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By James O. Born

Putnam Publishing, 2004 ($23.95)
ISBN: 0399151699

Reviewed by Rick McMahan

James O. Bornís day job is a Special Agent for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and by night heís a burgeoning author with the publication of his first crime novel, WALKING MONEY. Born knows his stuff having been a US Marshal and a DEA Special Agent before working for FDLE, not to mention that he was the technical advisor for the ill-fated Karen Sisco TV series. It is interesting that Bornís book was blurbed by Elmore Leonard, because that was the author who I likened Bornís style to in WALKING MONEY. From quirky characters and crosses and double crosses and a fast-paced plot line, the book was similar to some of Leonardís work. Now, Iím not saying that Born copied Leonard, but the crime novel masterís influence on Born's writing is evident.

James O. Born paints vivid, and sometimes humorous, scenes and has very believable dialogue. In a nutshell hereís the plot of WALKING MONEY---a member of a scamming political/religious group has been stealing money from the coffers and plans to hotfoot it out of town. However, a crooked FBI agent has other plans and decides to steal the loot for himself. The dirty FBI agent decides to frame a member of his robbery task force for the crime to divert suspicion from himself. The fall-guy is our hero, FDLE agent Bill Tasker. Of course, Tasker has to try and clear his name, but in the meantime everyone who discovers the missing money tries to get a cut for themselves. After all, everyone needs a little "walking money."

My favorite scene still has to be the opening sequence of a stakeout and attempted robbery of a convenience store. When you read the scene, some people may say, "that could never happen," but for those of us in law enforcement, we know that just as often it can be a comedy routine in real-life.

WALKING MONEY is scheduled for release in paperback from Berkley Books in April 2005. It may be pre-ordered now.

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