11 Best James Patterson Books to Read First in 2023

This article will help you with the best James Patterson books if you are just discovering his work. However, if you are an avid reader, you will find the books you should not miss! Some of the following titles should be read in order, while some are stand-alone bestsellers. Either way, you can't make a mistake with any of these incredible best James Patterson books.

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Our top 5 recommendations for the best James Patterson Books

⭐Best Seller
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The President Is Missing: A Novel
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20th Victim (Women’s Murder Club, 20)
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The President’s Daughter: A Thriller
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The Black Book (A Black Book Thriller, 1)
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The 19th Christmas (Women’s Murder Club, 19)

James Patterson is one of the best American thriller writers of all time. He has authored over two hundred books ☍, and most of them are top bestsellers. 

James Patterson replaced Jacqueline Wilson, the famous children novelist, as the most borrowed author in Britain’s Libraries. He has sold over three hundred million books ☍ across the world. 

Also, he has written a record number of books that have made it to the #1 New York Times bestsellers list. Out of 200+ books he has written, 114 have made it to the list ☍. It is on the Guinness Worlds Records ☍.

He is the most popular for his Alex Cross mystery series ☍. However, he has written numerous other series as well as stand-alone thrillers.

Although he is known for his crime thrillers, James Patterson has found success in numerous genres. His work is known for its fast-paced plot, exciting beats, short chapters, and straightforward descriptions of every aspect of the story.

This article will help you with the best James Patterson books if you are just discovering his work. However, if you are an avid reader, you will find the books you should not miss!

Some of the following titles should be read in order, while some are stand-alone bestsellers. Either way, you can’t make a mistake with any of these incredible best-selling James Patterson books.

Looking for more great book reviews ☍ ? Check out all our articles on this topic.

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The List Of The Top 11 Best James Patterson Books

Here is the list of the best James Patterson books of all time. They are rated based on the plot, the characters, and the level of interest the books can bring to the readers.


Along Came A Spider

Discover the classic thriller that launched the #1 detective series of the past twenty-five years, now one of PBS’s “100 Great American Reads”
Along Came A Spider
Mass Market Paperback / Hardcover / Kindle / Audiobook
Alex Cross is a homicide detective with a Ph.D. in psychology. He works and lives in the ghettos of D. C. and looks like Muhammad Ali in his prime. He’s a tough guy from a tough part of town who wears Harris Tweed jackets and likes to relax by banging out Gershwin tunes on his baby grand piano. But he also has two adorable kids of his own, and they are his own special vulnerabilities.
Best James Patterson Books Along Came a Spider

Along Came a Spider is one of the best James Patterson books for many reasons, including keeping you on the edge of your seat. It was first published in 1993, and this book was later adapted into a film ☍ starring Morgan Freeman as Alex Cross.

It is the first novel in the Alex Cross series ☍. The success of this book and the high popularity of the character has led to 26 sequels until now. 

The story begins with Alex Cross investigating the horrific murder of two women and an infant. He is a homicide investigator with a Ph.D. in psychology. He works and resides in the ghettos of Washington D. C., and he is a tough man with two adorable kids.

At the same time, Maggie Rose Dunne and Michael Goldberg are kidnapped by a math teacher in their private school. 

Alex Cross has to investigate both cases with many personal things to deal with as well. From the beginning to the end, you will not be able to put the book down.

The story has fascinating characters, of course, including Alex Cross. So, if you are planning to start with reading the Alex Cross series, Along Came a Spider should be the one to begin with.


Alex Cross’s Trial

Written in the fearless voice of Detective Alex Cross, Alex Cross’s Trial is a #1 New York Times bestseller of murder, love, and above all, bravery.
Alex Cross’s Trial (Alex Cross, 15)
Mass Market Paperback / Hardcover / Kindle / Audiobook
From his grandmother, Alex Cross has heard the story of his great uncle Abraham and his struggles for survival in the era of the Ku Klux Klan. Now, Alex passes the family tale along to his own children in a novel he’s written-a novel called Trial.
Alex Crosss Trial James Patterson info

Alex Cross’s Trial is one of the best James Patterson books for its excellent plot and interesting characters. It is the 15th book in the Alexis Cross series. The Task follows the novel Cross Country ☍ in the series, and it comes before I, Alex Cross ☍.

