Devotees of Wonkette—the snarky political blog of Texas-bred Ana Marie Cox—will cotton to the elbows-propped-on-the-bar style of her first novel, Dog Days (Riverhead). And they’ll find a soul mate in young campaign flack Melanie Thorton, who can’t spin fast enough to keep Democratic presidential candidate John Hillman from catching a faceful of right-wing mud. To distract the media, Thorton invents blogging Beltway slut Capitolette, whose eponymous Web site chronicles her kisses-for-cash liaisons with top Republican staffers—not unlike real-life counterpart Washingtonienne, whose online tattling in 2004 cost her a Capitol Hill job but won her fifteen minutes of infamy. Cox’s salty tongue and world-weary manner (“…congressmen? They’re like interns. Why bother learning their names?”) make Dog Days a bracing midterm pick-me-up for the liberal, cynical crowd.