Gripping and entertaining, George V. Higgins delivers a compelling and uncomfortably realistic account of the way society and the law really function. Its been a decade since the turbulent 60s and policeman John Richards still has to deal with a handful of leftover student radicals who continue to terrorize the Boston streets. In an effort to convict them once and for all, he liaises with ambitious lawyer Terry Gleason. Matters culminate one crisp Sunday morning when the students decide to rob the Friary, a pub in downtown Boston well-established as a site of drug-trafficking. Seven civilians are left dead in what comes to be called the Friary massacre. The trial proves nightmarish and unpredictable, not unlike the decade it took Richards and Gleason to apprehend the culprits in the first place. In a heart-stopping rendition of cops and robbers, Outlaws proves that in the Boston demimonde nothing is as it seems.
The author of The Friends of Eddie Coyle and Imposters brings his considerable storytelling skills and his customary perfect ear for dialogue to this complex novel of right and wrong, principle and pragmatism in the daily practice of modern American law and politics. In 1978, detective Lt. John Richards and Assistant Attorney General Terrence Gleason get a grand jury indictment against four radical activists from the '60s, for robbery and multiple murder in a Boston bar. Included is James Walker, the son of a New York society matron, an ardent supporter of a young people's amateur orchestra, whose tours have provided cover for American intelligence activities since WW II. The trial, beating at the heart of Higgins's story, results in convictions for all except Sam Tibbetts, the ringleader, who gets off on temporary insanity. Seven years later, after Tibbetts has been let out of his state institution, Walker's sister contacts Gleason, who had been her lover for a while after the trial and is now a criminal lawyer in private practice, to act on getting her brother released. The narrative ranges from the '40s to the '80s, revealing connections in the lives of his large cast of characters and setting up the older generation's movements, supposedly within the system, against the younger's, supposedly outside it. While deftly arranging right against left, ends against means, and illuminating the play of private passion in public practice, above all he tells a powerful, page-turner of a story. (September 14) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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October 02, 2012
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