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James Patterson

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Title: James Patterson  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Alex Cross (novel series), Maximum Ride, Hide and Seek (Patterson novel), 2006 in literature, 12th of Never (novel)
Collection: 1947 Births, 20Th-Century American Novelists, 20Th-Century American Writers, 21St-Century American Novelists, 21St-Century American Writers, American Advertising Executives, American Male Novelists, American Roman Catholics, American Thriller Writers, Edgar Award Winners, Living People, Male Guinness World Record Setters, Manhattan College Alumni, Novels by James Patterson, People from Briarcliff Manor, New York, People from Newburgh, New York, People from Palm Beach, Florida, Vanderbilt University Alumni, Writers from New York
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

James Patterson

James Patterson
Born James Brendan Patterson
(1947-03-22) March 22, 1947
Newburgh, New York, US
Nationality American
Alma mater Manhattan College
Vanderbilt University
Genre Romance, young-adult fiction, thriller, comedy, realistic fiction
Notable works The Alex Cross series, the Women's Murder Club series, the Maximum Ride series, the Michael Bennett series, and the Middle School series
Spouse Susan Patterson
Children Jack Patterson

James Brendan Patterson (born March 22, 1947) is an American author. He is largely known for his novels about fictional psychologist Alex Cross, the protagonist of the Alex Cross series. Patterson also wrote the Michael Bennett, Women's Murder Club, Maximum Ride, Daniel X, and Witch and Wizard series, as well as many stand-alone thrillers, non-fiction and romance novels. His books have sold more than 300 million copies[1] and he holds the Guinness World Record for being the first person to sell 1 million e-books.[2]


  • Early life 1
  • Career 2
  • Criticism 3
  • Personal life 4
  • Bibliography 5
  • Filmography 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8

Early life

Patterson was born on March 22, 1947 in Newburgh, New York, the son of Isabelle (Morris), a homemaker and teacher, and Charles Patterson, an insurance broker.[3][4] He graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in English from Manhattan College and summa cum laude with an M.A. in English from Vanderbilt University.[5]


Patterson was a Ph.D. candidate at Vanderbilt,[6] but acquired a job in advertising. He was an advertising executive at J. Walter Thompson.[5] After he retired from advertising in 1996,[7] he devoted his time to writing.[8] His greatest influence, he said later, was probably Evan S. Connell's 1959 debut novel Mrs. Bridge.[6] He published his first novel in 1976 called The Thomas Berryman Number. The novels featuring his character Alex Cross, a forensic psychologist formerly of the Washington D.C. Metropolitan Police and Federal Bureau of Investigation, who now works as a private psychologist and government consultant, are his most popular and the top-selling U.S. detective series in the past ten years. Patterson has written 147 novels since 1976.[9] He has had 114 New York Times bestselling novels,[10] and holds The New York Times record for most #1 "New York Times" bestsellers by a single author, a total of 67, which is also a Guinness World Record. His novels account for one in 17 of all hardcover novels sold in the United States; in recent years his novels have sold more copies than those of Stephen King, John Grisham and Dan Brown combined.[11] His books have sold approximately 305 million copies worldwide.[1]

Patterson's awards include the Edgar Award, the BCA Mystery Guild's Thriller of the Year, the International Thriller of the Year award,[10] and the Children's Choice Book Award for Author of the Year. He is the first author to have No. 1 new titles simultaneously on The New York Times adult and children's bestsellers lists, and to have two books on NovelTracker's top-ten list at the same time. He appeared on the Fox TV show The Simpsons (in the episode "Yokel Chords") and in various episodes of Castle as himself.

Patterson works with a variety of co-authors,[12] such as Maxine Paetro, Andrew Gross, Mark Sullivan, Ashwin Sanghi, Michael Ledwidge, and Peter De Jonge[13] and has often said that collaborating with others brings new and interesting ideas to his stories. Of his process, he says "he is simply more proficient at dreaming up plots than crafting sentence after sentence."[14]

In September 2009, Patterson signed a deal to write or co-write 11 books for adults and 6 for young adults by the end of 2012. Forbes reported the deal was worth at least $150 million, but according to Patterson the estimate was inaccurate.[15]

Patterson founded the James Patterson PageTurner Awards in 2005 to donate over $100,000 that year to people, companies, schools, and other institutions that find original and effective ways to spread the excitement of books and reading.[16] The PageTurner Awards were put on hold in 2008 to focus on Patterson's new initiative,, which helps parents, teachers, and librarians find the best books for their children. The social networking site for ReadKiddoRead is hosted by Ning. Patterson states that his own son, Jack, wasn't the best reader in the class. So, in Jack's 8th summer, Patterson said that Jack did not need to do chores, just read 1 hour a day. The first summer, he resisted, the second summer, he accepted it, and the third, Jack wanted to. Patterson wanted to give that opportunity to every child, so he started the ReadKiddoRead website, for parents who just can't seem to find any good books for their child. Patterson has also set up the James Patterson Teacher Education Scholarship in the schools of education at Appalachian State University,[17] Michigan State University,[18] and Florida Atlantic University.[19] Patterson also runs the College Book Bucks scholarship program.


