James O. Born



James O. Born is a former U.S. Drug agent and State Law Enforcement agent. Each of his novels is based on some aspect of his career. His third novel, Escape Clause, won the inaugural Florida Book Award for Best Novel.

Born is a public speaker and occasional TV commentator.

Currently, Born is coauthoring novels with bestselling author James Patterson.

He continues to actively consult with other authors as well as movies and TV shows.


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 1990’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, John Sanford and Michael Connelly 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.”

In 2014, Born coauthored the popular Border War with TV commentator Lou Dobbs.  His current series is a realistic view of police k-9s.  The first novel in the series Scent of Murder, released in April of 2015, follows the pursuit of a serial kidnapper and showcases police service dogs.

Each novel strives to bring realism and entertainment together for fans of crime fiction.

In 2016, Born started as a cowriter with James Patterson.  The 2017 releases were both in the top five mystery books for sales.  There are more Patterson/Born books scheduled for later this year.


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 has 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.