From Weaver (Impulse, 1993), an extraordinarily complicated and largely successful thriller so laceratingly tough that the ink it's printed with might as well be distilled testosterone. When renowned painter and former goombah Gianni Garetsky is drawn into a high-level FBI plot to snuff his old art-school buddy, Vittorio Battaglia--who has severed his Mafia ties and become a CIA assassin--what can he do but team up with slutty femme fatale Mary Yung, Vittorio's old flame, to rescue Vittorio and his entire family from a vindictive passel of uglies directed by a mob godfather and the US attorney general? It takes Gianni and Vittorio a while to reunite, during which time Gianni and Mary get busy between the sheets (though her motives for the horizontal bop are vastly less noble than his) and Vittorio wastes a Middle Eastern terrorist along with his entourage of bodyguards. Once Gianni finally manages to locate Vittorio (living in Italy under a fake identity), it isn't long before libertine Attorney General Henry Durning and Boss of Bosses Carlo Donatti, who have an unholy pact, send wave after wave of unlucky gangsters after the dynamic duo. Vittorio's wife was once Henry's main squeeze, but after an ill-fated, incriminating tryst, the AG arranged with the Don to have her killed--by Vittorio, who instead spirited her away to a new life. Unfortunately, the couple's placid existence is disrupted when the Italian mob nabs Vittorio's son and later his wife, holding them as bait to draw Vittorio and Gianni into a series of ambushes. Throughout, Weaver practices a kind of art brut writing (``He kissed her and felt drunk on her taste'') that, despite its galloping misogyny, rings true for his double-butch heroes. If you can't find something to savor in this one, better forget how to read.