Though Higgins would write more than two dozen novels, his first -- published in 1972 and made into a movie with Robert Mitchum the following year -- remains his most famous. Eddie Coyle is a fairly small-time hood who moves guns for people in the Boston area. Big man Jimmy Scalisi has a standing order for hardware to pull a series of bank jobs, dealer Jackie Brown feeds the guns to Eddie, police officer Foley keeps trying to get Eddie to give up Scalisi, and Dillon is a bartender (and part-time contract killer) who listens to Eddie's beefs over drinks. In other words, one should put quotation marks around the "friends" of the title. This is a gritty, startling slice o' criminal life, Boston style -- most of it related strictly through dialogue.
This report prepared by David Loftus