James O. Born


Burn Zone

It was supposed to be a low-level bust for ATF agent Alex Duarte, with the hope that he could work it up the ladder to someone important. He just didn’t know how important. In New Orleans to check out a mysterious Panamanian named Ortiz who likes to trade guns illegally and import marijuana by the truckload, Duarte suddenly finds himself in the middle of something bigger than he has ever known. Because guns and drugs are bad enough – but there are other things that are much, much worse.

A shadowy colonel who is not what he seems…a white supremacist intent on becoming “the man who changed America”…an attractive FBI agent with a lot of pull and a lot of secrets…Duarte knows he’s in deep with these characters. He just hopes it’s not over his head.

Field of Fire jumps Born into the ranks of the major thriller writers,” says W.E.B. Griffin. “Burn Zone confirms it.”

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Field of Fire

Wes Lukowsky, Booklist, January 1, 2007

A bombing in a Florida migrant-labor camp kills a child,. and ATF agent Alex Duarte is assigned the case. The Justice Department links the incident to a series of union-related bombings across the country and assigns a DOJ lawyer to work with Duarte. The intended bomb target is petty criminal Alberto Salez, whom Duarte catches then loses. The chase is on. Diffusing Duarte’s inherent laser focus is the bomber, who still wants Salez dead, and the DOJ lawyer, who seems to know more about the case than she’s letting on.

Born, a law-enforcement professional, shifts narrative points of view among all the major characters and also tinkers with chronology to keep readers on their toes. Born dedicates his fourth novel to Elmore Leonard, whose influence is evident. Leonard’s best books (think City Primeval, 1980) have been urban noir with flawed, hard-bark protagonists consumed by the pursuit. Duarte would fit right in. Born has talent and momentum; don’t be surprised if, soon enough, he has his own, Leonard-like breakthrough.

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Escape Clause

Filled with “top thrillwork” (Kirkus Reviews), “characters so believable they seem plucked from the South Florida streets” (Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel), “and some good laughs, too” (The Miami Herald), James O. Born’s Shock Wave won even more praise than his acclaimed debut, Walking Money.

And his new novel is better yet.

FDLE agent Bill Tasker’s boss is worried about the stress Tasker’s been under, but he has a solution. The governor wants somebody from the outside to take a look into an inmate homicide at Manatee Correctional Prison, and the boss figures he can do the state a favor and give Tasker a break at the same time. Some break. Turns out there’s a whole lot going on at Manatee. The prison captain likes to enforce discipline by fairly unorthodox methods. The psych ward has been known to misplace a mental patient occasionally. A trustee named Luther has far more on his mind than working in the prison library—though the rods holding up the shelves do make very nice shivs. The prison inspector is carrying a number of very uninspector-like secrets. And something very bad is about to happen to Tasker’s next-door neighbor.

Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea, after all.

Escape Clause is the third volume in the Bill Tasker series.

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Shock Wave

Florida lawman Born follows one of the most highly-praised crime debuts of the year with a literally explosive novel of hunter and hunted.

FDLE agent Bill Tasker is still smarting from a run-in with the FBI that almost got him killed when he reluctantly teams up with them again on a case involving a stolen Stinger missile. The op goes smoothly enough (though the feds take all the credit; what else is new?), but something about the whole set-up just doesn’t feel right to him.

He pokes around a bit and stirs up more trouble than a nest of rattlesnakes: with his boss, with the FBI, with the ATF, and worst of all, with a certain gentleman who loves to see things blow up…bigger and bigger things, as it turns out.

He hasn’t killed anybody yet, but if this FDLE agent keeps interfering – well, there’s always a first time, isn’t there?

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Walking Money

Jim Born is the real thing: a South Florida lawman with an authentic sound that puts you at the scene. Walking Money is a winner. 

For over seventeen years with the U.S. Marshal’s Service, DEA and Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Jim Born has seen just about everything Florida crime and criminals can throw at him, and he’s put it all into as entertaining and accomplished a first thriller as you’ll find anywhere this year.

State cop Bill Tasker has had problems in the past, but nothing compared to what’s about to happen to him. A satchel with a million and a half in skimmed money is about to go walking. A phony community activist has decided to cash in, but a local FBI agent also has his eyes on the prize, a key witness gets murdered, and it’s Tasker who ends up framed for the whole thing. Soon, other people become seduced by the cash as well, and as the satchel passes from hand to hand and the body count mounts, Tasker realizes it’s all up to him. If he doesn’t retake his life right now .someone’s going to do it for him.

Filled with a rich array of characters, a constantly-twisting plot, and an authenticity so deep you can’t help wondering how much of this is actually true, Walking Money is indeed proof that “Jim Born is the real thing.”

James O. Born is a Special Agent Supervisor with the FDLE, where he is head of the Broward field office, and involved with a wide variety of crime investigations. He is also the technical consultant for the fall 2003 television series Karen Sisco . He lives in Lake Worth, Florida .

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