You might as well call this novel a fictionalized documentary, incorporating as it does recent developments in the drug trade and police]political corruption since The French Connection. The New Vigilantes are a small group of Vietnam vets, bound together by their years as POWs and by their loyalty to their charismatic millionaire leader, Stuart Harlow. Dismayed by the disintegration of the society they return to, ""The Hounds,"" as they are dubbed, undertake their own war against drug traffic in the U.S. Sponsored by Harlow's millions, they work with N.Y.C.'s mayor and the police department as a private investigatory' force. But once betrayed by the politicos, their resolution to carry on alone leads them to sources in Indo-China, Corsica, Marseilles, and eventually to a fabulous hideaway in New Jersey. The climax occurs as ""The Hounds"" raid this rural fortress, complete with underground tunnel, in search of the Mafia leader who controls a giant drug syndicate. While Horan has never been in any danger of being overly subtle in conception or execution, he does give us the benefits of his painstaking research into the arts of security, surveillance and the labyrinthine workings of the vast international business he describes. And if you're not satisfied simply with information, there's certainly enough action to stir your occasionally flagging interest.