Eren Cain's Reviews > The Friends of Eddie Coyle

The Friends of Eddie Coyle by George V. Higgins
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Jun 06, 12

Read in June, 2012

I got this book after seeing an interview with Elmore Leonard where he said that this was the novel that showed him what was possible in the realm of crime fiction. I finished it in a day, and came away completely inspired.

First of all, Lehane's introduction is fantastic - so I def recommend getting it - however, I recently found and posted an amazingly gonzo vintage cover of this book on my tumblr - http://ecstories.tumblr.com/

Now, while a lot of people talk about telling a story mostly with dialogue, like Elmore Leonard and James M. Cain, it is a tricky thing to do really well. But this book so far, is hands down the best thing I've read with regard to painting characters with how they talk, and what a cast of characters. The working stiffs, low life degenerates, and pragmatic killers in this book are tremendous, mostly because they're hyper real and unpredictable, along with the story. And that is always the thing isn't it (for me at least).

Lehane says that in "Eddie Coyle, talk is the meal" and it is indeed. This story is beautifully sketched in disparate parts, however, you know in your heart (or at least I always want to believe) that those parts are on a careening collision course toward each other.

My favorite little chunk of dialogue for now is from the sanguine, opportunistic cop Foley to Eddie -

"Look, Eddie," Foley said, "you go some place and have yourself a glass of beer and a long talk with yourself. The only one fucking Eddie Coyle is Eddie Coyle. You wanted a call. You gave me a grab to get the call. You got the call. You want something else, you start thinking about how to get that. You know where to reach me. You don't want to reach me, that's also all right. No hard feelings. We're fair and square. I can certainly understand a man doesn't want to rat on his friends. I know that. You go to understand the position I'm in. All I can give you is what I tell you I can give you, and I gave you that. What you do next is entirely up to you."

And at this book's climax, you cannot believe what you ignored or didn't notice, because you were so engrossed in character, but all of a sudden, the story is running full tilt, and it's almost over...and like Lehane says, "Here's to Eddie Coyle. As with his creator, we'll never see his like again."
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message 1: by Bondama (new)

Bondama E.C. -- I never thought to hear the names "Eddie Coyle" or, especially, George V. Higgins. He was the master, all right. His few books, all st in Florida, truly blazed a trail for so, so many Florida Thriller writers. His are still the best!


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