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Killing Them Softly (Cogan's Trade Movie Tie-in Edition) (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard) Paperback – September 25, 2012

2.8 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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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 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

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.
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Product Details

  • Series: Vintage Crime/Black Lizard
  • Paperback: 216 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; MTI edition (September 25, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307950794
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307950796
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.6 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,525,306 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
You either like George V. Higgins' dialogue centered writing style, or you don't.

The people with negative reviews on this site simply don't know what they are reading. Higgins' books are always nothing but dialogue, reading a Higgins book is like hiding under the couch and listening in on a bunch of criminals talking to each other. The joy of his books is trying to figure out yourself what is going on, because he never tells you directly, you have to figure it out on your own. Higgins writes his books with 99% of the text being dialogue, and he is known as a master of dialogue. His best work was "The Friends of Eddie Coyle" which none other than Elmore Leonard considers to be one of the best crime novels ever written.

Cogan's Trade (which is what this book is) is a pretty good example of George V. Higgins' work, but if you want to get into him, definitely start with "The Friends of Eddie Coyle".
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Format: Paperback
If you don't like dialogue driven stories or don't like thinking getting in the way of what you are reading, stay away from George V. Higgins and let the rest of us enjoy his brilliant works. Go read James Patterson's, Tess Gerritsen's or John Grisham's crap. Cogan's Trade (Killing Them Softly) is an excellent follow up to The Friends of Eddie Coyle. This story told through conversations is about a mob card game that gets ripped off for a second time and mob hit man Jackie Cogan is brought in to set things right. The story is told through conversations between Jackie Cogan and a mob lawyer, the two perpetrators of the robbery, the mobster who orchestrated the hold up, and between Jackie and another hired hit man brought in to help. The gist of the story is, a mobster hires a junkie and a small time hood to knock over a card game run by another mobster, who previously hit his own game. Jackie then has to navigate the Boston streets to ferret out the lowlifes who framed up the mobster who runs the card game. George Higgins paints a realistic depiction of hoods and hit men from the era and the area Even using the accent and slang to really nail it home. It feels like you are being given a window into the real life of organized crime. I really enjoyed this book as much as The Friends of Eddie Coyle, and I hope to Zeus that Brad Pitt and company didn't muck up the movie too bad. (Not off to a good start moving the setting from Boston to Louisiana) I recommend this book highly to crime fiction fans.
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Format: Paperback
Underworld Boston has become an Industry in recent years. Higgins got there first and did it superbly. I grew up where his novels take place, knew kids who got sucked into the Mob. Higgins especially in his first three novels THE FRIENDS OF EDDIE COYLE, DIGGER'S GAME and COGAN'S TRADE captures the speech, the outlook, the life of these guys. Scumbags? You bet! But fully realized!
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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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Being a Boston native and reader of all GVH's books I thoroughly enjoyed Killing Them Softly even though having read it originally as Cogan's Trade. His ability to convey the sensation of being in Boston, even to the non-native is carried on in this book.
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I take it that this story is about the personalities of Boston criminal punks, and an expos`e on criminal punk violence. This book is very boring to read if you are not curious about criminal punks, personally. But I am curious about criminal punks' personalities and this book was okay for me. I am sorry that this book is too boring for some people.
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