The Rat on Fire
By George V. Higgins
A riveting, blistering novel about the shady side of the law and the business side of the Boston underworld by the one and only George V. Higgins.
Jerry Fein is a small-time lawyer, occasional booking agent, and full-time slumlord. But he’s nobody’s fool. So when the tenants of his dilapidated buildings refuse to pay rent because of rats, Jerry knows just the man to help him—Leo Proctor, a professional arsonist, who can make a fire marshal look the other way for a little cash. But the heat is on over at the police station as well, and a couple of cops are suddenly feeling pressure from their superiors to produce tangible results, and something has got to give.
Full of showboating politicians, hardnosed cops, and lawyers a little too familiar with both sides of the law, The Rat on Fire is another Higgins masterpiece and an unflinching portrait of the Boston crime world.
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.
“The dialogue is everything, Runyonesque, dripping with lovely sewage.” —Christopher Wordsworth, The Observer (UK)