Meet This Week's Author
Never Read Em?
Meet this week's author James Patterson. Now he's a man most people have at least heard of if not by reading one of his books then by watching a film or television movie based on one of his books. He's the world's best-selling author since 2001 and to say Mr. Patterson is a prolific writer would be an understatement. He publishes at least three books a year and has published up to thirteen in one year. His writing talent spreads across several different genres including romance, young adult, and children, but the majority of his books are mystery/thriller novels. He has written almost one hundred novels since 1976 and has had nineteen consecutive #1 New York Times Best Selling Novels. He holds the NY Times record and Guinness World record for the most best-selling hardcover fiction titles by a single author with seventy-six. His novels account for one out of every seventeen hard cover books sold in the U.S.
James Patterson was born in Newburgh, NY in 1947. He currently lives in Florida with his family. He graduated from Manhattan College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and went on to earn a Master of Arts degree in English from Vanderbilt University. After he graduated he found employment in advertising and retired in 1996 to focus on writing. His first novel was published in 1976 called â€śThe Thomas Berryman Number.â€ť The story is about a reporter named Ochs James and his pursuit of the assassin named Thomas Berryman. Since then he has written almost one hundred novels with seventy-six best sellers. He is the author of numerous book series including the very popular â€śAlex Crossâ€ť series featuring Alex Cross as a former DC police and FBI employer who now works as a private psychologist and government consultant. Other popular series include the â€śWoman's Murder Clubâ€ť featuring a group of women solving crimes in San Francisco and the â€śMichael Bennetâ€ť series about a NYPD detective. Along with these adult series Mr. Patterson also writes several young adult and children series including the best-selling â€śMaximum Rideâ€ť series about six teenagers who are human bird hybrids. The series focuses on these extraordinary teenagersâ€™ adventures of trying to stay alive and save the world. His foray into children stories has been just as successful with many of his titles appearing on the NY Times best-selling children book list including the books â€śI Funnyâ€ť and â€śMy Brother is a Big Fat Liar.â€ť
His latest novel â€śInvisibleâ€ť published in July tells the story of a FBI researcher named Emily Dockery and her quest to solve her sister's murder. But, to do that she has to convince the FBI there is a sadistic serial killer on the loose hiding his horrific crimes with fire as he kills dozens of victims across the country. The book has received good reviews and has been described as a â€śbreakneck-paced thriller that will keep you holding your breath until the final, astonishing pages.â€ť He also has five more books scheduled to be released this year including a new Alex Cross book and two children books.
If you have not read any of Patterson's books perhaps you have watched them as a few of Patterson's books have been made into feature films including the very popular book series â€śAlex Cross.â€ť Morgan Freeman played the part of Alex Cross in â€śKiss the Girlsâ€ť in 1997 and â€śAlong Came a Spiderâ€ť in 2001. Tyler Perry took over the role in 2012 for the feature film called â€śAlex Cross.â€ť Several of his books have also been made into successful TV movies with the latest being â€śSunday's at Tiffany'sâ€ť in 2010 starring Alyssa Milano and Stockard Channing.
Along with his writing career James Patterson is also very active in organizations attempting to make books more available to children and adults. He has donated over 200,000 books to soldiers at home and overseas and thousands of books to schools in Florida, New York, and California. He is also very passionate about promoting books to children and getting them interested in reading. His award winning website www.readkiddoread.com is designed to help parents, teachers, and libraries by providing book reviews and recommendations on books that will get children excited about reading. He has also helped college students by setting up teacher education scholarships and book buying programs that help students pay for college text books.
James Patterson's books tend to be a combination of mystery-thriller-crime stories with a little romance thrown in there. His stories are characterized as fast paced with short chapters and engrossing plots. He has a conversational writing style that grabs the reader's attention early on and drawing them in and then leaving them with the urge of having to know what is going to happen next. He's said when he writes he tries to leave out the parts people skip when they are reading a book and he tries to write stories the way someone would tell a story. He prefers the short chapter style because it keeps the reader's attention and moves the story along at a fast pace. In his adult novels the violence can be graphic at times and hard to read for some. However, he does tend to give the reader insight into both the heroes and the villains of the stories giving the reader a better understanding of the character's motives and an easier time connecting with the characters. Some say his children books can be a little too high brow for their intended audience, but the stories are attention grabbers with very likable characters and the children can easily connect with the stories and the characters.
Like other leading figures in their respected fields James Patterson has his critics and supporters. Critics claim that recently he is more interested in the number of books he puts out in a year than the quality. They say his stories are formulaic as he writes more and more with co-authors. Supporters say by writing with co-authors he has been able to expand to other genre and his books are still filled with just as many twists and turns as they had in the past. They also are ecstatic he publishes so many titles a year allowing them to read one of his new books almost monthly instead of having to wait months or years to read a new book by him, which is typical of most authors.
Locally James Patterson is very popular. The Mason County Library will typically have on hand six copies of his latest novel available for check out and still there will be a waiting list to read it of up to forty people. The vast majority of opinions expressed in the reading review surveys found in his books give the books high marks. Most say the books are great and they love the story. Some direct quotes include, â€śAnother spectacular, can't put down bookâ€ť and â€śGood, easy to read and enjoy.â€ť However, there are a few that do say the books are â€śbrutal for the sake of being brutalâ€ť and â€śa step down from the others.â€ť So as you see there are both critics and supporters locally as well. But, the supporters far outnumber the critics and the number of new people starting to read him appears to be far greater than the number the people that have stopped reading him.
As you know no two authors are the same. Each having their own unique style of storytelling. However, there are several authors that write very similar to James Patterson. They include Stephan J. Cannell, Harlan Coben, Michael Connelly, Jeffery Deaver, and John Sanford. If you happen to like one of these authors chances are you will enjoy reading James Patterson and vice versa.
As you can see James Patterson is a man with a writing talent that spreads across many genres. People of all ages and backgrounds read and enjoy his stories making him one of the best-selling authors of all time. So if you like fast-paced heart pounding thrillers or tear jerker romances or want to spend some quality time with your kids reading a laugh out loud children book give James Patterson a try and join the millions of people who have met and now can't wait to read his next heart pounding adventure.
Next week meet Janet Evanovich. A best-selling author of more than 50 books and the popular Plum detective series. Her books have been described from hilarious and to nail biting. If you are interested in learning more about her please come back next week for another edition of â€śNever Read Em.â€ť