Richard DiLallo co-authors this book. He has co-authored many of the novels Alexis Cross series. The premise of the story is Alexis Cross has written the book.

Alex Cross has heard stories from his grandmother named Nana Mama. The story is about the struggle of his uncle Abraham during the era of the Ku Klan Klux.

Then, he recounts a tale to his children through the novel Alex Cross’s Trial. The story is about a lawyer naked Ben Corbet. He is known to represent some of the most challenging cases in the court. Most of them oppose oppression and racism.

This fight will put his and his family’s life at risk. Ben Corbet is asked to leave for his hometown, fearing the resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan.

It is a very gripping story. This writing is quite different from the usual crime stories. You can pick this book if you are looking for something different from James Patterson’s best books.

Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas

A powerfully moving novel of love, loss, hope, and family from bestselling author James Patterson.
Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas
School & Library Binding / Paperback / Kindle / Audiobook
Katie Wilkinson has found her perfect man at last. He’s a writer, a house painter, an original thinker – everything she’s imagined she wanted in a partner. But one day, without explanation, he disappears from her life, leaving behind only a diary for her to read.

This diary is a love letter written by a new mother named Suzanne for her baby son, Nicholas. In it she pours out her heart about how she and the boy’s father met, about her hopes for marriage and family, and about the unparalleled joy that having a baby has brought into her life.
Suzannes Diary Nicholas James Patterson info

Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas by James Patterson is a stand-alone novel that tells the importance of balance in our lives. It was published in the year 2001 ☍

It is his first romance novel. It sold millions of copies and became a very popular novel. This novel made him a master of many genres.

This novel tells two stories that are interwoven. The story begins with a New York City book editor named Katie Wilkinson and her happy life with a poet named Matthew Harrison. When their relationship suddenly comes to an end, she is left alone in the house, heartbroken.

At the same time, she learns about his past when she reads a diary written by Suzanne.

She finds this diary in their gorgeous house, and the protagonist of the story is her boyfriend, who left her abruptly.

It is a very heartwarming story, and you will surely enjoy every chapter in this book. The plots are not as fast-paced as the crime thriller novels. However, it is still a page-turner.

This book is insightful in philosophical ways. It can stay with you long after you have finished reading. It is also one of the best James Patterson books in the romance genre.


Roses are Red

Alex Cross is racing against time as a series of crimes stuns Washington, D. C. — and he might be facing his most brilliant enemy yet.
Roses Are Red (Alex Cross, 6)
Library Binding / Mass Market Paperback / Kindle / Audiobook
In a series of terrifying crimes, bank robbers have been laying out precise demands when they enter the building-and then killing the bank employees and their families if those instructions are not followed to the letter.
Roses Are Red Alex Cross info

Roses are Red is another pick in this list of the best James Patterson books that belong to the Alex Cross series. It is the sixth book in the series. This book is followed by Violets are Blue ☍.

It is one of those James Patterson books that has a superhuman antagonist or an almost superhuman antagonist. The villain in this story is brilliant, and his cruelty far exceeds his intelligence.

Alex Cross, the lovable and kind hero, is again put in a challenging situation. Things are going wrong in his personal life as well.

The antagonist refers to himself as The Mastermind. He is capable of manipulating people into committing crimes that end in bloody murders. 

The pace will keep you turning while you sit at the edge of the seat. The plot is thrilling enough to finish it in one sitting. The brilliance in the plot is genuinely captivating.

The cruel and calm behavior of the antagonist contrasts with the protagonist’s messy life and fluctuating personal relationships. It is a tense read that can make anyone’s heart beat a little faster.

Some books will give you goosebumps at a turn of events, and this is one such book. So, do not miss Roses are Red if you want to read some of the best books by James Patterson.


