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An earnest presidential hopeful's campaign staff invents a sex scandal in Folman's slick debut. After Machiavellian campaign manager Thomas Campman hears a voice telling him that sin will make his struggling candidate, Sen. Ben Phillips, human, Campman convinces Ben and his fellow advisers that having the candidate admit to a made-up, decades-old affair will endear him to the masses. Though the plan energizes the campaign and boosts Ben's image, it also puts a strain on Ben's marriage, and after other women begin claiming in the press to have had affairs with Ben, the ruse threatens to end in ruin. Though the novel takes a while to find its footing, Folman does a great job of constructing a funny, fast-paced story with plenty of texture. Side plots involving a young ambitious reporter and Campman's driver are neatly folded into the main goings-on, and it's especially enjoyable to chart Ben's transformation from flustered novice to confident charmer, even as his new persona begins to take him over the edge. The lackluster early chapters may thwart readers looking for a biting political satire, but those willing to stay the course will be greatly rewarded. (June)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.