Best James Patterson Books, Ranked And In Order (2024)

James Patterson is regarded as one of the most successful authors in history, with over 425 million books sold over the past four decades. Patterson is one of the world’s highest-paid authors, not just for his prolific writing, which spawned numerous bestsellers, many of which will be on this list. This prosperity is partly due to his uncanny ability to captivate readers, thanks to his signature style of short, punchy chapters and engrossing character-driven plots. To say that Patterson is a diverse writer would be putting it lightly; the New York-born native has a multi-dimensional repertoire ranging from stand-alone thrillers to non-fiction, fiction, children’s books and romance novels.

Patterson’s literary career kicked off in 1976 after he published his first novel, The Thomas Berryman Number, a thriller that won the Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best First Novel by an American Author. Although the book did not gain much traction initially, his 1993 release of Along Came a Spider piqued public interest and became an instant bestseller. The book was adapted into a thriller-mystery movie featuring Morgan Freeman that was released in 2001 and earned $105.2 million at the box office. Patterson would go on to publish over 200 books, with 100 of those becoming New York Times bestsellers, and his contribution to classic series like Alex Cross, Women’s Murder Club and Private would make him a household name.

James Patterson’s Top 10 Books

Although Patterson has published over 200 books, this list ranks his top 10 books based on a combination of critical acclaim, commercial success, reader popularity and impact on popular culture.

  1. Along Came a Spider
  2. 1st to Die
  3. Kiss the Girls
  4. Roses Are Red
  5. The Murder House
  6. The President Is Missing
  7. Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment
  8. Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas
  9. Invisible
  10. Zoo

10. Zoo (2012)

In Zoo, Patterson presents a plot that follows brutal animal attacks across the world that quickly escalate into grisly horror. As animals globally continue to revolt against humans in a violent uprising, it becomes apparent that the human race is slowly facing an extinction. This leads young biologist Jackson Oz and ecologist Chloe Tousignant to attempt to find a solution before it is too late. This thrilling sci-fi book has all of the elements of a page turner and is perfect for readers who enjoy apocalyptic scenarios and edge-of-your-seat tension. Zoo is available at Hachette Book Group.

9. Invisible (2014)

In Invisible, FBI Research Analyst Emmy Dockery has a hunch that a series of unrelated fires are actually part of a more sinister plot. One of the fires, in which Emmy’s sister was killed, pushes Emmy to become relentlessly obsessed with getting to the truth behind what seems like a series of unrelated house fires. Convinced that these incidents are actually murders and the the work of a serial killer, Emmy sets out on a mission to prove it and eventually enlists the help of her colleagues at the FBI. Although people are initially skeptical about Emmy’s sanity and motivations, she is eventually able to provide enough evidence for the bureau to take her claims seriously. This chilling thriller is ideal for readers who appreciate psychological suspense and the book is available at Hachette Book Group.

8. Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas (2001)

Patterson’s Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas marked Patterson’s first attempt in the romance genre. In the book, he lucidly follows the story of New York City-based editor Katie Wilkinson and poet and painter Matthew Harrison, who abruptly breaks up with Katie and leaves behind a diary for her to read. As Katie begins to read the diary, it soon becomes apparent that the diary’s author, Suzanne, is writing to her infant child, Nicholas, whom she welcomed with Matthew. In the diary, Suzanne vividly recounts her experiences and the love she shared with Matthew. Patterson weaves several elements together to create this book, including family, loss, new love, and hope. Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas is available at Hachette Book Group.

7. Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment (2007)

Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment is the first book in the Maximum Ride series by Patterson. The story follows protagonist Max (Maximum) Ride, a human-avian hybrid and her Flock: six children who are also human-avian hybrids due to genetic experiments that gave them the ability to fly and made them 98% human and 2% bird. The book follows the Flock’s escape from the scientists who created them at the facility known as the School and their search for freedom, but their lives take a dangerous turn when the youngest member, Angel, is kidnapped by the Erasers— human-wolf hybrids created by the same scientists. Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment is perfect for young readers who enjoy dystopian storylines and it is available at Hachette Book Group.

6. The President Is Missing (2019)

Not many authors can say that they have co-written a book with a former president, but James Patterson can. In The President Is Missing, Patterson puts a spin on the political genre that seems even more credible because of its co-author, Bill Clinton, 42nd president of the United States. The thriller opens up with the story of U.S. President Jonathan Lincoln Duncan who has been accused of negotiating with Suliman Cindoruk, a known terrorist who is also leads the cyberterrorist organization called Sons of Jihad (SOJ). As the plot progresses, Patterson and Clinton lead readers down a high-stakes storyline that is replete with action, political drama and what can happen when a country’s defenses are in jeopardy. Fans of fast-paced action who are fascinated by the inner workings of government and security will enjoy this book. It is available for purchase at Hachette Book Group.