Patterson has been criticized for co-authoring many of his books,[20] and for being more of a brand that focuses on making money than an artist who focuses on his craft.[21]

In an interview for USA Weekend, Stephen King referred to Patterson as "a terrible writer but he's very successful".[22] Patterson said of King in a Wall Street Journal interview, "he's taken shots at me for years. It's fine, but my approach is to do the opposite with him—to heap praise."[23]

Legal thriller writer Lisa Scottoline said in a review of Patterson's Kill Alex Cross, "They used to say that 50 million Elvis Presley fans couldn't be wrong, and James Patterson makes 50 million fans look like a good start. He has sold more than 230 million books, and his fans aren't wrong, either."[24]

Patterson drew varied reactions when he took out ads titled “Who Will Save Our Books? Our Bookstores? Our Libraries?" in Publishers Weekly and The New York Times Book Review, which employed the text, "If there are no bookstores, no libraries, no serious publishers with passionate, dedicated, idealistic editors, what will happen to our literature? Who will discover and mentor new writers? Who will publish our important books? What will happen if there are no more books like these?"[25] Patterson called the ads an attempt to "stir the pot a little bit."[26] Digital Book World called the ads, "refreshing, really. And brave."[27] Maureen Sullivan, president of the American Library Association, told the Tampa Bay Times she was in the process of writing James Patterson a thank-you letter.[28]

Personal life

Patterson is Roman Catholic.[29] He and his wife Susan currently live in Palm Beach, Florida. They have a son, Jack, born in 1998.[30]



Title Year Film / TV Extra Information
Child of Darkness, Child of Light 1991 TV Child of Darkness, Child of Light was adapted from the novel Cradle & All.
Kiss the Girls 1997 Film Forensic detective/author Alex Cross investigates the disappearance of his niece from her North Carolina campus, and learns seven other women are also missing.[31]
Miracle on the 17th Green 1999 TV A 50-year-old adman (Robert Urich) loses his job. Rather than facing trying to find a new job, he decides to try to make it on the senior golf tour. This causes him to neglect his wife (Meredith Baxter), who dies, and his family.
Along Came a Spider 2001 Film After a botched sting operation in which his partner dies, Washington, D.C. homicide detective Alex Cross is through playing mind games with criminals—that is, until a methodical predator, Gary Soneji, kidnaps the young daughter of a United States senator from an elite school and lures Cross into the case. Soneji's not out for ransom, he wants something much bigger—a place in the history books. His every move is planned with the precision of a spider spinning his web. Cross and secret service agent Jezzie Flannigan are in a race against time to stop him.[32]
1st to Die 2003 TV Based on James Patterson's bestseller, this three-hour thriller is about a homicide inspector—Lindsay Boxer (Tracy Pollan) – who teams with three other professional women to catch an ingenious serial killer targeting newlyweds on their wedding nights. But while Boxer is trying to solve the biggest case of her career, she is also falling in love with her partner (Gil Bellows) – and privately waging her own battle with a life-threatening illness.
Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas 2005 TV
Women's Murder Club 2007 TV Based on James Patterson's Women's Murder Club series, this TV series revolved around San Francisco homicide Inspector Lindsay Boxer (Angie Harmon) and her three friends: Assistant District Attorney Jill Bernhardt, Medical Examiner Claire Washburn, and reporter Cindy Thomas.
James Patterson's Sundays at Tiffany's 2010 TV Alyssa Milano stars as a successful businesswoman who, as a young girl, would accompany her mother Vivian (Stockard Channing) to Tiffany's in New York every Sunday and bring along an imaginary friend, Michael. She is set to marry her handsome fiancé (Ivan Sergei), until her childhood imaginary friend (Eric Winter) reappears to warn her about the path her life is on. Initially shocked and in disbelief, she slowly realizes he may be her one true love.[33]
Alex Cross 2012 Film Based on the book Cross, this film was distributed by Summit Entertainment and directed by Rob Cohen. It stars Tyler Perry in the title role of Alex Cross, and was released on October 19, 2012.
Maximum Ride 2013 Film A planned movie based on the first book, Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment. It has been put on hold after the producers ran into trouble.
Zoo 2015 TV Drama series based on the 2012 novel of the same name by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge.
Middle School The Worst Years of My Life 2015 Film This children's series centers around lead character Rafe Khatchadorian's middle school years.[34]


  1. ^ a b
  2. ^ First author to sell more than 1 million e-books:
    On 6 July 2010, the Hachette Book Group announced that James Patterson (USA), creator of the Alex Cross and Women's Murder Club series of novels, was the first author to exceed one million sales in electronic books, moving 1.14 million units of his books for devices like Kindle and the iPad.
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ a b
  6. ^ a b
  7. ^
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  9. ^
  10. ^ a b
  11. ^ Jonathan Mahler, "James Patterson Inc." The New York Times, January 20, 2010
  12. ^
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  15. ^
  16. ^ James Patterson's Pageturner Awards
  17. ^
  18. ^
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  34. ^

External links

  • Official James Patterson US web site
  • Official James Patterson UK web site
  • James Patterson at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database
  • James Patterson at the Internet Book List
  • James Patterson at the Internet Movie Database
  • 2010 Time Magazine's 10 Questions for James Patterson
  • Works by or about James Patterson in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
  • Book Review: Private India
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