An American mystery writer, he is especially known for his novels featuring forensic anthropologist Gideon Oliver, "The Skeleton Detective." His novel, Old Bones, received the 1988 Edgar Award.
Prior to becoming a writer, he had a career as a government employee and business, anthropology, and psychology consultant.
He started his first novel at the age of forty-four.
He was born in New York City. He and his wife Charlotte had two children together.
He received the 1988 Edgar Award, which is named after Edgar Allan Poe.