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Customer reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4
The Rat on Fire
Format: Paperback|Change
Price:£8.99+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime

on 12 October 2013
An unscrupulous Jewish landlord is forced to go to extreme measures when his tenants continually refuse to pay rent due to the squalid conditions of his properties. So along with some fairly unsavoury 'associates', he formulates a plan to torch the building and claim on the insurance, all with the help of a corrupt fire marshal.
The cops however are for once one step ahead, sort of, and are formulating their own plans to bring them to justice..

Really solid, Boston set, character crime novel. The story is almost exclusively dialogue driven (so stick with it while it establishes the characters by introducing them back and forth), and chock full of Higgins's usually colourful lowlifes. Although the story mostly centres around a police sting, you would hardly say that this is a tale of cops chasing robbers, as the lines soon get blurred. With plenty of bad language, grotty black humour and very few 'likeable' characters, which are all well painted by Higgins.

If you like hard boiled crime then this is highly recommended.
4.25/5
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VINE VOICEon 12 June 2015
Mr Higgins has his own branch on the crime writer's family tree. You need to be prepared for his style. He tells everything through dialogue with the absolute minimum of narrative development. From the beginning there are a couple of astonishing, chapter-long, tour-de-force rants from two of the key protagonists on either side of the law.

The central story is quite simple; arson and insurance fraud amid run-down tenements in Boston. It is clever, darkly comic, razor-sharp and, at times, offensive.

Mr Higgins has a great ear for dialogue. You can almost picture youself in a taxi or at a neighbouring restaurant table, overhearing snippets of these characters. I don't think 'hard-boiled' is appropriate. He is more observational and fly-on-the-wall. Have now read two of his novels and given them both five stars.
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on 3 June 2013
There is no9 better writer oof crime dialogue that George V. Higgins. The rat on Fire is also extremely humerous on par with 'Three men in a boat'
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on 3 April 2014
I really enjoyed this book. The dialogue moves the action along well and the elliptical way it's done gripped me immediately.
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