Blauner started in journalism as an assistant to Pete Hamill, before reporting for the Newark Star-Ledger in New Jersey and the Norwich Bulletin in Connecticut.
From 1982 to 1991, Blauner wrote for New York magazine, covering crime, politics, and oddball city characters.
Blauner also was the author of a full-length issue of the magazine, "The Voices of New York," (April 11, 1988), which was an oral history of the city from 1968 to 1988. He interviewed more than 70 famous and infamous New Yorkers for the issue.
In 1988, at the height of the crack epidemic, Blauner took a leave of absence from his journalism job and spent six months as a volunteer probation officer. He used those experiences as research for his first novel Slow Motion Riot. It won the Edgar award, and named an "International Book of the Year" in the Times Literary Supplement by Patricia Highsmith.
Blauner then spent several years researching a novel about Atlantic City, New Jersey. Casino Moon was published in 1994.
For his next book, Blauner spent a year as a volunteer at a homeless shelter and visited the underground dwellings of "mole people" living beneath Manhattan's Riverside Park. The resulting novel The Intruder was a New York Times bestseller and a bestseller in England as well.
Man of the Hour appeared in 1999: a pre-9/11 suspense novel about Middle Eastern terrorism in New York, the hysteria of modern celebrity, and the public school system.
Blauner's next novel The Last Good Day, published in 2003 was a mystery story, set in the suburbs outside New York City in the immediate aftermath of 9/11. .
Slipping Into Darkness was published by Little Brown in 2006. It told the story of a young man who spends twenty years in prison for a crime that he may or may not have committed, and the detective who put him there.
In his book "On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft," Stephen King names two of Blauner's novels, The Intruder and The Last Good Day, on his recommended reading list.
In more recent years, Blauner has been writing for television. He has been on the writing staffs of three shows in the Law & Order franchise. He served as a co-executive producer of Law & Order: SVU, where he was the writer of the show's 300th episode, "Manhattan Vigil" and the Edgar-nominated co-writer of the episode "Legitimate Rape". More recently, he has been writing as a co-executive producer for the CBS show, "Blue Bloods." A new novel, "Proving Ground," is scheduled to be published by Minotaur/St. Martin's Press in 2017.1991 - Slow Motion Riot
1994 - Casino Moon
1996 - The Intruder
1999 - Man of the Hour
2003 - The Last Good Day
2006 - Slipping Into Darkness
2017 - Proving Ground
"Going, Going, Gone," The Best American Mystery Stories 2007. Selected Shorts from Symphony Space
"The Consultant," Wall Street Noir, 2007
"Thank God for Charlie," The Rich and The Dead, 2011
"The Chair," Kwik Krimes, 2013
"The Final Testament," Mysterious Press, 2013