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Cogan's Trade Paperback – Bargain Price, December 23, 2002


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Paperback, Bargain Price, December 23, 2002
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • ISBN-10: 0786711086
  • ASIN: B000HWYOMQ
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.4 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,351,311 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

 “Higgins deserves to stand in the company of the likes of Chandler and Hammett as one of the true innovators in crime fiction.” —Scott Turow
 
"Higgins can plot a whole book like one long chase scene. He can write dialogue so authentic it spits." —Life
 
"The Balzac of the Boston underworld. ... Higgins is almost uniquely blessed with a gift for voices, each of them ... as distinctive as a fingerprint."—The New Yorker
 
“One of the great crime writers of the twentieth century.” —Kansas City Star

“Higgins writes about the world of crime with an authenticity that is unmatched.” --The Washington Post
 
“A uniquely gifted writer . . . who does at least as well by the Hogarthian Boston he knows as Raymond Chandler once did for Southern California.” —The New York Times
 
"Superb. . . Higgins is a complete novelist. His work will be read when the work of competing writers has been forgotten."—Chicago Daily News
 
"Brilliant. . . Higgins is a master stylist."--New York Post
 
“George V. Higgins’s mastery of the patois of the Boston criminal class is legendary.” —San Jose Mercury News --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

George V. Higgins was the author of more than twenty novels, including the bestsellers The Friends of Eddie Coyle, Cogan's Trade, The Rat on Fire, and The Digger's Game. He was a reporter for the Providence Journal and the Associated Press before obtaining a law degree from Boston College Law School in 1967. He was an assistant attorney general and then an assistant United States attorney in Boston from 1969 to 1973. He later taught Creative Writing at Boston University. He died in 1999. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

The late George V. Higgins earned a reputation as a master of low-life dialogue.
Slim
The book consists almost entirely of dialogue (some say it's brilliant) but it's rambling too.
NoteBleue
If you have seen the movie, even that is more about the style factor then action scenes.
Nick Cullity

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Upstate New Yorker on March 6, 2006
Format: Paperback
Cogan's Trade was one of George Higgins' earlier crime novels written in the 1970s. It is uniquely written in that the text is almost all dialogue. It is a story of Boston area Irish-American lowlife mobsters and their escapades. It concerns the gunpoint robbery of a mob-protected high stakes card game and the mayhem that ensues. The characters are all quite colorful and their language captures the time and the mileu. It is a novel I've reread several times and throughly enjoyed each reading . Definitely recommended for aficionados of the hard-boiled school of crime novels.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Slim on January 17, 2008
Format: Paperback
The late George V. Higgins earned a reputation as a master of low-life dialogue. Entire chapters of his books were often conversations, sometimes essentially monologues. This was a risky way to write. Some readers found the endless talk tedious, and many (this reviewer included) found his output uneven.

Cogan's Trade was perhaps his best, a slender and deceptively simple tale of intramural activity of the Boston area mob. A web of connections determines who does what to whom as the title character emerges to become a grand inquisitor who forgot about the commandment that states "Thou shalt not kill." Jackie Cogan, compact and intense, is a cold-blooded paradigm of mob virtue, while other characters prove they're not as smart as they think they are.

The result is a suspenseful tale full of comic relief. Most readers are content to go along for the ride, but the repeat reader begins to see layers and symbolism in the this little masterpiece from "the Balzac of the Boston underworld."
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Sancti Spiritus on January 25, 2008
Format: Paperback
Mario Puzo gives us eloquent and artistic proses when unfolding a story of the Mafia, and underworld. George V. Higgins gives you the grit, the hard-boiled inner-workings of low on the totem pole true thugs. On reading the book, you feel like your sitting around the table listening to their conversation face to face. The author's gift of planting the reader on street level of day to day goings on of south Boston mobsters is astounding. George V. Higgins today, is quite underrated and thinly read. It's an abysmal shame.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By William E. Wallace on December 28, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
When you run a business and problems pop up, you have to retain specialists to deal with them. Say you operate a restaurant and your dishwasher breaks down; you have to bring in a plumber to fix it. Your business uses computers to keep track of inventory and your server goes down? Chances are you are going to have to hire an IT expert.

