The American author of Winter's Bone (2006), he is known for novels that are set in the Missouri Ozarks. His other works include Give Us a Kiss (1996) and Tomato Red (1998).
He joined the Marines and later studied at the famous Iowa Writers' Workshop.
He coined the phrase "country noir."
He grew up in Springfield, Missouri. He later married novelist Katie Estill.
His novel, Winter's Bone, was adapted into a film featuring Dale Dickey.