Captain Jake Grafton, star of Coonts' Minotaur, etc., returns with his usual supporting cast to do battle with the cocaine-fueled underworld of Washington as the author gives the Herman Wouk treatment to The Great National Problem. Corrupted senators, slimy drug-rich defense lawyers, ruthless black cocaine-dealers, a rich but addicted wife, Dan Quayle, George Bush, a more-ruthless-than-Sununu chief of staff, psychotic Colombian druglords, old-fashioned mob hit-men, rotten S&L officials--they're all here in this long (416-page), pessimistic, and necessarily violent epic about what's going to happen if we don't get a handle on the drag thing. The present sad state of affairs gets much worse when the Americans snatch a Colombian coke magnate who calls down the wrath of god on the District of Columbia. Troops of desperate Colombian peasants begin shooting up everything that moves in the nation's capital. Alas, one of the things that is not moving is George Bush, who has been felled by a sniper's bullet and lies in intensive care. The assassin is Henry Charon, hunter from the old Southwest, who, having branched out into professional murder, has been hired by the mob to wipe out the top figures in the federal government. He works his way nearly halfway through the list, but he misses Dan Quayle, who rapidly matures into a thoughtful and decisive figure, takes charge, and turns the military into the streets to wipe out the enemy forces and find Charon. Captain Grafton is in the thick of things, dogged by libsymp-but-educable Post reporter Jack Yocke. The battle is no cakewalk, and Charon is as wily as a rattlesnake. But in the darkest hour, the District's citizens finally mobilize. Coonts' naval fliers are a lot more comfortable and convincing in the air than in the streets of Washington and the corridors of power. The choice of a worst-case scenario for this crushingly serious treatment leads unfortunately to an implausible end. But William Bennett will love it.