So it is with organized crime: when an enterprise goes off the tracks, somebody has to fix it - particularly when the way it goes awry scares away the customers the business depends on. Thus, when a trio of numbskulls robs a Mafia-protected illegal gambling operation in Boston in 1974. The mob turns to Jackie Cogan to manage the repair job.

Fixing the damage is crucial: since the robbery, all the mob-connected card games have shut down and the Mafia is losing a fortune in tribute the games' operators pay to remain in business. The success of one robbery has raised the prospect of copycats, so the perpetrators must be found and dealt with quickly.

Cogan is a specialist in fixing this type of problem by a judicious application of violence. It is, in fact, his profession: Cogan's Trade, as it is styled in the original title of the 1974 novel by George V. Higgins (that has been turned into the motion picture, "Killing Them Softly," just released this month).

Any thoughtful person who has read one of Higgins' books knows that action is not his métier. Higgins, who died in 1999, cut his teeth on organized crime, first as an assistant district attorney, then an Assistant U.S. Attorney assigned to the federal Organized Crime Strike Force, and finally as a newspaper reporter and columnist.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By VH on September 25, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
I had read The Friends of Eddie Coyle years ago and recognized it as deserving its classic status. Having seen a preview of the new movie - called Killing Them Softly - which is based on this book, Cogan's Trade, I sought out the book and enjoyed reading it. Loved the characters, the dialogue (Higgins' dialogue stands out, of course), the awfulness!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By jamesand@juno.com on September 14, 2012
Format: Paperback
In his later books, the dialogue completlely overpowered the plot. In this one, his third I think, Higgins still had a story to tell. The "he made two mistakes" analysis to justify a hit comes close to Catch-22 for devastating logic. It's at least 40 years old and I still re-read this one (and Eddie Coyle, and Digger's Game) every so often.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By John T. Chance on August 24, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I've read every book that Higgins wrote and this is his masterpiece. His minimalist style is distilled to perfection, his characters--Squirrel, Frankie, Russell, the Driver, and Mitch--are utterly convincing and compelling. And Jackie Cogan himself was Higgins greatest creation.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Noel TOP 1000 REVIEWER on January 21, 2013
Format: Paperback
Johnny Amato has a plan: he's going to hire a couple guys to knock over a mob poker game run by Markie Trattman. Trattman went to prison for 5 years after knocking over a different mob poker game and Amato figures that if his guys go in and do it, Trattman will get the blame again and Amato will be home free with the cash. But when the robbery goes as planned, the mob calls in its most ruthless enforcer - Jackie Cogan - who is determined to find the culprits and send a message to anyone thinking of trying anything similar ever again.

By page 3 I was hooked. The dialogue between Amato, Frankie and Russell is simply incredible. It sounds startlingly realistic and by its sheer authenticity, it makes the story immediately involving. This is my first George Higgins novel so I wasn't sure what to expect - his writing style is basically all dialogue. About 95% of this book is dialogue and it kind of reads like a play! From the opening scene where 3 guys are sat in an office talking, the story plays out with various guys sitting around talking, telling anecdotes about women they've slept with, the quality of their home lives, stories from being in jail, previous crimes they were involved in - the list goes on, they talk about anything and everything. But the plot moves at a glacial pace and the initial thrill of the conversations wore off about halfway through, leaving me wondering why hardly anything seemed to be happening.

I'm conflicted about this book; on the one hand I'm in total admiration of George Higgins' ability to render dialogue, particularly gangster dialogue, so convincingly - and on the other, the sheer amount of dialogue just envelops the novel and stultifies the actual story.
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