An American mystery writer, he posted some novels concentrating on the type of Detective Michael Shayne. Composing under many pseudonyms, he also released western and love novels. He kept several odd careers, including farm hands, freighter deckhand, and California oilfield employee. He lost a watch inside a barbed wire incident when he was a son. He wedded Kathleen Rollins in 1940. He was the receiver of an Edgar award, an honor called after Edgar Allan Poe.