James Swain

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James Swain
Born June 7, 1956
Occupation Writer
Nationality USA
Genre Crime novels, Mystery novels
Spouse Laura

James Swain (born June 7, 1956) is an American crime fiction author and magician.

Swain has written at more than fifteen fiction and non-fiction books. Many have been translated into twelve languages.[1] He has used two main characters in most of his crime related and mystery books. These are Tony Valentine, a private eye and Jack Carpenter, an ex-cop turned child rescuer. Swain is lesser known for his "Magic" non-fiction books which are self-published. Swain's recent books have been declared "Mysteries of the Year" by Publishers Weekly and Kirkus Reviews.

He has received two nominations for the Barry Award. In 2006, he was awarded the Prix Calibre 38 for best American Crime Fiction for his Tony Valentine series. He has received an award for his fiction from "Florida Book."[2][3]

The "Tony Valentine" rights were purchased in 2009 by Langley Films for theatrical purposes.[1] An agreement allows Swain to write the first screenplay adaptation.[3][4]

Swain was researching a story about poker hustling for Men's Journal in 2009 and the team of hustlers he found agreed to let him write a series of novels based on their experiences after a five-year delay, leading to the "Billy Cunningham" series.[5]


Jim Swain lives in Odessa, Florida with his wife, Laura. One of his hobbies is gambling and gambling scams. Another is magic, because he once worked as a magician.[4][6]


Swain has created two ex-police characters that have run in a series of mystery and crime related novels. The Tony Valentine character seem to face daily some type of cheater or scammer that involves gambling. The second character, Jack Carpenter, faces the dirtier side of life involving child abduction.[4]


Swain uses four basic acts in most of his novels. His older book series run from the low 300 to the low 400 pages while the newer series run at 400 pages. His beat format for the older series is consistent with older crime novels. His recent series seem to use a 15 beat format that is consistent with current standards.



Billy Cunningham series

Billy Cunningham is a cheater from Providence, Rhode Island who moved to Las Vegas and recruits his own team of cheaters to scam casinos. He's unusually moral for a conman and frequently refers to the "cheaters code" about helping other cheaters.

Tony Valentine series

The character Tony Valentine is a retired cop from New Jersey and more importantly from the beat of the casinos in Atlantic City. After settling in Florida he is lured to Las Vegas and makes an impact with his consultant skills against casino cheaters.

Jack Carpenter series

Jack Carpenter is an ex-cop from South Florida who was terminated because of using excessive force to a criminal. He turns to private eye work with a soft touch for children.


  • Don't Blink: The Magic of James Swain, 1992, spiral-bound, self-published by J. Swain, ASIN B0006QRWUO
  • Miracles with Cards, 1996 spiral-bound, 2010 hardback, self-published by J. Swain, ASIN B0032ZXEB2
  • 21st Century Card Magic, 1999 spiral-bound, 2010 hardback, self-published by J. Swain, ASIN B0032ZZ2MG


  1. ^ a b Murder by the book, accessed November 15, 2012.
  2. ^ Fantastic Fiction, accessed April 13, 2010.
  3. ^ a b Amazon author Biography and Bibliography, accessed April 13, 2010.
  4. ^ a b c Swain, James Author's web site, accessed April 13, 2010.
  5. ^ "About James Swain". James Swain. Retrieved November 17, 2016. 
  6. ^ Card Cheaters.com, part of Gambling Incorporated, accessed November 15, 2012

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