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The Digger’s Game

By George V. Higgins

Jerry “Digger” Doherty is an ex-con and proprietor of a workingman’s Boston bar, who supplements his income with the occasional “odd job,” like stealing live checks and picking up hot goods. His brother’s a priest, his wife’s a nag, and he’s got a deadly appetite for martinis and gambling. But when the Digger looses eighteen grand in borrowed money on a trip to Vegas, he quickly finds himself in the sights of mob loneshark “the Greek,” who will have to make the Digger pay up one way or another. Luckily—if you call it luck—the Digger has been let in on a little job that can turn his gambling debt into a profit, as long as he can pull it off without getting killed.

George V. Higgins was the author of more than 20 novels, including the bestsellers The Friends of Eddie Coyle, Cogan’s Trade, and The Digger’s Game. He was a reporter for the Providence Journal and the Associated Press before obtaining a law degree from Boston College Law School in 1967. He was an assistant attorney general and then an assistant United States attorney in Boston from 1969 to 1973. He later taught creative writing at Boston University. He died in 1999.


“[Higgins is] the best American crime novelist now at work.” Time

“Higgins writes about the world of crime with an authenticity that is unmatched.” —Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post

“Flawless of its kind—never a false word, phrase, rhythm, gesture.” The New Republic

The Digger’s Game is more than a thriller. It is an American novel of drive and imagination.” —William Hogan, San Francisco Chronicle

More raves for GVH

The Digger’s Game
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Vintage/Black Lizard, 2011

(first published by Alfred A. Knopf in 1973)

Killing Them Softly (the movie based on Cogan’s Trade, by George V. Higgins) is now a major motion picture with Brad Pitt and a host of other stars. Read about it. Watch it on Netflix.

The classic film version of The Friends of Eddie Coyle is in the Criterion Collection. Read/hear appreciations on WBURand the Boston Globe.

Foreign rights in George V. Higgins’s books are managed by the Marsh Agency in London (or contact LaFarge).

Also by George V. Higgins
The Friends of Eddie Coyle (1972)
The Digger’s Game (1973)†*^
Cogan’s Trade (1974)†*^
A City on a Hill (1975)
The Friends of Richard Nixon (1975)
The Judgment of Deke Hunter (1976)
Dreamland (1977)
A Year or So with Edgar (1979)
Kennedy for the Defense (1980)†^
The Rat on Fire (1981)†*^
The Patriot Game (1982)†*^
A Choice of Enemies (1984)
Style vs. Substance: Boston, Kevin White, and the Politics of Illusion (1984)
Penance for Jerry Kennedy (1985)†^
Imposters (1986)
Outlaws (1987)†*^
The Sins of the Fathers (1988)
Wonderful Years, Wonderful Years (1988)
The Progress of the Seasons (1989)
Trust (1989)†^
On Writing (1990)
Victories (1990)
The Mandeville Talent (1991)
Defending Billy Ryan (1992)†
Bomber’s Law (1993)†
Swan Boats at Four (1995)
Sandra Nichols Found Dead (1996)
A Change of Gravity (1997)
The Agent (1998)
At End of Day (2000)†*^
The Easiest Thing in the World: The Uncollected Fiction of George V. Higgins (ed. Matthew J. Bruccoli) (2004)

†Vintage (US), 2011
*Orion (UK), 2012