Briefing a new assistant DA named Lisa Savitch, Philadelphia investigator Mike Muldoon explains that eight state judges are in jail, six more are under indictment, and the state attorney general is also being investigated. "Pennsylvania's not a state," Muldoon says. "It's a lounge act."
In Savitch's prosecutorial sights: saucy septuagenarian Augie Sangiamino, a former U.S. senator who, since his release from federal prison, is once again engineering under-the-table deals in a South Philly diner. With al dente dialogue and a savory cast of engaging miscreants, Macaroni does for machine politics what Elmore Leonard's works do for unorganized crime. In his second novel, Lopez, a writer-at-large for Time Inc. (which publishes PEOPLE), has served up a fast, telling and hilarious plateful. (Harcourt Brace, $24)