An honest Russian cop teams up with a recovering alcoholic FBI agent to stop a worldwide organized crime syndicate. This curious variant on the buddy movie isn't at the local multiplex; it's all here in nearly 500 pages of dour but deft storytelling. Moscow People's Militia agent Dmitri Danilov (The Button Man, 1993) returns with a new rank, deputy director, and a new chip on his shoulder. He was bucking for the director spot, but it was awarded to his associate Yevgennie Kosov, husband of Larissa, Danilov's mistress. While Kosov tools around Moscow in a deluxe BMW, Danilov heads for Washington, D.C., to look into the Mafia- style murder of a Russian diplomat. His contact there is William Cowley, a Russian-speaking FBI agent who's backsliding toward an alcoholic relapse. Danilov and Cowley are sure that the hit was the work of the Russian Mob, but to prove it they must unravel a web that connects Moscow, Sicily, Switzerland, and Brooklyn, N.Y.'s Brighton Beach. Their first break comes in Brooklyn, where with the help of some strongarm tactics by the NYPD they start assembling leads that point to a Moscow gang. Back home, Kosov, who concurrently draws paychecks from the Mob and the law, is pumping Danilov's lumpenwife, Olga, for information concerning hubby's comings and goings. Danilov and Olga don't talk much at home, let alone while he's on the road, so Kosov has very little to offer his Mob bosses. No matter: When Danilov and Cowley follow the trail to Moscow, the Mob cooks up a scheme to discredit Cowley and thwart Danilov's ardent pursuit of the truth. Does it succeed? Hey, this is Moscow, where hardly anything works. As in many of Freemantle's previous works, good character studies are shackled to a rather limp plot. Compared to the current glut of suspensers using Russia's political instability for story fodder, however, it looks pretty good.