PARTY ANIMALS

A SMART FIRST NOVEL ABOUT STRANGE POLITICAL BEDFELLOWS

Setting: high-level politics. He: "I headed issues. I was a lawyer." She: "I'm a performance artist."

At the start of Cock-a-doodle-doo, Philip Weiss' smart first novel (Farrar, Straus & Giroux; 295 pages; $21), he--Jack Gold--has just finished working on an underdog's losing campaign for the Democratic nomination for Governor of New York. The winner is popular Early Quinlan, who had been Secretary of State in a Republican Administration but, when times changed, switched parties with speed and grace.

She is Early's daughter--handsome, flaky Burry (short for Berenice)--who, like her father, is totally corrupt. She is good at dancing on tables and...

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