Books: Gourmet Crookery

THE FRIENDS OF EDDIE COYLE

by GEORGE V. HIGGINS 183 pages. Knopf. $5.95.

This spare first novel is the sleeper of the current publishing season. A sophisticated thriller, it tracks the downfall of a marginal crook—a Boston gunrunner named Eddie Coyle. The author comes from Boston's South Shore and is a 31-year-old assistant federal attorney for Massachusetts. He knows intimately the riffraff at the edge of organized crime—the pacts and betrayals, the phone calls in bars, the meetings in cafeterias and shopping centers. By using the procedures of surveillance, he is able to achieve...

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