Murder Is Our Peculiar Pastime: Fifty Notable American Crime Novels: 25-26


Higgins, George V.  The Friends of Eddie Coyle.  New York: Knopf, 1972.

In 1985, the Book Marketing Council selected The Friends of Eddie Coyle as one of the top twenty postwar American novels.  Higgins’ debut effort, the novel has  been translated into Danish, Finnish, Flemish, French, Italian, Norwegian, Spanish, and Turkish.  It was adapted to a highly acclaimed film starring Robert Mitchum in one of the defining performances of his long and accomplished career.  Higgins himself would subsequently produce more than two dozen novels and a half-dozen books of nonfiction.

Before achieving success as a novelist, Higgins had extensive legal experience, both as a prosecutor and a defense attorney.  This experience is apparent in his psychological understanding of his characters’ behavior, of their motives and their responses to changing circumstances.  The intimacy in Higgins’ depiction of his characters is enhanced by his narrative reliance on extensive dialogue, by his…

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