James O. Born
James O. Born
James O. Born is a
Special Agent with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement
(FDLE). He has been involved in investigations in such areas as
organized crime, violent crimes, economic crimes, drug cartels, and
Before working with the FDLE, Born joined the U.S. Marshals service
in early 1986 as a deputy marshal, assigned to the Miami and West
Palm Beach offices. One year later, he transferred to the Drug
Enforcement Administration. In four years with DEA, he was assigned
to the West Palm Beach field office, and traveled within the United
States and Panama. He spent a great deal of time in Miami during
the height of the drug wars. His investigations at DEA generally
focused on cocaine smuggling from Colombia. In addition, he worked
undercover in a number of situations, in one case volunteering to
assist the ATF as an undercover agent in the Ku Klux Klan during an
On long surveillances when he had several hours of down time, Born
would often read novels. Being in law enforcement, he enjoyed
reading about the military and, at this time, began reading books
by Tom Clancy and W.E.B. Griffin.
About this same time he met Elmore Leonard and started providing
technical advice on issues such as police tactics and firearms.
After a while he thought he might like to try and write his own
stories. Many of his story ideas came while sitting on surveillance
late at night with nothing to do and no one to talk with.
Drug cases tended to all have similar characteristics with few
twists. In comparison, it wasn't until Born started working as a
Special Agent with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement -
working on everything from serial robberies to complex fraud cases
- that he realized how every type of investigation has its own
physics. Each type of case is driven by a different kind of crook
and often a different kind of cop. Someone who is a good narcotics
detective may not be able to work a homicide.
The more Born read, the more he realized that many people's view of
police work, including some police officers, came from TV shows and
novels. It seemed like people wanted cops to be bigger than life or
fit a certain mold. Born felt compelled from the beginning to
capture the real life element of police work. From the endless
stream of practical jokes and verbal sparring to the surprise and
fear a cop can feel when he has to risk his life.
It has now been fourteen years since Born started writing, and
ironically, he has the same editor as W.E.B. Griffin and Tom Clancy
- the very authors he spent his time reading during those long
surveillances years ago.
Born currently lives in suburban Palm Beach County with his wife
Donna, and two children, John and Emily.
James O. Born