If the guys in this novel are Eddie Coyle's "friends," I don't want to know what his enemies are like.
In this terse, stark novel, Higgins reveals a tightly-interconnected world of gang members, gun runners, hitmen, and thieves. While Eddie, Scalisi, and Dillon are all using one another to set up jobs, they're simultaneously informing on one another to the cops. Eddie, though, has the most to gain by talking- if he can convince the DA that he's been helpful in capturing other criminals, he can get a light sentence for his own crimes. Ultimately, though, Eddie has much worse coming to him.
And despite all the police work and the complicated set of relationships among the gun runners and the gun buyers, everything is ultimately brought down by one woman. After all, when your boyfriend bad-mouths you to his friends and then refuses to apologize for it, why wouldn't you rat him out to the cops and tell them he's behind the rash of bank robberies? Bet Scalisi never saw that coming.
Anyway, The Friends of Eddie Coyle is a quick, entertaining read, especially if you're a fan of The Sopranos. Except here it's Irish guys, mostly. And Boston, and the 1960s.