Wednesday, July 06, 2005
Evan Hunter, R.I.P.
Confessions of an Idiosyncratic Mind: "The man beloved to millions of crime fiction fans under his real name and as Ed McBain passed away this afternoon after a longrunning battle with cancer. He was 79. More information will be available later, but suffice to say, he will be missed by many, many people."
When I read this on Sarah Weinman's blog, my jaw dropped. I can't begin to imagine a world without Evan Hunter in it. I've been reading his books before I even started reading crime fiction, the first one being a Winston SF novel called FIND THE FEATHERED SERPENT when I was just a tyke. I loved that book. A few years later I picked up THE BLACKBOARD JUNGLE, which I read about the time the movie came out. I thought it was a great novel, and I still have that same copy, though it's been re-read so many times that it's in tatters. I later read many of his "mainstream" books, like STRANGERS WHEN WE MEET, mainly because of the movies made from them. What really got me started on him, though, was the 87th Precinct books that he wrote as Ed McBain. Man, I loved those early books in that series. As anyone who reads my Sheriff Dan Rhodes novels is aware, I work in a tribute to McBain every chance I get. He ever wrote me a letter about it once, which was a huge thrill for me. The news that he's gone hit me hard. I've been reading his novels for more than fifty years, and I guess I just thought he'd always be around.