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'Pennsylvania Avenue'

By John Harwood and Gerald Seib

Random House, $26

This is a realistic book about all the things that go on on Pennsylvania Avenue, among political party strategists, money men and fund raisers, socialites, lobbyists, policymakers, the spinners and the dealmakers — the powerful people who work together sometimes and mostly against each other in Washington, D.C.

Harwood and Seib are savvy journalists who know the nation's capital well and are happy to share it. They showcase individuals, such as Ken Duberstein ("the fixer"), one-time aide to Ronald Reagan who is now a "super-lobbyist"; Rahm Emanuel, a "Democratic strategist"; and Karl Rove, a "Republican strategist."

Political anecdotes abound. — Dennis Lythgoe

'The Call of the Weird'

By Louis Theroux

DaCapo, $15.95 (softcover)

This book, subtitled "Travels in American Subcultures," specializes in all the things that fuel gossip.

The author has become well-known for making television programs about offbeat characters, an unusual assortment of dreamers, schemers and outlaws who are just funny to read about.

In this book, he treats Thor Templar, Lord Commander of the Earth Protectorate, who says he has killed 10 aliens. Then there is April, the neo-Nazi raising twin daughters, Lamb and Lynx. Mike Cain belongs to a patriot community called Almost Heaven. He doesn't pay taxes and is waiting for an armed showdown with federal officials.

Then there's the late Ike Turner, formerly married to singer Tina Turner, who is a wildly eccentric band leader known for orgies. If you're after weird, this is the right book. — Dennis Lythgoe

'Fever: A Nameless Detective Novel'

By Bill Pronzini

Forge, $24.95

This is Bill Pronzini's 33rd "Nameless" detective novel out of the 70 novels he has written in a 40-year career.

"Nameless" is the longest-running private-eye series being published today. He just has the knack of writing an interesting, witty, suspenseful, inoffensive novel, and each one seems to get better.

This book focuses on Mitchell Krochek, who is trying to find his wife, Janice, who cleaned out their bank account and disappeared. She suffers from a gambling fever. Then there is a side story about a young man, supposedly a model citizen and churchgoer, who is deeply in debt to a loan shark. Both cases are difficult, but Nameless solves them again. — Dennis Lythgoe