spoiled, pre-SLA daddy's girl who was handed $300 monthly allowances and an $8,000 birthday check on a platter to match the silver spoon she was born with. Baker's sympathies are unqualifiedly with the parents (and who can disregard their anguish?) -- and it must have been heady for the reporter to have ""Randy,"" the newspaper baron, phoning for daily consultations. To her credit, though, Baker slowly, doggedly and with enormous energy was the first to piece together the story of the SLA: the identity of Cinque, a prison escapee named Donald DeFreeze; Nancy Ling Perry as Fahizah; Patricia Soltysik, Mizmoon, later Zoya; Willie Wolfe, Cujo (unconquerable) whom Patty on the last tape professed to love; and the others who formed the cult of the seven-headed cobra. By now the story is all too familiar and it's simply not enough to report it again -- at this stage a reader expects some illumination on the events. With all the other books said to be in the works, you can pass this one by.