From The Pen Of Frank Jackman
And that comment about what Higgins had a master ear for and ability to put dialogue to paper about, the low-life drifters, grifters and midnight sifters of the Boston gangster world, applies as well here where he gives his take on the ways of Massachusetts tribal politics when nobody, or almost nobody is looking. The subject is almost more interesting and certainly more dastardly in real time than having to drift through a few hundred pages of the inner workings up on the Hill and out in the districts.
Here is the big secret-Massachusetts politics is corrupt. No Higgins did not tip me to that hard fact, nor did some hard-hitting Boston Globe expose. The person who gave me the “skinny” when I was about eight or nine years old was my departed late sainted unworldly house-bound grandmother, Anna Riley, who knew that hard fact from when she was a girl told to her by her mother. And if kindly grandmothers are hip to the politics then almost everybody else is too. And that is the enduring weakness of writing several hundred pages about the corrupt graft state contracts, the tenuous political alliances that last for a minute, the momentary do-gooders who fade when the target falls (to be replaced by the next from hunger guy or gal) and those who try to get anything done without greasing the skids.
Naturally the best spot to see what is going on is to go to the State House and not to the Governor’s office as important as that front is but to the Speaker’s office where the real action goes down. Here Higgins gives us the Speaker Bernie and “fixer man” Frank show (there is always a fixer man behind the throne necessary to follow the bouncing ball). The ins and outs of how thing get done, or not done, up the Hill. Almost a manual like I said.
Higgins has got it all there the graft and corruption but why after reading this one did I have a hankering to hear those low-life grifters, drifters and midnight sifters like the late Eddie Coyle talking their self-interested low whisper street talk and making do with their small hungers.