An American author of detective fiction, he is known for his series of novels featuring the character of Hoke Moseley. The first book in the series, Miami Blues, was published in 1984.
He joined the army and spent two years in the Philippines, where he worked as a fire truck driver and a cook.
He had a brief career as a professional boxer.
He married his third wife, Betsy Poller, in 1981.
His novel, Miami Blues, was made into a feature film starring Alec Baldwin.