“STRETCHING things a little, I have chosen George V Higgins’ THE FRIENDS OF EDDIE COYLE as my favourite Irish crime novel. Born in Boston to Irish immigrant parents, Higgins served as a federal prosecutor in the US District Attorney’s office, writing novels in his spare time. It is said that he had written 16 before his first, THE FRIENDS OF EDDIE COYLE, was published to great acclaim in 1972. Drawing on his experience as a prosecutor - Higgins worked many notorious mob cases in New England - the novel charts the progress of gun dealer Eddie Coyle as he brokers and buys weaponry for a crew of bank robbers, touts to cops and feds, and confides in his bartender friend Dillon. All this is as one might expect from a serving federal prosecutor, but stylistically - and this is where Higgins is particularly Irish - the novel owes more to Joyce than Chandler. From the opening page, the story is told almost entirely in dialogue:Kevin McCarthy’s PEELER is published by the Mercier Press.Jackie Brown at twenty-six, with no expression on his face, said that he could get some guns. ‘I can get your pieces probably by tomorrow night. I can get you, probably, six pieces. Tomorrow night. In a week or so, maybe ten days, another dozen …’“Eddie and his friends ramble, digress, yarn and almost inadvertently add to the dense weave of the narrative. It is a novel that demands careful reading and faith in the novelist. It is dense, gripping, gritty and sad. It’s hard work that repays the reader with a smeared glimpse of how crime works in the real world, driven by self-interest, self-preservation and more than a little self-loathing. And that’s only the cops and feds ...” - Kevin McCarthy
“Burke shows again that he’s not just a comic genius, but also a fine dramatic writer and storyteller.” – Booklist. “Prose both scabrous and poetic.” – Publishers Weekly. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre.” – Sunday Times. “A hardboiled delight.” – Guardian. “Imagine Donald Westlake and Richard Stark collaborating on a screwball noir.” – Kirkus Reviews. “A cross between Raymond Chandler and Flann O’Brien.” – John Banville.
Saturday, May 21, 2011
Down These Green Streets: Kevin McCarthy on George V Higgins
Being the continuing stoooooooory of a quack who has gone to the - whoa. Different blog. This is the latest in an irregular series in which contributors to DOWN THESE GREEN STREETS pick their favourite Irish crime novel. Last week it was Ken Bruen on (koff) EIGHTBALL BOOGIE. This week, it’s Kevin McCarthy, the author of PEELER, on George V Higgins’ THE FRIENDS OF EDDIE COYLE. To wit: