Saturday, April 09, 2005


The other day I picked up a yellowed copy of George Higgins's first and only good novel The Friends of Eddie Coyle. It is Boston noir, mostly dialogue, about a low rent crook just out of the joint, trying to grab a break from the cops on another charge. It is a very short book that wastes nothing in ferrying its reader across the River Styx. It moves with the stark inevitability of a Greek tragedy through Boston's underworld. Characters talk about going to see The Brunes and The Pats and curse them when they fail. I'm giving away nothing to say that Eddie Coyle's friends are not his friends and that his attempts to save himself are like Brer Bear having at the tar-baby. Perfect dialogue reveals characters of surprising depth. There's an excellent film starring Robert Mitchum, playing against type as the vulnerable Coyle and Peter Boyle as the owner of a bar that fronts for many criminal activities, and proves to be his nemesis. Read it and find out what people mean when they say noir.

Misteer Nouse


At May 27, 2005 at 7:29 AM, Blogger Patry Francis said...

Okay, I gotta read it. Boston noir is me.

At June 1, 2005 at 4:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am shocked that you include in your blog no review of "The Cheese Stands Alone" by Ralston Bedge, of blessed Iowa City memory, whose name the few still say with tears. Shocked!


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