The Friends of Eddie Coyle: A Novel Paperback – Apr 27 2010
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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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“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 TimesSee all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
The book has been greatly lauded for its simplicity, dialogue, and realistic characters. However, my own reading was that everyone in the book (men, women, law, criminals) spoke more or less the same clipped wise guy talk as everyone else, and not only that, but other than talking about the "Broons" (Boston's pro hockey team, the Bruins), there's little that differentiates the speech from that of countless New York and Brooklyn gangsters. So much so that one occasionally has a hard time keeping track of who is who. So, maybe it was revolutionary to reveal the inner woes of criminals back in 1970, but read today, the book lacks the punch it must once have held.
If you like crime novels, your best bets are Ray Chandler, Jim Thompson or Joe Wambaugh. You may enjoy Chandler or Wambaugh even if you _don't_ particularly like crime novels. Thompson has probably too much of what Southey would call "the yell of savage rage, the shriek of agony, the groan of death" for the unsuspecting reader.
The story is very simple, the dialog is incredibly lifelike and readable. The characters are very real and the story is believable. Its not really a mystery as much as it is a story about some criminals and what they think and feel.
Warning, though. Don't buy this if you like the 'high concept' plots of Grisham and Patterson. This is a very simple story about real people and real criminals. If you're an aspiring writer of crime fiction, definitely check it out especially the dialog.
The only way Eddie can avoid prison is to trade information & he's soon caught in between the Feds, his gun dealer & the Mob. George V. Higgin's debut novel (now almost thirty years old) is notable for it's streetwise dialogue and the nearly Shakespearean sense of tragedy (well, at least, Billy "Sonnets" Shakespeare) that surrounds Eddie.
As for the vaunted accuracy of the dialogue, I believe this book does fall down a bit. It shows that there is very little variation between the club-tongued lower class dialect of Boston and Brooklynese. As a lifelong resident of the Boston area, I believe this is inaccurate. The only person I know of that has successfully captured the Boston dialect in the media is John Ratzenberger playing the Cliff Clavin character in the TV programm "Cheers".
Most recent customer reviews
Anthony Bourdain was right. This is an outstanding crime novel and written with grit and brutal honesty.Published 13 months ago by Amazon Customer
Classic fiction. Must have. Must read. You won't be disappointed.Published on July 16 2014 by Scissorpaws
Possibly the best account of real life crime, gangsters, and cut throats ever written...a rare insight into the real world of low level criminals, proving "There is no honor... Read morePublished on Dec 28 1999 by anonymous
George V. Higgins has made a career writing books that are mostly dialogue/monologue focused pieces infused with the idiom of his native Boston. Read morePublished on Dec 7 1999 by Doug Vaughn