Corinne Marie "Corrie" Swanson is a Special Agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Corrie first appeared in Still Life with Crows and was the featured protagonist in the Pendergast novel White Fire and the Nora Kelly series.
Corrie is described as being average height and petite, with light skin and blonde hair dyed a severe black. As a teenager, she was recognizable by her bright purple hair and goth style of dress. As she began her college years, she dyed her hair black, limiting the color to a series of purple and yellow streaks, before reluctantly abandoning her goth stylings completely by her third year.
She has at least two tattoos: a mobius strip on the back of her neck, and an M.C.Escher design on her upper arm. She is also missing her left pinky finger.
Corrie Swanson grew up in Medicine Creek, Kansas, the only child of Jack and Duette Swanson. Her parents divorced when she was young, and Corrie was left to live with her mother, a chain-smoking alcoholic cocktail waitress who insisted that Corrie's father was a worthless deadbeat and a womanizer who couldn't keep a job. Despite her mother's claims, Corrie's memories of her father were happy ones, yet she still spent the greater part of her young life feeling abandoned by him. She became known as the town troublemaker, her hotheaded temperament and rebellious nature landing her often at odds with Dent Hazen, the local sheriff.
At the age of 18, Corrie found herself in the middle of the events of Still Life with Crows, joining Special Agent Pendergast in the investigation of a series of bizarre murders in her hometown. Pendergast, recognizing that Corrie was wasting away in Medicine Creek, later established a $25,000 educational trust in her name and arranged for her to spend her senior year at Phillips Exeter Academy, a private boarding school in New Hampshire.
At Pendergast's behest following her escape from a Covenant safe house in Cold Vengeance, Corrie reunited with her father during the events of Two Graves. Finding him missing from his Pennsylvania home, she tracked him to his old fishing cabin in rural western New Jersey. where he was hiding out after being framed for a bank robbery. Together, they cleared Jack's name while uncovering a financing scam run by the man who framed him.
During her junior year at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, while researching her thesis in the ski resort town of Roaring Fork, Colorado, Corrie again teamed up with Special Agent Pendergast to stop a homicidal arsonist and unearth the town's dark past in the events of White Fire. The resulting thesis went on to win John Jay's Rosewell Prize, the first in the history of the school to be won by a junior. Pendergast himself attended the award ceremony.
She remained in New York after graduating from John Jay, spending a year as an assistant probation officer in the Hudson Valley before finally entering the FBI Academy at Quantico. She was sworn in as a Special Agent five months later, with Jack looking on proudly.
Corrie's FBI career began in the Albuquerque, New Mexico, field office, working cold cases to begin her two-year probationary period. Her first active investigation introduced her to archaeologist Nora Kelly as the events of Old Bones unfolded.
A few months later, when an investigation into a sheriff-involved shooting on federal land turned up human remains in an old ghost town, Corrie again called on Nora's services to unearth the decades-old body, setting off the events of The Scorpion's Tail.
- Corrie's full first name was initially spelled "Corinne" in Cold Vengeance. When she reappeared in White Fire, it was spelled "Corrine." Rather than settle the tie, Old Bones instead used both spellings throughout the story. The Scorpion's Tail returned to the original "Corinne" spelling.