Three 1980 cases alternate, and occasionally threaten to overlap, in this first outing for Washington, D.C. narrator-sleuth John Rankin--a long-winded, self-pitying, cocaine-snorting bore. First of all, Rankin is asked to investigate the murder of prostitute Janet Armstrong, apparently killed by her pimp (who's been arrested); Janet's father wants to know why his bright, Harvard-educated daughter would choose such a sordid life. Then Rankin is asked to re-examine the mass-suicides at Jonestown from a legal point of view: lawsuits against the Jones estate are expected from some Jonestown-victim kin. And finally, most dominantly, there's the murder of Eddie Hampton--who came to Rankin's office with a vague request to look into some un-named congressional investigation. Feeling obligated to the dead man, Rankin goes into sleuth action, focusing on the House General Oversight and Special Investigations Subcommittee--and on Sen. Robert Woodson, who might (or might not) be involved in corrupt doings. (This is ABSCAM time.) Furthermore, while looking (at tedious length) into hooker Janet's life, Rankin suspects that there may be a connection between Janet and a top Woodson aide. Soon, however, the detection is taking a back seat to Rankin's infatuation with Woodson's young daughter Tara--who inspires dreadful, yuk-some monologues of adoration/frustration. And the solution to the Hampton murder will force Rankin into a predictable, belabored conflict-of-loyalties. Despite some sharp dialogue and some solid D.C. backgrounds: a busy, uncoordinated, pretentious slog--especially disappointing work from veteran Grady (Six Days of the Condor).