Melinda Sue Gordon/Weinstein Company
Higgins, of course, was probably the best crime novelist this city has produced — Dennis Lehane would be the first to agree — and he’s the source for what’s still the best Boston crime movie, 1972’s “The Friends of Eddie Coyle.” “Killing Them Softly” is based on the 1974 novel “Cogan’s Trade,” which, like all Higgins’s books, is steeped in local flavor. When someone gets a beating in “Trade,” it’s not just in a parking lot but in the parking lot behind the old Stearns department store off Route 9 in Chestnut Hill. A hood meets a contract killer not at any restaurant but at Jacob Wirth’s on Stuart Street (the menu is discussed). It’s the kind of book where your fingers smell like stale beer just from turning the pages.