July 22, 1943|
Pontiac, Michigan, United States
Dexter was born in Pontiac, Michigan. His father died when Dexter was four; and he and his mother moved to Milledgeville, Georgia, where she married a college Physics professor. He earned his undergraduate degree in 1969 from the University of South Dakota, which awarded him an honorary Doctor of Letters and Literature in 2010.
Prior to that he worked for what is now The Palm Beach Post in West Palm Beach, Florida, but quit in 1972 because the paper's owners forced the editorial page editor to endorse Richard Nixon over George McGovern.
Pete Dexter began writing fiction after a life-changing 1981 incident in which a mob of locals armed with baseball bats beat him severely. The perpetrators were upset by a recent column about a murder involving drug deal-gone-wrong. The brother of the homicide victim was a bartender at a local bar in the Schuylkill neighborhood. Dexter went to the bar to talk to him after the family had called the newspaper to complain. Dexter was roughed up at that meeting and later returned with a friend heavyweight, prizefighter Randall "Tex" Cobb. In the ensuing fight outside the bar in the street, Cobb's arm was broken and Dexter was hospitalized with several injuries; including a broken back, pelvis, brain damage and dental devastation. Cobb's injuries cost him a shot at WBA heavyweight champion Mike Weaver., 
Paper Trails, published in 2007, is a compilation of columns he wrote for the Philadelphia Daily News and The Sacramento Bee from the 1970s to the 1990s.
- God's Pocket (1983) - adapted as the 2014 film God's Pocket
- Deadwood (1986) - influenced the film Wild Bill (1995 film)
- Paris Trout (1988) — winner of the National Book Award for Fiction
- Brotherly Love (1991)
- The Paperboy (1995) — 1996 Literary Award, PEN Center USA
- Train (2003)
- Spooner (2009)
- Paper Trails (2007)
- NPR Weekend Edition. - February 10, 2007. - "Pete Dexter, Writing 'True Stories'"
- Harper Collins. - Pete Dexter
- Seattle Post-Intelligencer, seattlepi.com. - "P-I Writers in Residence for 2007"
- "National Book Awards – 1988". National Book Foundation. Retrieved 2012-03-27.
- Rosenberg, Amy S. (April 10, 2007). - "Journey BACK". - The Philadelphia Inquirer.
- Bolle, Sonja (July 24, 1988). "Pete Dexter". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 20, 2013.
- a "How does a Sacramento Bee columnist come to write a novel..." — ¶ 1.
- b "He likes Sacramento, where his boss is an old friend from Florida." — ¶ 7.
- Eyman, Scott (November 23, 2003). - "The Return of the No-Nonsense Writer". - The Palm Beach Post.
- Hiltbrand, David (November 4, 2003). - "A Return to His Old Stomping Grounds". - The Philadelphia Inquirer.