9 Best Evan Hunter Books to Read Now – Mystery and More

Evan Hunter was a prolific writer known for his mastery of the mystery genre and his contributions to literary fiction, as well as his screenwriting endeavors. Writing under multiple pseudonyms throughout his career, Hunter left behind an impressive body of work that has captivated readers for decades. In this article, we’ll explore some of Hunter’s best books that you should read right now, including his most popular mystery series and standalone novels, as well as his well-regarded literary fiction and screenwriting work.

9 Best Evan Hunter Books to Read Now - Mystery and More

The Prolific Career of Evan Hunter

Born in 1926 as Salvatore Albert Lombino, Evan Hunter published his first novel, “The Blackboard Jungle,” in 1954 under the pseudonym “Ed McBain.” The novel is a gritty depiction of a high school filled with troubled teens and became a bestseller. It was later turned into a film adaptation directed by Richard Brooks and released in 1955.

But Evan Hunter’s career was just getting started. Under the name Evan Hunter, he wrote acclaimed literary fiction works such as “A Matter of Conviction” and “Mothers and Daughters.” His writing was praised for its vivid characters and exploration of complex themes such as family dynamics and the human condition.

However, he is perhaps best known for his prolific output in the mystery genre, which he wrote under various pseudonyms, including Ed McBain, Curt Cannon and Richard Marsten. Writing under multiple pseudonyms allowed him to explore different styles and genres, and he became a master of the mystery novel.

Writing Under Multiple Pseudonyms

Cop Hater (87th Precinct Book 1)

In addition to “The Blackboard Jungle,” Hunter found great success with his mystery novels, beginning with the launching of the groundbreaking 87th Precinct series in 1956 under the name Ed McBain. This series was set in a fictional city resembling New York and features a diverse cast of police detectives solving crimes. Hunter went on to write over 50 novels in the series.

He also wrote the Matthew Hope series, which featured a small town Florida lawyer as its protagonist. This series allowed Hunter to explore a different type of character and setting, showcasing his versatility as a writer.

Additionally, Hunter penned standalone mystery novels, including “Cop Hater” and “The 8th Confession,” which helped cement his status as one of the most influential mystery writers of all time. His writing was marked by intricate plots, unexpected twists, and a deep understanding of human psychology.

The Evolution of His Writing Style

Lullaby (87th Precinct Book 41)

Throughout his career, Hunter’s writing style evolved and matured. His early work, such as “The Blackboard Jungle,” was gritty and realistic, while his later novels, such as “Lullaby” and “Widows,” explored complex characters through a more psychological lens.

His writing was marked by a strong sense of place and a keen eye for human behavior. His depiction of police procedural work was revolutionary at the time, and his influence is still felt in today’s crime fiction. He was a master of pacing and suspense, able to keep readers on the edge of their seats until the very end.

Awards and Recognitions

Hunter was the recipient of numerous awards throughout his career, including the CWA Cartier Diamond Dagger, the Edgar Grand Master Award and a Mystery Writers of America Special Award for Contributions to the Mystery Genre. His work continues to be celebrated and studied, and his influence can be seen in the works of many contemporary mystery writers.

In conclusion, Evan Hunter was a prolific and versatile writer who left an indelible mark on the mystery genre. His legacy continues to be celebrated and his work remains a testament to the power of storytelling.

Top Evan Hunter Novels for Mystery Lovers

Evan Hunter, also known as Ed McBain, was a prolific American author who wrote over 100 novels in his lifetime. His works spanned different genres, including crime fiction, mystery, and thriller. He was best known for his 87th Precinct series, which featured a group of detectives working in a fictional city that closely resembled New York City. Hunter’s writing style was characterized by his attention to detail and his ability to create complex and realistic characters.

Now that we’ve explored Hunter’s impressive career, let’s dive into his best mystery novels that will satisfy any crime fiction fan’s appetite.

The 87th Precinct Series

87th Precinct Mysteries

If you’re looking for a great mystery series, look no further than the 87th Precinct series. The series is set in the fictional city of Isola and follows the detectives of the 87th Precinct as they solve crimes and catch criminals. The first book in the series, “Cop Hater,” introduces readers to the detectives Steve Carella and Meyer Meyer as they work to solve a string of cop killings. The series includes over 50 books, so you’ll always have a new story to delve into. Each book in the series can be read as a standalone, but reading them in order will give you a better understanding of the characters and their relationships.

The 87th Precinct series is a must-read for any mystery lover. Hunter’s writing style is engaging, and his characters are well-developed and realistic. The series has been praised for its attention to detail and its accurate portrayal of police work.

The Matthew Hope Series

Matthew Hope Mysteries

The Matthew Hope series features a small-town Florida lawyer who becomes involved in a variety of engaging mysteries. The series is set in Calusa, a fictional town in Florida, and follows Matthew Hope as he solves crimes and navigates small-town politics. The series is known for its cozy and charming atmosphere and its well-drawn characters.

The Matthew Hope series is perfect for readers who enjoy cozy mysteries. Hunter’s writing style is warm and inviting, and his characters are relatable and likable. The series has been praised for its attention to detail and its accurate portrayal of small-town life.