5. Murder House (2015)

Nothing quite creates prime storytelling like the combination of thriller, mystery and crime and Patterson’s Murder House achieves all of that by employing the use of wealth, speculation and intrigue. In the immaculate plot, Patterson and co-author follow protagonist Jenna Murphy, who is assigned to solve a murder that takes place at a mansion in the Hamptons. At first, the New York City-based cop believes that the case is straightforward, but she soon learns that there is more to the murder than meets the eye, and Jenna soon discovers that the mansion’s dark history adds a layer of complexity to the the grisly murder. Fans of mystery and crime-themes story will enjoy this book. It is available at Hachette Book Group.

4. Roses Are Red

Patterson’s Roses Are Red features Alex Cross, his foremost protagonist, who is on a mission to solve a series of lethal bank robbery heists that have been terrorizing Washington, D.C. The bank robbers are supervised by The Mastermind, an anonymous criminal who hires local thieves to do his bidding. As the crimes continue to escalate across the metropolitan area, Cross soon realizes that they all follow a similar pattern: Each heist is carried out by a different team, all of whom are poisoned by The Mastermind to keep the crime more hidden. Cross teams up with FBI investigators, including his new romantic interest, Betsey Cavalierre, to solve the case. Fans who enjoy a combination of pulse-pounding crime, romance and thrillers will find this novel fascinating. It is the sixth novel in Patterson’s award-winning Alex Cross series and is available at Hachette Book Group.

3. Kiss the Girls (2000)

In this #1 New York Times bestseller, Patterson once again uses psychological thrills to introduce readers to two mysterious serial killers: Casanova, who began murdering his victims from his teen years, and The Gentleman Caller, a brutal serial murderer. Throughout the book, both murderers remain mysterious, and it is this mystery that serves as the driving force behind the book, which generally has a formulaic cat-and-mouse theme as its baseline. Once again, Patterson enlists the help of his recurring character Alex Cross to unravel the mysteries, and the story kicks off when Cross learns his niece Naomi “Scootchie” Cross is missing. In the process of trying to investigate this, he learns that eight other girls have gone missing from different states, and this sets the plot of the story on a tangent that will uncover the true identities of the Casanova and The Gentleman Caller. Kiss the Girls is available at Hachette Book Group.

2. 1st to Die (2001)

If there is anything that Patterson does well, it is creating difficult-to-decipher storylines and 1st to Die fits well into that category. The story revolves around four women (Lindsay Boxer, Cindy Thomas, Claire Washburn and Jill Bernhardt) who work in law enforcement, journalism, healthcare and law respectively, but form an alliance to get to the bottom of a string of brutal murders targeting newlywed couples in San Francisco. Lindsay, Cindy and Claire initially bond over the case and Jill joins them later​. At first, the women’s collective efforts lead them to suspect Nicholas Jenks, a famous novelist, as a prime suspect, but in spite of their attempts to link him to the murders, the case takes several twists and turns, which all culminate in a shocking final revelation. This novel can be found at Barnes & Noble.

1. Along Came a Spider (1993)

Patterson’s Along Came a Spider is frequently regarded as one of Patterson’s standout works, specifically because it kicked off his highly successful Alex Cross series. The novel is often regarded as Patterson’s entry into the big leagues of thriller writing. It set the stage for the numerous sequels that followed and created a path for him as a master storyteller. Literary critiques often highlight this story’s pithy yet intricate plot, with well-developed characters and thought-provoking story progression as a reason for its public perception. This book is perfect for readers who enjoy mystery and remain invested in a storyline until the writer exposes everything. The book is available at Hachette Book Group.

James Patterson Books In Order

James Patterson’s Alex Cross Series

  1. Along Came a Spider (1992)
  2. Kiss the Girls (1995)
  3. Jack & Jill (1996)
  4. Cat & Mouse (1997)
  5. Pop Goes the Weasel (1999)
  6. Roses Are Red (2000)
  7. Violets Are Blue (2001)
  8. Four Blind Mice (2002)
  9. The Big Bad Wolf (2003)
  10. London Bridges (2004)
  11. Mary, Mary (2005)
  12. Cross / Alex Cross (2006)
  13. Double Cross (2007)
  14. Cross Country (2008)
  15. I, Alex Cross (2009)
  16. Cross Fire (2010)
  17. Kill Alex Cross (2011)
  18. Alex Cross, Run (2013)
  19. Cross My Heart (2013)
  20. Hope to Die (2014)
  21. Cross Justice (2015)
  22. Cross the Line (2016)
  23. The People vs. Alex Cross (2017)
  24. Target: Alex Cross (2018)
  25. Criss Cross (2019)
  26. Deadly Cross (2020)
  27. Fear No Evil (2021)
  28. Triple Cross (2022)
  29. Cross Down (with Brendan DuBois) (2023)
  30. Alex Cross Must Die / Cross Out (2023)
  31. The House of Cross (2024)

