An American author of thriller novels, he is best known for his Bob Lee Swagger Series, which includes titles such as Point of Impact, Black Light, and Time to Hunt. Also an essayist and film critic, he received the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Criticism.
He graduated from Northwestern University with a degree in journalism. After a brief stint with the Pentagon News, he joined the staff of the Baltimore Sun in the early 1970s.
His non-fiction works include Violent Screen: A Critic's 13 Years on the Front Lines of Movie Mayhem (1995) and American Gunfight (2005).
He was born in Missouri and grew up in Illinois as the son of a children's book author and a speech professor. He married a fellow journalist.
His novel, Point of Impact, was adapted into the Mark Wahlberg film, Shooter.