Picks and Pans Review: Kennedy for the Defense

updated 03/31/1980 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 03/31/1980 AT 01:00 AM EST

by George V. Higgins

"While my name is Kennedy, I am not related to the bastards. I don't even know the bastards. For all I know, they may be very nice people," says Boston criminal lawyer Jerry Kennedy, the voice in Higgins' fine new novel. After the success of The Friends of Eddie Coyle eight years ago, Higgins strayed disappointingly in The Diggers Game and The Friends of Richard Nixon. Now he has returned home. The protagonist is a loving, sentimental father and husband but his clientele is scummy, and the novel is populated with sleazy men who talk tough and dirty. In fact, the whole book is talk, splendid dialogue that illuminates character, defines a culture, tickles the funny bone and amazes with its freshness and audacity. This is Higgins, a Boston attorney himself, back in Eddie Coyle's world, right where he belongs. (Knopf, $9.95)

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