Author James O. Born, fresh out of his "Facts About Firearms" panel, sat and spoke with me about some of the laughable things books, movies, and television do with guns. Born, who has been an officer with the FDLE for 25 years, said the example he likes to use is Tommy Lee Jones' character in The Fugitive, who stops to rack the slide of his pistol to put a round in the chamber. "He's basically a professional law enforcement officer carrying a boat anchor disguised as a gun," Born said. "In the real world he should've been fired on the spot."
Born's next novel, Scent of Murder, due on April 7th from Tor, features a K-9 protagonist. I asked the author, whose previous novels--Walking Money, Shock Wave and Escape Clause—feature rugged cop Bill Tasker, what inspired the shift. Born said that the idea is based on a drug case he had at the Palm Beach International Airport 20 years ago. He was in a foot chase with a suspect when a Palm Beach sheriff's deputy, who was not involved in the case, screamed for everyone to stop because he was releasing his dog. Knowing the dog couldn't discern him from the bad guy, Born stopped his pursuit. When the dog caught up with the suspect, Born said he could feel the impact from a distance. He thought the suspect might have been killed by the impact.
While working with K-9 units for research Born had the brilliant idea to have the dog bite his padded groin. One bite on his hand—through heavy padding—made him rethink that decision.
I asked Born how he balances his work with the FDLE and writing, and if his work ever crossed over into his novels. "It does afford me an opportunity no other writer has," he said. "I can go to any police unit and ask how things work and receive full cooperation."
Scent of Murder is rather tame compared to his Bill Tasker series, Born said. While it is a police procedural like the Tasker novels, it's light on the brutality of novels such as Walking Money, which Born says his children, as old as 25, are still not allowed to read.
On April 23 Born will be appearing at the West Boynton library as part of the Palm Beach County Library system's Writers Live series. He will also appear at Murder on the Beach in Delray on a date yet to be determined.