Friends of Eddie Coyle, The
by George V. Higgins (1972)
Come because it’s “the best crime novel ever written” (Elmore Leonard), but stay for the outstanding dialogue, which has to be some of the best ever written as well. The entire story, a slight tale of the mishaps of a mid-level criminal, is told through dialogue, and it oozes authenticity and verve.
If David Simon didn’t garner inspiration from this novel for The Wire and his other creations, it was certainly a happy coincidence that he was able to tap into the same vein of natural realism. I’m sure the fact that both artists have a background in the criminal justice system has something to do with it as well. A quick read, and worth it for the dialogue, but perhaps not overly memorable.