James Patterson’s Women’s Murder Club Series

  1. 1st to Die (2000)
  2. 2nd Chance (2002)
  3. 3rd Degree (2004)
  4. 4th of July (2005)
  5. The 5th Horseman (2006)
  6. The 6th Target (2007)
  7. 7th Heaven (2008)
  8. The 8th Confession (2009)
  9. The 9th Judgment (2010)
  10. 10th Anniversary (2011)
  11. 11th Hour (2012)
  12. 12th of Never (2013)
  13. Unlucky 13 (2014)
  14. 14th Deadly Sin (2015)
  15. 15th Affair (2016)
  16. 16th Seduction (2017)
  17. The 17th Suspect (2018)
  18. The 18th Abduction (2019)
  19. The 19th Christmas (2019)
  20. The 20th Victim (2020)
  21. 21st Birthday (2021)
  22. 22 Seconds (2022)
  23. The 23rd Midnight (2023)
  24. The 24th Hour (2024)

James Patterson’s Michael Bennett Series

  1. Step on a Crack (2007)
  2. Run for Your Life (2009)
  3. Worst Case (2010)
  4. Tick Tock (2011)
  5. I, Michael Bennett (2012)
  6. Gone (2013)
  7. Burn (2014)
  8. Alert (2015)
  9. Bullseye (2016)
  10. Haunted (2017)
  11. Ambush (2018)
  12. Blindside (2020)
  13. The Russian (2021)
  14. Shattered (2022)
  15. Obsessed (2023)
  16. Crosshairs (2024)

James Patterson’s Private Series

  1. Private (2010)
  2. Private #1 Suspect (2012)
  3. Private Games (2012)
  4. Private London (2011)
  5. Private Berlin (2013)
  6. Private L.A. (2014)
  7. Private Down Under (2014)
  8. Private India (2014)
  9. Private Vegas (2015)
  10. Private Sydney (2015)
  11. Private Paris (2016)
  12. Private Rio (2016)
  13. Private Delhi (2017)
  14. Princess (2018)
  15. Private Moscow (2020)
  16. Private Rogue (2021)
  17. Private Beijing (2022)
  18. Private Rome (2023)
  19. Private Monaco (2024)

James Patterson’s Maximum Ride Series

  1. The Angel Experiment (2005)
  2. School’s Out – Forever (2006)
  3. Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports (2007)
  4. The Final Warning (2008)
  5. Max (2009)
  6. Fang (2010)
  7. Angel (2011)
  8. Nevermore (2012)
  9. Maximum Ride Forever (2015)

James Patterson’s Daniel X Series

  1. The Dangerous Days of Daniel X (2008)
  2. Watch the Skies (2009)
  3. Demons and Druids (2010)
  4. Game Over (2011)
  5. Armageddon (2012)
  6. Lights Out (2015)

James Patterson’s NYPD Red Series

  1. NYPD Red (2012)
  2. NYPD Red 2 (2014)
  3. NYPD Red 3 (2015)
  4. NYPD Red 4 (2016)
  5. Red Alert (2018)
  6. NYPD Red 6 (2020)
  7. NYPD Red 7 (2022)

James Patterson’s Standalone Novels

  1. The Thomas Berryman Number (1976)
  2. Season of the Machete (1977)
  3. See How They Run / The Jericho Commandment (1979)
  4. Black Market / Black Friday (1986)
  5. The Midnight Club (1989)
  6. Hide & Seek (1995)
  7. Cradle and All (2000)
  8. Sam’s Letters to Jennifer (2001)
  9. Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas (2001)
  10. The Beach House (2002)
  11. The Jester (2003)
  12. Lifeguard (2005)
  13. Beach Road (2006)
  14. Judge & Jury (2006)
  15. The Quickie (2007)
  16. You’ve Been Warned (2007)
  17. Sundays at Tiffany’s (2008)
  18. Sail (2008)
  19. Swimsuit (2009)
  20. The Postcard Killers (2010)
  21. Don’t Blink (2010)
  22. Toys (2011)
  23. Now You See Her (2011)
  24. Kill Me If You Can (2011)
  25. The Christmas Wedding (2011)
  26. Guilty Wives (2012)
  27. Mistress (2013)
  28. First Love (2013)
  29. Homeroom Diaries (2014)
  30. Truth or Die (2015)
  31. The Murder House (2015)
  32. Woman of God (2016)
  33. The Store (2017)
  34. The President Is Missing (with Bill Clinton) (2018)
  35. The First Lady (2018)
  36. The Inn (2019)
  37. The Warning (2019)
  38. Three Women Disappear (2020)
  39. The President’s Daughter (with Bill Clinton) (2021)
  40. Run, Rose, Run (with Dolly Parton) (2022)
  41. Death of the Black Widow (2022)
  42. The House of Wolves (2023)

New James Patterson Books

For decades, Patterson has been recognized as an important literary part of multiple genres, and thanks to his consistency, this hasn’t changed. Patterson is still actively writing, with several new books released each year. In fact, rumor has it that Patterson writes 31 books at the same time. Some of Patterson’s upcoming works include The House of Cross and others, which are scheduled to be released well into this year and next year.

Bottom Line

Throughout his career, Patterson has been known as a mass producer who has consistently released several books annually, often collaborating with other authors. It is no wonder that Patterson has been able to maintain his longevity, stamina and commercial value on the literary market. This is not entirely surprising because Patterson has been known to continuously reinvent himself.

Best James Patterson Books, Ranked And In Order (2024)
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