There's quite a mixture here. A summer camp story, a suburban despair story, a crime story, a science fiction story, and others. All of them well done, because Hunter was a storyteller above all. Now, if he's not forgotten, he's well on the way to being forgotten, and most of his books are out of print. I don't know why that bothers me, but it does. If you'd like to take a look at the different kinds of things he could do, this little book wouldn't be a bad place to start.
Friday, August 12, 2011
Forgotten Books: Happy New Year, Herbie & Other Stories -- Evan Hunter
It's a surprise to me to be writing (not for the first time) about something by Evan Hunter as a forgotten book. When I was a youth, Hunter was a big name, what with Blackboard Jungle coming out in the middle '50s. He was the guy everybody was talking about. The movie and the book were both big sensations, but Hunter was a writing machine. After that success, he kept on turning out paperback originals as Richard Marsten and Ed McBain and Curt Cannon and Hunt Collins. We now know that a bit later he was also writing softcore porn as Dean Hudson. Hunter was the name he reserved for his more serious work, including some of his short stories. Like the ones in this book.