THE FRIENDS OF EDDIE COYLE, written by George V. Higgins (1939 to 1999) and published in 1970, is a non-romanticized look at the criminal underworld set in 1970′s Boston. In his bio, George V. Higgins was a lawyer and a journalist. He wrote what he knew when it came to prosecuting criminals. The realistic depiction of the mob, in the most unflattering third person narrative read more like a true crime story to me. This was a fast read with excellent dialogue and memorable characters. The introduction to this story was written by Dennis Lehane, who wrote that this novel was a “game changer.”
Eddie “Fingers” Coyle is a small time gunrunner working for the mob. He got his nickname from getting his hand smashed in a drawer for a mistake he made in providing guns he bought from somebody that got one of his mob buddies arrested. Read the rest here
UNKNOWN MAN #89, written by Elmore Leonard and published in 1977, is a mystery novel that has great dialogue and an unpredictable storyline. Reading this book was a lot of fun. We have ex-cons, hustlers and street thugs. This is 1970′s Detroit and we are in the hood (mostly). The novel has crime, romance, well-developed characters, GREAT dialogue and humor. This is my first time reading Elmore Leonard and after reading this book, it won’t be the last time.
The story mainly follows Jack Ryan. He’s a process-server. He has a knack for finding people who don’t want to be found which comes in handy since he serves legal papers for a living. He loves his job because he’s the boss and it keeps him busy. We get a quick run down on Ryan. He’s divorced and lives alone. He’s a recovering alcoholic. Some people scatter when they see him coming especially doctors who all but make a run for it due to the fear of facing a malpractice lawsuit. And Ryan will go to whatever lengths it takes to deliver a summons. He once served a rock group legal papers during their performance which led to a picture of him with the caption “Show Stopper!” According to Ryan, this wasn’t a stunt. This was the only way to get close to them *LOL* Ryan has “rules” and the one worth noting is the one he breaks: do not get personally involved. Read More Here
Just highlighting the direction I am going with my blog since I started it May 2011. At the time that I started, my interest was strong for Scandinavian crime fiction and I read a bunch of them, too. Two years later, well my current interest seems to be early classics in American or British crime fiction and noir. I will still read European crime fiction but it will be mostly by my favorite writers. I guess I am not finding any good titles in Scandinavian crime fiction of late or my interest in that area is not what it once was. It was one of the major reasons why I started this blog after all but after two years of a blog dedicated to crime fiction, I think I’ve read all of the Scandinavian crime fiction I am going to read outside of my favorites. There are other excellent blogs that review them for those who have an interest. I highly recommend Sarah’s crimepieces blog for starters.
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THE GETAWAY by Jim Thompson (1906 to 1977), published in 1958, is a book about a bank robbery. A simple story with plenty of action but this is Jim Thompson’s world and his characters are well drawn and his plot is a bit complicated and well layered with a surprise twist in the ending. Published more than half a century ago, THE GETAWAY holds up well. This is pulp noir set during the 1950′s. The irony in the denouement makes this story one of the most memorable among other crime fiction novels.
The story opens with the armed robbery of the Beacon City bank by Carter “Doc” McCoy, his wife Carol and his partner, Rudy Torrento. Carol is an amateur but no stranger to crime, Rudy is a psychopath with insecurities and Doc is the criminal mastermind of the group. According to Rudy, Doc didn’t just pick any bank to rob. He picked one that wasn’t a member of the Federal Reserve. Also, Doc owed money to a corrupt politician who pardoned him from prison. The plan was to steal the money to pay his debt with no bloodshed. Well, you know what they say about well-intentioned plans. Read More Here
Since reading The Rage, I’ve been anxious to read another book by Gene Kerrigan. Picked up Little Criminals which was published in 2007 by Europa. Unlike the last book, this one is set during the pre-Celtic Tiger crash. But just like the last book, we follow another low life hood in the underworld of Dublin society. One word for this book: underwhelming.
Frankie Crowe is a small time criminal only he doesn’t know it. He gets out of prison and goes straight back to the criminal life. He robs a pub when we first meet him and then later, he recruits and plans for a major job: to kidnap a banker with easy access to cash. Well, I’m starting to notice a trend here, after only two books in that, there’s always complications with these well thought out plans. Well, it’s these complications that make up the plot twists. We spend most of the book watching the bad guys unravel these unexpected developments as the plot thickens and moves ploddingly to the end.
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