James Patterson is a popular American author that has written hundreds of books that cross several different genres.
He published his first novel in 1976 but didn’t become a full-time writer until 1996 when he retired from a career in advertising.
He has written young adult fiction, sci-fi, children’s books, and comedies, but his most successful books are in the mystery and thriller genres.
Patterson has sold over 400 million books during his career and many of his novels have been adapted into movies and TV shows.
He holds the record for the most number ones on the New York Times Bestsellers list and has won numerous awards, such as the Edgar Award, Literarian Award, and even the Children’s Choice Book Award for Author of the Year.
His most popular works are Along Came a Spider and Kiss the Girls, which are both a part of the bestselling Alex Cross series. Other popular titles include Zoo, 1st to Die, and The Beach House.
If you love James Patterson’s Alex Cross series, then you’ll love the works of similar authors Lee Child, Michael Connelly, and Patricia Cornwell. Read more to find out which books you need to check out.
Books By James Patterson
James Patterson’s bibliography is a mix of series and standalone novels and it would be impossible to cover every single novel in this article.
Instead, I will pick my favorites and his most successful works. His most popular series is the Alex Cross series which is a mystery and thriller series about Metropolitan Police Department detective Alex Cross.
The series began in 1993 with the publication of Along Came a Spider and was followed by Kiss the Girls in 1995. Additional books in the series have been released on an almost yearly basis since, with the 30th book, Triple Cross, being released in 2022.
All of the books feature Detective Cross trying to solve a difficult case, often involving murder, while also balancing his life as a father and a widower.
Another popular series from Patterson is the Women’s Murder Club. Unlike the Alex Cross series, this series features a number of lead characters that work together to solve crimes while also dealing with their own personal issues.
1st to Die was released in 2001 and the novels all follow the convention of having a number in their title to show their position in the series. 2nd Chance was released in 2002, with 3rd Degree following in 2004.
A new book in the series is released almost annually with 22 Seconds coming out in 2022.
Many of these books have been co-authored by Patterson with either Andrew Gross or Maxine Paetro.
Of Patterson’s standalone novels, my favorites include Hide and Seek. Released in 1997, the book focuses on Maggie Bradford who is on trial for the murder of her husband.
Another favorite is 2008’s Sunday at Tiffany’s, a romance novel about a girl and her imaginary friend.
Patterson has written some of the best and most immersive crime fiction novels of the last few decades and is a must for anyone that likes modern mysteries.
Authors Like James Patterson
Let’s now look at some authors that are like James Patterson.
British author Lee Child is a must-read for anyone that enjoys Patterson’s crime series such as Alex Cross.
His most well-known works are the Jack Reacher series which has been immortalized as both Hollywood movies starring Tom Cruise and an Amazon Prime TV series.
I highly recommend that you read the Jack Reacher series in order which means starting with Killing Floor. Jack Reacher is ex-military and since leaving the service he’s been drifting through life.
After being in Margrave, Georgia for only an hour he’s arrested for murder and has to clear his name. The second book, Die Trying, sees Reacher dragged into a kidnapping.
The Jack Reacher series is still ongoing and the most recent novel released is 2023’s No Plan B.
The entire series is full of thrills and action and is sure to appeal to anyone who loves Alex Cross. The books share common themes of justice, betrayal, and revenge.
- Engaging and thrilling style of writing
- Well-developed lead character
- Well-researched and plotted books
- Books can become formulaic as the series progresses
Themes: Revenge, expertise, humor, justice
American author Michael Connelly has written a large number of short stories but his most popular works are the full-length novels in his Harry Bosch series.
Hieronymus “Harry” Bosch is a homicide detective for the Los Angeles Police Department and the books are crime procedurals.
They also inspired a TV show named Bosch and a spinoff called Bosch: Legacy.
Bosch made his debut in the 1992 novel The Black Echo. Each novel has its own self-contained mystery and case that Bosch needs to solve and sees the detective having to balance getting results without overstepping the law.
This theme becomes evident as early as the second book, The Black Ice.
If you’re interested in a crime series that comes from a different angle, then Connelly’s Lincoln Lawyer series is a good choice.
Instead of being led by a detective, the lead character in these books is Mickey Haller, a criminal defense attorney that has his office in the backseat of his Lincoln car.
The first book in this series is The Lincoln Lawyer and the series is just as focused on truth and justice as any of Patterson’s books are. The Lincoln Lawyer has also been made into a TV series by Netflix.
- Full of suspense and draws the reader in
- Connelly writes the lives of detectives and lawyers very well to give distinct stories
- Lead characters are well-developed and easy to like and relate to
- Supporting characters aren’t as fleshed out as the leads
Themes: Justice, truth, crime, punishment
American author Patricia Cornwell is the best-selling author of the Kay Scarpetta series of novels.
She has also written several other crime novels, including some non-fiction novels investigating the identity of Jack the Ripper, such as Portrait of a Killer: Jack the Ripper – Case Closed (2002)
The Kay Scarpetta series began with the 1990 novel Postmortem. The lead character is Dr. Kay Scarpetta, the Chief Medical Examiner for the state of Virginia.
It is Kay’s job to investigate crime scenes and help the police with their investigations and she soon finds herself pulled into some of the most difficult cases.
At the same time, she has to deal with a series of important and tragic events in her private life.
It is best to read these novels in order as there are several plot points that carry from one novel to the next. Scarpetta moves around the United States because of various events in her life.
For example, Blow Fly (2003) sees her in Florida as a private forensic consultant and it is only in Autopsy (2021) that she returns to Virginia. The different locations add something new to the series and keep it fresh.
- Changing of setting keeps the series fresh
- Scarpetta’s private life is as thrilling as the series and influences the plot
- The medical science and forensic details are very well-researched
- Some stories rely on the supporting characters too much instead of Scarpetta
Themes: Truth, justice, family, betrayal, revenge
In this article, I introduced the successful author James Patterson.
Patterson has a lengthy bibliography that covers a wide range of different genres and styles but his most popular novels are his crime mystery novels and especially those in his Alex Cross series.
However, if crime and mystery aren’t for you, then you will be able to find sci-fi, romance, YA, or even children’s novels in his bibliography.
I then introduced the best 3 authors that are similar to James Patterson, such as Lee Child, Michael Connelly, and Patricia Cornwell.
These authors have largely written crime and mystery novels as well and are sure to be enjoyed by any readers that love James Patterson.
Frequently Asked Questions
Finally, I’ll answer some commonly asked questions about James Patterson.
What Are The Main Themes In James Patterson’s Books?
There are many themes throughout the Alex Cross series. The main ones are change, violence, justice, truth, and betrayal.
How Many Books Has James Patterson Written?
James Patterson is one of the most prolific writers of the modern era. If you include all of his novels, novellas, short stories, and co-authored works, he has written well over 300 books.
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