Bill Crider was born in Mexia, Texas on July 28, 1941. He received a M.A. from the University of North Texas and a Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin. He taught English at Howard Payne University for twelve years and then became the chair of the division of English and fine arts at Alvin Community College. He retired in August 2002 to become a full-time writer.
He wrote several mystery series including the Truman Smith series, the Sheriff Dan Rhodes series, the Carl Burns series, the Sally Good series, and the Stanley Waters series, which he co-authored with Willard Scott. He also contributed to three books in the Stone: M.I.A. Hunter series under the pseudonym Jack Buchanan. His standalone novels included The Texas Capitol Murders and Blood Marks. He also wrote five children's books. Too Late to Die won an Anthony Award for best first mystery novel in 1986. He died from cancer on February 12, 2018 at the age of 76.