George V. Higgins ‘Cogan’s Trade’ – source for ‘Killing Them Softly’

If a young Quentin Tarantino didn’t devour George V. Higgins crime novels – I would be SHOCKED. ‘Cogan’s Trade‘ is a crime novel centered in the Boston underworld. It is 216 pages of criminals telling stories, digressions, stories with digressions and a few sharp bursts of action.

Did I say it was about story-telling?

Decided to read this since it is the source novel for the new Andrew Dominik film ‘Killing Them Softly’ starring Brad Pitt as the titular criminal enforcer Jackie Cogan. The story focuses on a couple of criminals who rob a card game then Cogan has to track them down for the usual criminal retribution. The book is truly all about it’s dialogue and criminal slang. I really dig reading books where characters say words like “onna” “inna” “hadda” – words that give you that feel for a specific vernacular where being concerned with good grammar is not high on the list. Lots of descriptions of cars and dumb things crooks do and are currently doing.

Not really much of a plot to the story which makes me even more curious to see how this will translate into the film. The latest title for the film comes straight from the book when Cogan professes that when he kills people he like to “do it softly” and “at a distance.” The movie title also reminds me of the Roberta Flack cover of “Killing Me Softly” which I had also heard was rumored to be her song about how Barry Manilow’s music blows her away. Thanks internets for debunking that as Flack didn’t even write the tune.

The movie doesn’t hit the big screen until after Thanksgiving so there’s plenty of time to snag a copy of this from the library if you’re interested.

Here’s the trailer:


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