cover image The Victim

The Victim

W. E. B. Griffin. Jove Books, $7.99 (352pp) ISBN 978-0-515-10397-7

The ``victim'' of the title is a drug dealer named Tony DeZego, but this book's real victim is the reader, who is dragged through a flimsy plot that's overwhelmed by tedious, irrelevant details about the Philadelphia police department's uniforms, organization, chain of command and internal politics. The story revolves around two shooting incidents. In the first, an heiress is wounded and ``mafioso scumbag'' DeZego killed by a professional assassin. (The reasons for this unlikely pairing never become clear.) Later, a young police officer is found dead in a gutter. These two brief bursts of action notwithstanding, Griffin cannot be lured away from his fascination with the intricacies of policedom to bother solving the crimes. A paragraph tacked on at the end indicates that DeZego's assassin was killed when he bungled a job; the mystery of the murdered police officer quietly peters out. This third volume in Griffin's Badge of Honor series is the first to appear under his own name; Men in Blue and Special Operations were published under the pseudonym John Kevin Dugan. (Feb.)