Corrine "Corrie" Swanson is a student at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and associate of Special Agent Pendergast. Corrie first appeared in Still Life with Crows and was the featured protagonist in the Pendergast novel White Fire.
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 one of her pinky fingers.
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.