James O. Born is a graduate of Florida State University and received a Master’s degree from the University of Southern Mississippi in Psychology.
Born started his career in police work as a US Drug Agent (DEA) and was part of the late 1980’s Miami drug war. He then moved on to become a Special Agent with the elite Florida Department of Law Enforcement, working undercover and spending eleven years on the agency’s Special Operation’s Team (also called SWAT).
Born has taken his career in law enforcement and love of writing and blended it into a new life as a novelist. After advising numerous writers, including Elmore Leonard, as well as TV shows on realism, Born spent years working on a novel of his own. Born was the official consultant on Elmore Leonard’s Karen Sisco, as well as a number of Discovery Channel shows. He has appeared as a commentator on several shows related to criminal investigations. In 2004, Putnam published his first novel, Walking Money. Of all the attention garnered by the novel, Born is most proud that one of his literary heroes, W.E.B. Griffin, picked Walking Money as one of his all-time favorite beach books. Walking Money was also a finalist for the Barry Award.
The darkly comic series continued with Escape Clause, which won the gold medal in the inaugural Florida Book Award in 2007. The award was presented to Born by Governor Charlie Crist.
In 2009, he won the Barry Award for short fiction at the International Mystery Writer’s Conference in Indianapolis.
Also in 2009, Born published the first of several thrillers set in the vastly changed landscape of Florida in the future under the pseudonym James O’Neal. The series features a police detective investigating crime and coping with the pressures of life more than twenty years from now. The first novel, titled The Human Disguise and the sequel, The Double Human received critical praise with Publisher’s Weekly calling them, “Wildly entertaining.”
Each novel strives to bring realism and entertainment together for fans of crime fiction.
In 2015, Born started as a cowriter with James Patterson. In addition to taking over the Michael Bennett series, Born has worked on a number of other Patterson books.
In 2018, Born travelled to Afghanistan to work on a PBS documentary on medical care. The documentary, Send Me, was well received and Born won an Emmy Award for the show.
Born has delivered talks to a number professional writing organizations as well as taught writing at conferences across the country. He has written articles for magazines and newspapers. He was chosen as one of Florida’s 21 most intriguing people by Florida Monthly Magazine.
Born has also received a proclamation from the Senate of South Carolina for his efforts to advance literacy.
Born has been involved with several TV projects. He has appeared on Fox News and CNN and was interviewed on camera for a Discovery ID show called A Crime to Remember.
During his law enforcement career, Born received the Law Enforcement Officer of the Year award from the US Attorney’s Office, the Silver Medal of Valor, The Distinguished Service Award and numerous awards for merit in investigations. In 2009, he received the Life Saving Medal directly from the Governor after rescuing a family from a SUV, which had plunged into a canal.
Born is active in a number of hobbies. He has finished the New York and London marathons, competed in swimming and holds two separate black belts in karate. He is a scuba diver, wind surfer, mountain biker and avid sailor.
A native Floridian, Born currently lives on the east coast with his wife, Donna and has two children, John and Emily.