Beyond Bestsellers: James Patterson

by Marie B

I don’t know about you, but I enjoy October and its rather gloomy weather.  It’s perfect for hunkering down with a warm beverage and a good book.  As the days grow darker, dear reader, so does Beyond Bestsellers.  This month our focus is on crime fiction.

If you ever browsed the shelves at the library or bookstore, or visited Amazon’s homepage, chances are you have at least seen a book by James Patterson.  One of the most prolific authors writing today, he’s been the bestselling author in the world since 2001.  He’s written for adults, teens, and children, and has co-written books with a number of authors.  There is no denying Patterson’s ability to write books that appeal to readers, and odds are that you are already a fan.

Patterson’s thrillers and suspense novels have much in common.  In fact, Patterson read-alike lists include other Patterson titles.  Whichever ones you choose, you can expect fast-paced, action packed, twisty stories written with cinematic flair.  The characters are diverse and you’ll probably care about what happens to them.  You won’t have to wonder who is on the right side of the law, because the perps are very bad indeed.  As for the gory details of the crimes, Patterson paints a blood-spattered picture with his descriptions of violence, so reader beware.

Digging Deeper

Dedicated fan that you are, you’ve read every single crime thriller by James Patterson (up to this particular moment in time).  How will you get through the ever-darkening days of autumn without him?  You’ll be happy to know that there are other fantastic authors of gritty crime fiction that can help fill the void while you wait.






Twisted Plots and Twisted Villains
For getting inside the mind of the the detective and the killer, you can’t beat Patterson’s Alex Cross novels.  If you’ve read them all, you might find solace in John Sandford’s Prey series featuring an eccentric police detective and maniacally imaginative bad guys.  You’ll be on the edge of your seat well into the wee hours.

Irresistible Tough Guys
Looking for action, menace, and an incredibly likable yet flawed detective?  The Michael Bennett thrillers check all those boxes and more.  Try Plum Island, the first of the John Cory novels by Nelson DeMille featuring a detective who cracks wise and busts terrorism.  All John wants to do is retire to a life of leisure.  Life happens.

Walking a Fine Line
If you enjoy the Detective Harriet Blue series, the Caitlin Strong novels by Jon Land might be for you.  A tough Texas Ranger, Strong sometimes operates outside the strict letter of the law herself in pursuit of justice.  Gut-wrenching drama and a strong but caring heroine are sure to appeal.

The Suspense is Killing Me
Have you read every Women’s Murder Club entry with relish?  Try Iris Johansen’s Eve Duncan series.  After suffering an unspeakable loss, Duncan uses her skill as a forensic sculptor to bring as many killers to justice as she possibly can – however she can.

Hungry for justice?

To help you get started with trying crime fiction beyond James Patterson, Sno-Isle Libraries is providing unlimited access to Cop Town by Karin Slaughter in eAudio throughout October. Winner of the 2015 Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award from the British Crime Writer’s Association, this gritty standalone is set in 1974 Atlanta and features two female cops who are less than welcome in the workplace.  After a police officer is killed, Maggie Lawson, a cop with a family heritage in law enforcement, is partnered with Kate Murphy, a rookie who is is already questioning her calling.  This atmospheric thriller is a perfect introduction to Slaughter’s unflinchingly violent, pulse-pounding thrillers.  You may as well give up on a good night’s sleep right now, because this will keep you turning pages long after your bedtime.  Cop Town is also available from Sno-Isle Libraries in a variety of other formats.  Enjoy!

Meanwhile, check out this list for more suggestions.  What are you reading beyond James Patterson?  Please share your recommendations in the comments below.

Read Beyond James Patterson

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2 responses to “Beyond Bestsellers: James Patterson”

  1. Erin L. says:

    I don’t normally read this kind of gritty fiction and I’ve never read Patterson but I’ve loved the Robert Galbraith books (aka J.K. Rowling). Starting with Cuckoo’s Calling you get a glimpse into the gritty side of London life. Since I don’t read these particularly for the gritty aspect I appreciate that the focus is mostly on the characters and the relationships.

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