Sam’s Letters to Jennifer

Discover two extraordinary romantic stories about the power of a life-changing love letter.
Sam’s Letters to Jennifer
Hardcover / Paperback / Kindle / Audiobook
Have you ever gotten a letter that changed your life completely? Sam’s Letters to Jennifer is a novel about that kind of drama. In it, a woman is summoned back to the town where she grew up. And in the house where she spent her most magical years she finds a series of letters addressed to her. Each of those letters is a piece of a story that will upend completely the world she thought she knew – and throw her into a love more powerful than she ever imagined could be possible.
Sams Letters Jennifer James Patterson info

Sam’s Letters to Jennifer is one of the best James Patterson books. It was originally published in the year 2004. This book was also one of the best-selling hardcover books of 2004 in the USA ☍.

The story begins with a woman named Jennifer rushing to her grandmother’s side who has gone into a coma. Jennifer is still mourning the death of her husband. 

She discovers a packet of letters by her grandmother Sam addressed to Jennifer. She reads the letters which follow the story of Sam.

Sam is married to a man named Stanford, and she will find her true love in another man. The man is nicknamed Doc in the story.

During this time, she is beginning to fall in love with Brendan, her childhood friend. Later, she will discover that he is suffering from an illness that could take away his life any time soon.

The book’s story is not as fast-paced as the thriller books, but it is a very warm story. You can snuggle up in your banket, sit by the window, sip a cup of coffee, and dive into this book. It is a heartwarming story of finding love and living your life through the worst and the best moments. 

The Thomas Berryman Number

Discover James Patterson’s stunning debut, an Edgar Award-winning novel of prejudice and murder in the American South.
The Thomas Berryman Number
Hardcover / Paperback / Kindle / Audiobook
You are about to begin a classic award-winning novel of suspense. When an up-and-coming politician is murdered in a small Southern town, reporter Ochs Jones suspects that racism and prejudice had something to do with it-and when he learns about two other murders, tracking down the killer becomes more important than ever.
Thomas Berryman Number James Patterson info

The Thomas Berryman Number is one of the best books by James Patterson. It was first published in the year 1976 ☍. It is the first book written by James Patterson.

It is one of the most underrated books by the author; it was forgotten for about 50 years after its publication. It is an excellent read if you want to read something fresh and fast-paced.

This book also won the Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Novel ☍ in the year it was published. This book launched the advertising executive into the world of action-packed thriller novels.

This book is set in the early years of the ’70s. The plot begins with the murder of Nashville’s Mayor. The lawyer is one of the first black mayors of the city.

A journalist has a suspect for the murder, and he investigates and discovers there is more to the story. The story picks up the pace from the very first page of this book.

The novel is written from multiple points of view; it is detailed in its description. The plot is brilliantly constructed with great attention to detail. This book is one where you can not stop turning the pages until you reach the end.


Saving the World and other Extreme Sports

Join Max and her friends on a wild ride to save the world. The time has come to face the ultimate enemy . . . but are Max and her Flock ready?
Saving the World: A Maximum Ride Novel (Book 3)
Hardcover / Paperback / Kindle / Audiobook
The time has arrived for Max and her winged “Flock” to face their ultimate enemy and discover their original purpose: to defeat the takeover of “Re-evolution”, a sinister experiment to re-engineer a select population into a scientifically superior master race . . . and to terminate the rest. Max, Fang, Iggy, Nudge, Gasman, and Angel have always worked together to defeat the forces working against them-but can they save the world when they are torn apart, living in hiding and captivity, halfway across the globe from one another?
Saving World Maximum Ride Novel info

Saving the World and other Extreme Sports is a part of the Maximum Ride series ☍. This series is one of the best James Patterson books ranked high on numerous readers list. It was published in the year 2009 in the USA and the UK.

The series this book is a part of is set in modern times. It is about a group of hybrids of humans and birds. They are called the ‘flocks.’

The flocks have escaped the scientists who created them. In this book, a massive company named Itex and its leader, Director, are the antagonists. The flocks are challenged to save the world from this company.

The company plans to cut the world’s population by half, and they have already terminated many life forms. Also, there are robotic Flyboys sent to hunt the flock down and bring them back.

Max, one of the flocks, tries to stop Itex while Fang tries to convince her to leave to a safer and more peaceful place. While looking for a new place, the rest of the flocks are captured and put in a truck.

It is an excellent story with a fast-paced and intriguing narration. The plots are filled with love, betrayal, and more. If you are looking for a different series by Patterson, not Alex Cross, you can pick this one.


