The Friends of Eddie Coyle

by Phoebe Adams
by George V. Higgins. Knopf, $5.95. Mr. Higgins, an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Massachusetts District, has written a short chilling novel about gunrunning, bank robbery, and the frustrations of police work. While the narrative is terse, the characters—all unattractive or frightening or both— are decidedly garrulous. No doubt because he meets them in his trade, Mr. Higgins does not make the ivorytower assumption that thugs are inarticulate, and much of the action is carried by convincing dialogue which is also grimly amusing. Another interesting point is the basic similarity of all these rogues. They vary in age, style, and vocabulary, but are alike in being incapable of pleasure.