James B. Patterson (born March 22, 1947) is an American author of thriller novels, largely known for his series about American psychologist Alex Cross. Patterson also wrote the Michael Bennett, Women’s Murder Club, Maximum Ride, Daniel X, and Witch & Wizard series, as well as many stand-alone thrillers, nonfiction and romance novels.


He retired from advertising in 1996 and devoted his time to being a writer. The novels featuring his character, Alex Cross, a forensic psychologist formerly of the Washington D.C. Police Department and Federal Bureau of Investigation who now works as a private psychologist and government consultant, are the most popular books among Patterson readers and the top selling US Detective series in the past ten years. Patterson has written 65 novels over his 33 years as an author. To date, James Patterson has had nineteen consecutive #1 New York Times bestselling novels, and holds the New York Times record for most Hardcover Fiction bestselling titles by a single author (48 total), which is also a Guinness World Record. The world’s best-selling author, his novels account for one in seventeen of all hard-cover 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.

He has won awards including the Edgar Award, the BCA Mystery Guild’s Thriller of the Year, and the International Thriller of the Year award. He is the first author to have #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 holds the New York Times bestsellers list record with 45 New York Times bestselling titles overall.  He appeared on the Fox TV show The Simpsons (in the episode “Yokel Chords“) as himself.

Patterson is also well known for sharing the spotlight with different co-authors such as Maxine Paetro, Andrew Gross, and Peter DeJonge and has often said that collaborating with others brings new and interesting ideas to his stories. He is currently collaborating with Swedish mystery writer Liza Marklund on a book called The Postcard Killers and set to be released in August 2010. The story is set in Stockholm, Sweden, and tracks the investigation of young couples’ murders across Europe. The book will be released first in Sweden (January 2010) and the US version will arrive in bookstores in August 2010. In September 2009, Patterson signed a book deal to write or co-write 11 books for adults and six for young adults by the end of 2012. Forbes reported the deal was worth at least $150 million, but Patterson said the estimate “isn’t close.” He holds the New York Times bestsellers list record with 51 New York Times bestselling titles.

He also founded the James Patterson PageTurner Awards in 2005 to personally give away over $850,000 to reward “people, companies, schools, and other institutions who find original and effective ways to spread the excitement of books and reading.” The PageTurner Awards were put on hold in 2008 to focus on Patterson’s new initiative, ReadKiddoRead.com, which helps parents, teachers, and librarians find the very best children’s books for their kids. There is also a social networking site for ReadKiddoRead, hosted by Ning.