January 28, 2023

No Facebook Friends for Eddie Coyle

No Facebook Friends for Eddie Coyle

Eddie Coyle must not have any Facebook friends. Last year NPR took a poll of their listeners for the top one hundred “killer thrillers.” The Friends of Eddie Coyle didn’t make the list. George Higgins’s classic crime novel did make it on Elmore Leonard’s list of one as the best crime novel ever written, “making The Maltese Falcon read like Nancy Drew.” When George Higgins gave his agent The Friends of Eddie Coyle, the agent read it and dropped Higgins as a client, calling the story “unsaleable.”

Jackie Brown stopped at the table and said: “If I was telling you I was looking for a guy that was in the Marines with my brother once, you think you’d be able to help me?”

The kid’s eyes filled with emotion. “I was getting worried,” he said. “You were going to be here at seven-thirty. I had three plates of eggs so far.”

“You should lay off the eggs,” Jackie Brown said. “They make you fart worse than beer.”

“I like eggs,” the kid said. “Especially, what I mean is, all we get’re them powdered ones, that’re always scrambled. Every time I get liberty, I go out and have myself some eggs.”

“You get your cookies too?” Jackie Brown said.

“Huh?” the kid said.

“Never mind,” Jackie Brown said. “I didn’t come fucking down here to talk about fucking eggs. I came down here to do something. Let’s do it. Where do we go?”

Most people who read George Higgins the first time said, “Huh?” As Elmore Leonard wrote, “you have to give publishers time to catch up and catch on.”

“Is there any end to this shit? Does anything ever change in this racket?

“Hey Foss,” the prosecutor said, taking Clark by the arm, “of course it changes. Don’t take it so hard. Some of us die, the rest of us get older, new guys come along, old guys disappear. It changes every day.”

“It’s hard to notice, though,” Clark said.

“It is,” the prosecutor said, “it certainly is.”

Contemporary thriller writers dominate the NPR list. The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris is number one. Many classics from the past are on the list. Some great ones were overlooked. Eric Ambler’s books didn’t make the top one hundred. He’s only the best spy novelist of all time. James Dickey’s Deliverance should be on every top ten list for thriller type novels. Deliverance also didn’t make the cut for the top one hundred. Graham Greene’s The Quiet American and Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice didn’t make the list.

“Arthur’s a good man,” the stocky man said.

“Arthur’s as tight as a popcorn fart when he’s on a job,” the second man said, “but you sit him away some place where he’s got too much time to think and he’s dangerous. He’d fuck a dog with scarlet fever to get parole.”

“Well, you know him better’n I do,” the stocky man said. “I always liked him.”

Elmore Leonard recognized in The Friends of Eddie Coyle that the winning formula is authenticity. Dialogue tight as a popcorn fart might help NPR’s ratings against Rush Limbaugh.

Eddie Coyle is on Facebook- with friends, and all! I plead mercy for my knuckles. Don’t crack ’em in the desk drawer for the oversight. The Friends of Eddie Coyle is also coming to theater.


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