, after 26 years in police work, retired and started writing crime fiction. His stories also tell the story of life in rural parts of the USA. Through the end of 2009 he has published:
- Eleven Days (his first novel, 1998)
- Known Dead (1999)
- Big Thaw (2000)
- Code 61 (2002)
- A Long December (2003)
Set in Iowa, these stories have a ring of authenticity and plausibility that is lacking from some "police" novels and TV programs.
Apart from five years in Los Angeles in the 1960s, he has lived in Elkader, population 1,465 (2000 census). He married his high school sweetheart, raised a daughter, and celebrated his 40th wedding anniversary before this article was written in 2010.
His novels have appeared in nine languages.
In a 2002 interview, he said that he has always been fascinated by the people mixed up in matters that come to the attention of the police, and as a novelist he is looking at how chains of bad choices lead to outcomes.