Friends of Eddie Coyle (1972), Digger’s Game (1973) – George V. HigginsRead about another entry on the list.
With his first two novels, George V. Higgins created a new type of crime fiction, a gritty blend of tragedy and comedy that pistol-whipped the genre’s tropes, and then tossed them into the dirty waters of the Charles River. These are blue-collar operas, arias sung by hoodlums, criminals, and crooked cops. It’s like the reader is sitting at a dive bar, having a few beers with desperate low lives and “regular Joes.” We readers have no choice but to listen to them complain about their wives, their kids, their mortgages, their parole officers, and their dreams of a bigger, better payday. Hard-knuckled and terse, these books are the gold standard of Boston crime. It’s noir over a cold Schlitz and a pack of Winstons, peanut shells on the floor, and the Bruins on a black-and white-television, losing another game.
The Friends of Eddie Coyle is among Anthony Bourdain's ten favorite books, Don Winslow's top five crime novels, and Elmore Leonard's five most important books.