A double tally on Michael Savage, a literary discovery, and on Hyatt Engel, a reporter for Insight who tells Savage's story- along with his own- sandpapers some of the rough edges and corners of the magazine- and book publishing- worlds and offers a smart, sharp entertainment. Hyatt, whose opening to an editorship is a feature story on Savage, along with a few principles, (""a man can become a son-of a bitch in a hurry, if he's headed in the right direction""); follows Savage at the time when his novel is tapped by a book club- and the movies- from New York back to the wife and four children he has left behind in Minnespolis. Backtracking over the thin, threadbare years when Savage taught at a University- and struggled to write the book which would free him- this is a fairly acute portrait of a writer with a compulsion to succeed, an inability to compromise, and a strangling fear of failure. And the short-lived success brings only further defeats; the love affair with a girl in New York; the realization that he cannot write another book- so that the suicide which seems like an accident (to everyone except Hyatt) is the best as well as the easiest way out. And Hyatt, with all the answers which can bring further ruin, faces only the question of his own conscience.... Slick as much as this seems, and is, it also makes some uncomfortably correct, contemporary observations and offers expert entertainment as well.