James Patterson is one of the most prolific living writers. Since he began crafting his staggering body of work in 1976, Patterson has barely stopped writing to eat or drink. The ambitious author holds the Guinness World Record for the highest number of New York Times bestsellers by a single author.
James Patterson has written 322 books in total. This total includes books he has co-written with other authors. Furthermore, this number is bound to increase as James Patterson is still churning out novels today.
The rest of this article will detail James Patterson’s books, from fiction to young adult fiction to children’s literature and nonfiction.
James Patterson turns out approximately 12 books annually. He shares author credits on the dust jackets of several mysteries and thrillers. He creates most of his characters to be colorful, clever detectives.
Patterson claims a truly staggering number of novels across more than 20 series and 50 stand-alone novels. He frequently co-authors his books, and some notable collaborators include:
- Peter de Jonge
- Andrew Gross
- Maxine Paetro
- Howard Roughan
- Michael Ledwidge
- James O. Born
- Mark T. Sullivan
- Michael White
- Ashwin Sanghi
- Mark Pearson
- Kathryn Fox
- Marshall Karp
- David Ellis
- Andrew Holmes
- Max DiLallo
- Gabrielle Charbonnet
- Liza Marklund
- Bill Clinton
- J.D. Baker
- Dolly Parton
James Patterson has written far too many series to explore in depth without writing a novel of our own. The four largest and most successful are: Alex Cross, Women’s Murder Club, Michael Bennett, and Private. The rest are briefer and lack the massive following Patterson earned with the four listed. These books include:
- Travis McKinley
- When the Wind Blows
- NYPD Red
- Detective Harriet Blue
- David Shelley
- Caleb Rooney
- Crazy House
- Black Book Thrillers
- Rory Yates
- Amy Cornwall
Let’s explore James Patterson’s most successful novels and series in further detail:
Alex Cross, Patterson’s most famous creation, catapulted the author to fame and success. Alex Cross is a D.C. detective who tries to maintain a stable family life while cracking complex cases. Since his debut in 1993’s Along Came a Spider, Alex Cross has racked up a devoted fan following. By 2022 the character has starred in more than 30 novels.
Hollywood has adapted three Alex Cross novels into major motion pictures:
- Kiss The Girls (1997)
- Along Came a Spider (2001)
- Alex Cross (2012)
Morgan Freeman and Tyler Perry portray the crafty investigator on film.
The 22 novels in the Women’s Murder Club series explore the lives and travails of a group of amateur women detectives. The books, set in San Francisco, are incredibly popular and have inspired television, film, and even video game adaptations.
Patterson claims solo writing credits for the first book; the subsequent volumes were all co-authored by either Andrew Gross or Maxine Paetro. The title of each book indicates its chronology by including its number in the series. Patterson began the ongoing series in 2001.
Michael Bennett is an Irish-American cop raising a family of ten. The books detail Bennett’s struggles to balance solving difficult crimes while keeping his massive brood in check. The 14 books are enormously popular; six of the volumes reached number one on the New York Times Bestseller list.
Patterson began writing the series in 2007, and Little, Brown and Company published the latest in 2022.
Private is the rare series not named after its leading character. The books focus on the exploits of Jack Morgan, a private investigator, as he attempts to clear his father’s name of a crime he didn’t commit while running a thriving detective agency. A variety of authors co-wrote all 16 Private books. The volumes are successful enough that the series includes spin-off novels within the same universe.
Patterson wrote the first Private novel with Maxine Paetro in 2010 and the latest with Adam Hamdy in 2021.
Many of James Patterson’s series extend beyond the collected novels. The author has written several short stories within the universes he’s created. Beyond stand-alone stories, Patterson’s collections include entries into the Alex Cross, Women’s Murder Club, Michael Bennett, and Zoo worlds. His short story volumes include:
- Triple Threat
- Kill or be Killed
- The Moores are Missing
- Two From the Heart
- The Family Lawyer
- Triple Homicide
- Murder in Paradise
- The House Next Door
Along with more than 50 stand-alone entries, Patterson has published novella series as well. Many of the free-standing novellas are co-written by authors, including:
- Hilary Liftin
- Max DiLallo
- Candice Fox
- Andrew Holmes
- Emily Raymond
Never one to limit himself to beach reads and adult-contemporary thrillers, Patterson also has several young adult books under his belt. He has published novels and comics for teens across various series. He’s published three stand-alone novels with Emily Raymond and one with Lisa Papademetriou between 2014 and 2019.
His four young adult series, many of which are co-written-are:
- Maximum Ride/Hawk
- Daniel X
- Witch & Wizard
Patterson published comics as both manga and graphic novels. Manga is Japanese comics, read from right to left. Graphic novels are read the way most English readers are accustomed to, from left to right. Patterson published 19 comic books across three series and one stand-alone graphic novel.
The series includes:
- Maximum Ride: The Manga
- Daniel X: The Manga
- Witch & Wizard
- Stand-Alone Comics
Patterson’s books for kids range from novels to comics to picture books. He’s published six stand-alone books, written with a variety of co-authors.
Patterson wrote one short story collection called Boys Will be Boys. And as with his adult and teen endeavors, many of Patterson’s children’s books are divided into series.
James Patterson has written nine children’s series. These sagas are:
- Middle School: Co-written by Christopher Tebbetts
- Ali Cross
- I Funny: Co-written by Chris Grabenstein
- Treasure Hunters: Co-written by Chris Grabenstein
- House of Robots: Co-written by Chris Grabenstein
- Jacky Ha-Ha: Co-written by Chris Grabenstein
- Dog Diaries: Co-written by Steven Butler
- Max Einstein: Co-written by Chris Grabenstein
- Katt Dogg: Co-written by Chris Grabenstein
Picture books are staples of children’s literature, and Patterson authored nine. Seven of the volumes are stand-alone, including one co-authored by Bill O’Reilly. These books cover holidays, manners, and teaching basic lessons for small children.
Patterson also published two books within the Little Geniuses world, both illustrated by Hsinping Pan.
Ensuring he leaves no literary stone unturned, James Patterson has quite a few nonfiction books to his name. He’s written five biographies and eight true crime volumes. Patterson additionally published a history book and a political treatise. Several different authors collaborated with him on these.
Furthermore, James Patterson’s latest is a book he’s uniquely qualified to write: James Patterson by James Patterson: The Stories of My Life, published in 2022.
Very few authors write even 100 books in their careers. James Patterson’s 322 and ongoing is awe-inspiring.
Though detective fiction is his pet project, the author’s output isn’t limited to fast-reading beach mysteries. Patterson can also claim authorship of teen, children’s, and nonfiction books. His record-breaking career continues, and who knows how many books he’ll publish in the next 10 years?