The Angel Experiment

Max soars above the world . . . but in James Patterson’s thrilling adventure, fantasy can come crashing down to reveal the nightmares of the Angel Experiment.
The Angel Experiment: A Maximum Ride Novel (Book 1)
Library Binding / Paperback / Kindle / Audiobook
Maximum Ride and her “flock” — Fang, Iggy, Nudge, Gasman and Angel — are just like ordinary kids, only they have wings and can fly. It may seem like a dream come true to some, but their lives can morph into a living nightmare at any time.
Angel Experiment Maximum Ride Novel info

Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment is one of the best books by James Patterson. It is the first novel in the Maximum Ride series ride. It was published in the year 2005.

This book is set somewhere in the near future. The story is about a group of hybrid human beings known as the flocks. They are 98% human and 2% bird. They escape from the scientists who created them.

The story is told in first-person narration from the leader of the flock, Maximum Ride. The plot begins with Angel, the youngest member of the flock, being taken back to the lab. That is where they were genetically altered and raised in their cages.

They have Erasers hunting them and taking them back to their labs. Erasers are hybrid beings of wolves and humans. 

Max and the other two members of the flocks leave to rescue Angel, while two more of them make bombs for protection.

Angel Experiment was received positively by everyone. It was described as playing the best kind of video game.

This book was also adapted to a movie ☍, and it was released in the year 2016. It is directed by Jay Martin and has the first half of the angel experiment.


Kiss the Girls

Join Alex Cross on his most terrifying murder case yet in this #1 New York Times bestseller and one of PBS’s “100 Great American Reads.”
Kiss the Girls (Alex Cross)
Hardcover / Mass Market Paperback / Kindle / Audiobook
In Los Angeles, a reporter investigating a series of murders is killed. In Chapel Hill, North Carolina, a beautiful medical intern suddenly disappears. In the sequel to Along Came a Spider, Washington D.C.’s Alex Cross is back to solve the most baffling and terrifying murder case ever. Two clever pattern killers are collaborating, cooperating, competing-and they are working coast to coast.
Kiss Girls Cross James Patterson info

Kiss the Girls is a brilliant book that is one of the best James Patterson books. It was published in 1995, and it was also adapted into a film ☍ of the same name.

The story opens with a teenage boy killing his first four victims. He is about to become a serial killer named Casanova. 

A few years later, elsewhere, another killer will kill a young couple on a lake. He will call himself The Gentleman Caller.

Alex Cross returns to his home in Washington DC when Casanova has grown and has killed another young woman in the woods. At the same time, he discovers that his niece is missing.

Alex travels to North Carolina to meet his missing niece’s family and learn more about what is going on. He discovers that about eight to ten women are missing from different states. All of the victims received a note from someone named Casanova.

At the same time, a reporter in LA is working on a story based on the killer The Gentleman Caller. He threatens to kill more people if his letters are not published. 

It is a highly compelling story that can increase your pulse rate. Also, the story has some of the most interesting characters.

First to Die

Four crime-solving friends face off against a killer in San Francisco in the Women’s Murder Club novel that started James Patterson’s thrilling series.
1st to Die: A Novel (Women’s Murder Club, No 1)
Hardcover / Mass Market Paperback / Kindle / Audiobook
Each one holds a piece of the puzzle: Lindsay Boxer is a homicide inspector in the San Francisco Police Department, Claire Washburn is a medical examiner, Jill Bernhardt is an assistant D.A., and Cindy Thomas just started working the crime desk of the San Francisco Chronicle.
1st Die Novel Womens Murder info

First to Die is an excellent novel by James Patterson that has received rave reviews from many book reviewers. This crime novel is the first book in the series Women’s Murder Club ☍

This series is about four friends who crack the most challenging murder cases in San Fransico. They all have different jobs.

Claire Washburn is a medical examiner, Cindy Thomas is a reporter at the crime desk of the San Francisco Chronicle. Whereas Jill Bernhardt is an assistant DA and Lindsay Boxer is a homicide inspector.

The story begins with a newly married couple in their hotel room at the Grand Hyatt. A man enters the room by fooling the couple and kills the couple violently. 

