I grew up in New York City and Levittown, New York. In 1965 I graduated from The American University in Washington, D.C., with a Bachelor's Degree in Government. From 1965 to 1967, I was a Peace Corps volunteer in Liberia, West Africa. In 1970 I graduated from New York University School of Law. During my last two years in law school, I went at night and worked my way through by teaching junior high school in the South Bronx in New York City. My first job after law school was a clerkship with Herbert M. Schwab, the Chief Judge of the Oregon Court of Appeals. From 1972 until 1996, I was in private practice in Portland, Oregon, specializing in criminal defense at the trial and appellate levels. As an appellate attorney, I have appeared before the United States Supreme Court, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, the Oregon Supreme Court, and the Oregon Court of Appeals. As a trial attorney, I have handled all sorts of criminal cases in state and federal court, and I have represented approximately 30 people charged with homicide, including several who have faced the death penalty. I was the first Oregon attorney to use the Battered Women's Syndrome to defend a battered woman accused of murdering her spouse.
Since 1996, I have been writing full-time. All of my novels have been New York Times bestsellers. HEARTSTONE, my first novel, was nominated for an Edgar for best original paperback mystery of 1978 by the Mystery Writers of America. My second novel, THE LAST INNOCENT MAN, was made into an HBO movie. GONE, BUT NOT FORGOTTEN has been sold to more than 25 foreign publishers and debuted as a miniseries in 2004. AFTER DARK, THE BURNING MAN, THE UNDERTAKER'S WIDOW, WILD JUSTICE, THE ASSOCIATE, TIES THAT BIND, and SLEEPING BEAUTY were also New York Times bestsellers and selections, or main selections, of the major book clubs.
In addition to my novels, I have published short stories and nonfiction articles in magazines and law journals. My short story, "The Jailhouse Lawyer," was selected for the anthology THE BEST AMERICAN MYSTERY STORIES 1999.
Since 1996, I've been the President and Chairman of the Board of Chess for Success, a nonprofit charity that uses chess to teach study skills to elementary and middle school children in Title I schools.