James Patterson

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Prolific American thriller writer, born 1947. He releases roughly ten books a month. Partly known for his really short chapters, which were designed to keep the plot moving. Patterson was originally a lesser-known, yet award-winning novelist until he decided to shorten the chapters and focus-test his books. Upon making those changes, he suddenly hit fame. He now has many co-writers churning out many of his books.

His main series of novels are:

  • Alex Cross - A detective in Washington DC. At least two novels, Along Came A Spider and Kiss the Girls have been adapted for the big screen.
  • Women's Murder Club - A detective, an ME, a DA and crime reporter. They Fight Crime. Was adapted as a TV series in 2007, it lasted one season.
  • Michael Bennett - A widowed detective in New York City. With ten kids.
  • Maximum Ride - A teen science-fiction series with human-avian hybrids.
  • Witch and Wizard - A teen fantasy series about fugitive magic users.
  • Daniel X - A teen science-fiction series about a teenage alien bounty hunter.

Other Works (incomplete):

  • Sail (2008) - a tale of black underwear, black deeds and a message in a bottle.
  • Swimsuit (2009)

Also played poker with a fictional crime writer.

Tropes used in James Patterson include:


  • Aerith and Bob: Cross is just way too badass a last name.
    • Samson is also pretty badass a name.
  • Amoral Attorney: (Sail, more extreme than the norm)
  • Best Served Cold:
  • Black Bra and Panties: (Sail)
  • Black Widow: (Nora Roberts, the antagonist of Honeymoon)
  • Blood Lust: Soneji in Cat and Mouse incorporates blood as a trademark.
  • The Butcher: The hitman antagonist of Cross.
  • The Cameo: Patterson himself, along with Stephen J. Cannell, appears in a couple episodes of Castle, playing poker with the titular crime writer.
  • Casanova: The villain of Kiss the Girls is actually named Casanova, a criminal who builds a modern day harem of kidnapped women.
  • Complete Monster: Every single villain he's ever written, but in particular are Gary Soneji, Cross's first nemesis, and The Mastermind aka Kyle Craig.
  • Crowning Moment of Awesome: The final showdown between Cross and Soneji in Cat and Mouse
  • Crowning Moment of Heartwarming: In Along Came a Spider the rescue of Maggie Rose Dunne. Truthfully any time a kidnapping victim is reunited with their family.
  • Dan Browned: Cross's encounters with role-playing gamers and vampires/goths. Might be a case of Did Not Do the Research.
  • Depraved Bisexual: Gary Shafer aka the Weasel is implied to be one.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Some interpretations of the Mastermind.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: Although the embarrassing part is debatable, Sampson calls Cross "sugar".
  • Extruded Book Product
  • Face Heel Turn: Kyle Craig.
  • Fetish Fuel: The below described snake scene in Kiss the Girls could possibly qualify.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: It's not uncommon for a chapter to end vaguely hinting at what has taken place. A particularly disturbing example from I, Alex Cross when the Big Bad, Zeus, visits the sex club that he frequents and takes two girls to his private room. After binding and gagging the two girls, he pulls out a taser gun and a pair of pliers before the chapter ends.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: (In Cat and Mouse Mr. Smith "pierced" Isabella's heart.)
  • Heterosexual Life Partners: Cross and Sampson
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: At first children's rhymes, now with "cross" in the title. Still, if you can have a murder mystery titled Double Cross, you should.
  • The Last Dance: In Cat and Mouse, Gary Soneji, now dying of AIDS, goes on one last frenzied rampage, killing everyone he feels the need to and dead set on murdering Cross.
  • Madness Mantra: In Cat and Mouse, I MURDERED ISABELLA CALAIS. AND I CAN'T STOP THE KILLING. The first sentence is spelled out in his victims' initials. The second would have been.
  • Message in a Bottle
  • Moral Event Horizon: Almost all of the villains start out as somewhat likable in an evil way until a certain point, but a particularly good example is Gary Schaefer and the murder of Patsy Hampton.
  • Murder.Com: The DC Audience Killer from Double Cross.
  • Names to Run Away From Really Fast: The Butcher, The Tiger and the Wolf. Cross himself also goes by the nickname of The Dragon Slayer.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: Happens in both Maximum Ride and the Daniel X series.
  • Nightmare Fuel: Thriller fiction runs on it.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: The celebrities taken hostage in Step on a Crack, particularly the Britney Spears-clone.
  • One-Scene Wonder: Jill has a single brief playable scene in the Hidden Object game Women's Murder Club: Twice in a Blue Moon: Riding around the archives on a segway, trying to not hit law clerks.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: The vampire cult in Violets Are Blue is more like the Manson Family than a group of vampires. Then again it's not exactly common for real vampires to appear in police fiction.
  • Paranoia Fuel: His works portray the personal weaknesses of the police that citizens trust with their lives, as well as how difficult and unpredictable the monstrous criminals can be.
  • Racist Grandma: Nana Mama does not trust white people.
  • Scary Black Man: John Sampson.
  • Squick: Given the nature of his work, this was a given. However, it runs rampant in Kiss the Girls. One scene in particular involves Casanova using warm milk to lead a live snake into the rectum of one of his victims. Many reviews cite this scene as so disturbing it ruins the entire novel. (Note: Snakes don't actually drink milk. Blame Arthur Conan Doyle for this one.)
    • The latest book also has Zeus, who possibly tops Casanova in terms of being a disgusting murderous sex fiend.
    • Also the lovingly detailed description of The Mastermind having sex with a corpse in Roses Are Red, thanks James.
    • Four Blind Mice has three contract killers (hence the title), and one of them is described as getting hard at the memory of murder.
  • Stealth Pun: At no point in Sail is the phrase "Dunne In" used.
  • Tear Jerker: The death of Mike's wife, Maeve, from cancer, in Step on a Crack, made worse because it's been set up for much of the book).
    • Anything and everything involving Jill in 3rd Degree.
  • Torture Cellar
  • Widower Hero: Mike Bennett.
  • Xanatos Roulette Four Blind Mice has a huge one. Neither Alex nor the contract killers figure out what the guy hiring them is doing.
  • You Fail History Forever: Alex Cross's Trial is a prime example of this. In fact, it could be the poster child for this trope.
  • Your Mileage May Vary: Either Patterson is a brilliant master of suspense who writes intense, fun to read thrillers or he's a dishonest egomaniac with no talent or originality.