He was born Louis Frederick Nebel on November 3, 1903. He dropped out of high school at age 15. He worked the docks and checked cars. He became a farmer and a sailor on a tramp steamer.
But by his early 20s, Louis Frederick Nebel and his blue-collar work ethic had turned to the typewriter, and he was churning out pulp stories with the regularity of an assembly-line.
Nebel wrote and wrote, and then he wrote some more. He became a charter member of the Black Mask school, the group of writers who worked for that magazine and championed the hardboiled detective noir style of the 1920s.
Not bad for a Staten Island kid who bounced around from job to job and place to place for the early part of his life.