George V. Higgins's first novel is like a blast of Atlantic air; the Boston prosecutor virtually reinvents the language of the crime novel with his unique ability to breathe life into the dialogue of the smalltime hoodlum and hustler. Trying to pull off one final score, career crook Eddie Coyle finds himself squeezed out of shape by the people above and below him. The explosive conclusion is inevitable yet fascinating.
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“Rings true as a police siren.”—The Boston Globe
“The best crime novel ever written--makes The Maltese Falcon read like Nancy Drew.”—Elmore Leonard
“Chilling . . . The most penetrating glimpse yet into what seems the real world of crime. . . . Positively reeking with authenticity.”—The New York Times Book Review
“Truly a bravura performance. Higgins is a master of colorful street language heard around Boston. Throughout the novel, without quaintness or self-parody, he is able to sustain long arias of criminal shoptalk. . . . A sophisticated thriller.”—Time
“First-rate, absolutely convincing, enormously readable.”—The Christian Science Monitor
“Simultaneously a brilliant thriller and a cold and convincing business prospectus of felony--a profession that traps both sides, gunmen and policemen, into ceaseless compulsory degardations.”—The New Yorker
“The most powerful and frightening crime novel that I have read this year. It will be remembered long after the year is over, as marking the debut of a fine original talent.”—Ross Macdonald
“The first thing to know about George V. Higgins’ The Friends of Eddie Coyle is that it directly entered the crime-fiction canon upon its 1970 publication. The second thing to know is that it holds up as both a writer’s-writer thriller and as popular pulp, with Dennis Lehane introducing Picador’s new 40th-anniversary reissue of the novel by heralding it as ‘the game-changing crime novel of the last fifty years’—a moderate claim compared to that of Elmore Leonard, who hails it as the best crime novel period.” —Troy Patterson, SLATE
“Weighed and calibrated like the barrel of a pistol. The fact that he's writing about crooks is crucial in some ways, incidental in others. The real subjects here are life's futility and its bleak humor… Elmore Leonard learned from this novel, likewise David Mamet and of course Quentin Tarantino, who saw the narrative virtue in marrying violence to comedies of manners…. Higgins took the tough-guy novel into areas of demented anthropology and re-created a genre.” —Richard Rayner, Los Angeles Times