Standalone Mystery Novels

The McBain Brief: Stories

In addition to his series, Hunter has written numerous standalone mystery novels that are perfect for a quick read. Some of his best include “Fuzz,” which was turned into a film starring Burt Reynolds, and “The McBain Brief.” These novels are perfect for readers who want to enjoy a complete story in one sitting.

Overall, Evan Hunter was a talented and prolific author whose works continue to be enjoyed by readers today. Whether you’re a fan of his series or his standalone novels, his writing is sure to captivate and entertain you.

Exploring Evan Hunter’s Literary Fiction

Evan Hunter, also known as Ed McBain, was a prolific writer who wrote in various genres, including mystery, crime, and literary fiction. Although he is widely known for his mystery novels, he was also a master of literary fiction. His notable works include “A Matter of Conviction,” which explores a lawyer’s crisis of conscience when he discovers that his client may be innocent of a crime, and “Mothers and Daughters,” which examines the complex relationships between women in a small town.

“A Matter of Conviction”

A Matter of Conviction

In “A Matter of Conviction,” Hunter delves deep into the moral dilemma faced by the protagonist, a lawyer, who questions the guilt of his client. The novel is a powerful exploration of the legal system and the ethical responsibilities of lawyers.

“Mothers and Daughters”

Mothers and Daughters: A Novel

Mothers and Daughters” is a poignant tale of the intricate and complicated relationships between women in a small town. Hunter portrays the joys and sorrows of motherhood, the conflicts between mothers and daughters, and the bonds that tie them together.

The Blackboard Jungle

The Blackboard Jungle: A Novel

The Blackboard Jungle is Hunter’s most famous literary work. The novel explores issues of race and class in an inner-city high school, and remains a powerful and thought-provoking read today. The story follows the experiences of a new teacher, Richard Dadier, as he struggles to gain the respect of his students and maintain control in a chaotic and violent environment.

Set in the 1950s, The Blackboard Jungle is a searing indictment of the American education system and the social problems that plagued inner-city schools. Hunter’s vivid descriptions of the students, their backgrounds, and their struggles make the novel a compelling and realistic portrayal of urban life.

The novel also deals with the issues of juvenile delinquency, racism, and violence. Hunter’s portrayal of the students and their behavior is both sympathetic and critical, as he explores the complex social and psychological factors that contribute to their behavior.

The Blackboard Jungle was adapted into a successful film in 1955, starring Glenn Ford and Sidney Poitier. The film was groundbreaking in its portrayal of urban violence and the challenges faced by inner-city teachers.

In conclusion, Evan Hunter’s literary fiction is a testament to his versatility and skill as a writer. His works continue to captivate readers with their powerful themes, vivid characters, and insightful commentary on society.

Evan Hunter’s Foray into Screenwriting

In addition to his work in literature, Hunter achieved great success as a screenwriter, writing for both film and television. Let’s take a closer look at some of his most notable contributions to the world of screenwriting.

The Birds: A Hitchcock Classic

Hunter wrote the screenplay for “The Birds,” one of Alfred Hitchcock’s most famous films. The 1963 horror movie stars Tippi Hedren and Rod Taylor as they face off against a terrifying bird attack in a California town.

Interestingly, the idea for the film came from a short story by Daphne du Maurier. However, Hunter took the basic premise and expanded it into a full-length screenplay that would become a classic in its own right.

The film’s iconic scenes, such as the birds gathering on the playground equipment and the attack on the Brenner house, were all brought to life through Hunter’s vivid descriptions and attention to detail.

Fuzz: Bringing the 87th Precinct to the Big Screen

Fuzz (87th Precinct Mysteries)

Hunter wrote the screenplay for the film adaptation of his 87th Precinct series, “Fuzz.” The 1972 movie starred Burt Reynolds and Raquel Welch.

The 87th Precinct series was a collection of police procedural novels set in a fictional city based on New York. The books were known for their gritty realism and attention to detail, and Hunter’s screenplay for “Fuzz” captured that same spirit.

The film was praised for its realistic portrayal of police work and its strong performances from the cast, including Reynolds and Welch.

Other Screenwriting Contributions

In addition to “The Birds” and “Fuzz,” Hunter also wrote screenplays for TV shows such as “Columbo,” “Ellery Queen,” and “The Alfred Hitchcock Hour.”

His work on these shows helped to shape the landscape of television in the 1960s and 70s, and his contributions to the mystery genre continue to be felt today.

As you can see, Evan Hunter was an incredibly talented writer who left behind an impressive body of work across various genres. Whether you’re a mystery fan or simply enjoy great literature, there’s something for everyone in his books and screenplays, making him a must-read and must-watch for any serious reader or film buff.


Who is Evan Hunter?

Evan Hunter was one of the pen names used by American author, Salvatore Albert Lombino. Hunter also published work under the name Ed McBain, the name that would hold the success of his 87th Precinct novels.

What is Evan Hunter famous for?

He wrote many works during his time including The Blackboard Jungle, On the Sidewalk, Cop Hater, and King’s Ransom.

When did Evan Hunter write?

The main bulk of his success came in the 1950s. However, he kept publishing work until the late 1970s and retired before passing away in 2005.

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