An American writer of horror and suspense fiction, he is best known for his bestselling 1977 novel, Suffer the Children. His other works include the Blackstone Chronicles (1996-1997) and The Devil's Labyrinth (2007).
He attended Whittier High School in Whittier, California during the late 1950s. He studied anthropology and theater (among other subjects) at various colleges, but never received a degree.
His 1979 novel Cry for the Strangers was adapted into a film.
An openly gay man, he had a many-decades-long relationship with his partner. He spent most of his adult life in Washington and Hawaii.
He and Anne Rivers Siddons are both known for their popular horror novels.