The plot cuts to the main character, Lindsay Boxer, who hears about her rare disease. It is called Negli’s aplastic anemia. 

The story deals with Lindsay’s physical and emotional struggle of having to live with a life-threatening disease. Also, the story is fast-paced and can keep you at the edge of your seat all the while.

It is also one of the best-selling James Patterson books in the Women’s Murder Club series. If you are looking for another crime series to get hung up on, this can be an excellent choice.


The 5th Horseman

Dare to face the most terrifying heights of suspense. From hospital murders to explosive court battles, the Women’s Murder Club takes on their most harrowing challenge yet.
The 5th Horseman (Women’s Murder Club, 5)
Hardcover / Mass Market Paperback / Kindle / Audiobook
It is a wild race against time as Lieutenant Lindsay Boxer and the newest member of the Women’s Murder Club, attorney Yuki Castellano, lead an investigation into a string of mysterious patient deaths-and reveal a hospital administration determined to shield its reputation at all costs. And while the hospital wages an explosive court battle that grips the entire nation, the Women’s Murder Club hunts for a merciless killer among its esteemed medical staff.
5th Horseman Womens Murder Club info

If you want to read another exciting novel in the series Women’s Murder Club, here’s a pick. It is one of the best James Patterson books in crime thrillers ☍. It was also co-authored by Maxine Paetro.

It is the fifth book in the series that features Lindsay Boxer. This novel also appeared repeatedly on the Publishers Weekly Best Sellers List ☍.

The story opens with a mysterious person killing a hospital patient named Jessie Falk. The person is known as the Night Walker. 

This book has two intertwined stories of murders. The first one is about a serial killer who kills young girls, and the second is the murders in the hospital.

The patients in the hospital who die are from the list of non-danger to life. Also, the killer is placing buttons on the eyes of the dead body.

Lindsay Boxer gets invited to the crime scene where the young girls are killed and posed for inexpensive cars. At the same time, the daughter of one of the victims of the hospital murders finds out more.

The story is excellently crafted down to its smallest detail. Even if you are someone who does not enjoy crime thrillers, this book can get you hooked.

Best James Patterson Books To Buy In 2023


What are the best James Patterson books?

Along Came A Spider and Alex Cross’s Trial are two of the best books by James Patterson.
If you are into crime thrillers and you want to try reading the bestselling popular Alex Cross series. These books are some of the best choices.

What are the best James Patterson stand-alone books?

The books Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas and Sam’s Letters to Jennifer is the answer. These two are the best books by James Patterson to read if you are looking for stand-alone novels.
The two books are fantastic for beginners unfamiliar with any of his series, such as Alex Cross or Women’s Murder Club.

What are James Patterson best selling thriller books?

Along Came A Spider, Kiss The Girls, Roses are Red, and all the books in the Women’s Murder Club series are all-time bestsellers.
Also, many books are bestsellers that have not made it to this list of the best James Patterson books. They are The Quickie, The President is Missing, The Red Book, Black Book, The Murder House, Deadly Cross, and The 20th Victim.

Best Sellers based on series
Along Came a Spider, The Quickie, Kiss The Girls, Cross Fire, and Double Cross. These are the bestselling books in the Alex Cross series.
Whereas in the Women’s Murder Club series, the following are the best sellers. Fist to Die, 19th Christmas, 18th Abduction, 16th Seduction, 11th hour, and 15th affair.

Stand-alone Bestsellers
The Jester, Guilty Wives, Second Honeymoon, and Kill Me If You Can. These are some of the stand-alone bestsellers.

What is James Patterson’s favorite book?

Cutter and Bone, Lush Life, The Digger’s Game, Night Dogs (Hanson #2), The Ice Harvest (The Ice Harvest #1). These are some of the works James Patterson is known to like the best.

Let’s Wrap Up

We hope that you found the books above intriguing enough to pick them up. Or, at the least, we hope that it has made it your to-be-read list.

There is something for everybody on this list of the top 11 best James Patterson books. From physiological crime thrillers to the warmest romantic stories.

So, you can start with a stand-alone, or you can dive right into the world of the empathetic and intelligent Alex Cross.

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