10 Top Authors Like James Patterson You Will Want to Read Today

If you love the page-turning nature of legal, spy, and crime thriller novels, discover our guide with the 10 best authors like James Patterson.

James Patterson is a successful author who has developed several thriller series with memorable characters. His main characters, like Alex Cross and Michael Bennett, are known for their tenacity and ability to find the cause of a crime.

Patterson has won numerous awards for his work, including the 2019 Humanities Medal and the Literarian Award for Outstanding Service by the American Literary Community. He also has a masterclass for aspiring thriller writers, and you can read our James Patterson masterclass review to learn more about it. 

1. Patricia Cornwell

Patricia Cornwell
Patricia Cornwell via Wikipedia, Public Domain

Patricia Cornwell is best known for her Kay Scarpetta series of true crime books. This New York Times bestselling series follows a female chief medical examiner as she tracks down murderers and serial killers. Cornwell also writes the Andy Brazil, Captain Chase, and Win Garano series, with several stand-alone books.

Overall, she has sold over 100 million copies of her books. She wrote her first book, Postmortem, while working for the Chief Medical Examiner, giving her knowledge to pen the work. Born in 1956, Cornwell continues to write today while funding scholarships to help new authors get their starts.

“Survival my only hope. Success my only revenge”

Patricia Cornwell
Postmortem (Kay Scarpetta, 1)
  • Cornwell, Patricia (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 448 Pages - 03/30/2021 (Publication Date) - Pocket Books (Publisher)

2. Jeffery Deaver

Jeffery Deaver
Jeffery Deaver via Wikipedia, Public Domain

Born in 1950, Jeffery Deaver writes mystery and crime novels. This American author is a former journalist and attorney who turned his attention to writing novels after spending some time practicing law. To date, he has sold 50 million copies of his books worldwide, and The Bodies Left Behind was Novel of the Year by the International Thriller Writers association. The Bone Collector is another famous work. He is well-known for his Lincoln Rhyme thriller books.

“She was reflecting back on a truth she had learned over the years: that people heard what they wanted to hear, saw what they wanted, believed what they wanted.”

Jeffery Deaver
The Bodies Left Behind: A Novel
  • Hardcover Book
  • Deaver, Jeffery (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 368 Pages - 11/11/2008 (Publication Date) - Simon & Schuster (Publisher)

3. Stuart Woods

Stuart Woods
Stuart Woods via Wikipedia, Public Domain

Stuart Woods has over 75 novels to his name. The prolific author was born in 1938 and passed away in 2022, but not before making a name for himself for the Stone Barrington series, a New York Times bestselling series. His work earned him the Edgar Allan Poe award for the Mystery Writers of America for his first book, Chiefs, which established him as a writer. He had over 50 novels on the New York Times bestseller list.

“Will Henry Lee stepped from his front porch with the fear and resolve of a man who has finally decided to jump from a great height into unknown waters.”

Stuart Woods
  • Woods, Stuart (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 608 Pages - 07/05/2005 (Publication Date) - G.P. Putnam's Sons (Publisher)

4. Lee Child

Lee Child
Lee Child via Wikipedia, Public Domain

Lee Child, born James Dover Grant in 1954, is the author of the Jack Reacher series of thriller novels. Child started in television, spending 18 years working as a director. When he was let go after the company was restructured, he decided to try his hand at writing, which launched a very successful career. Starting with a few piles of paper and pencils, he started Jack Reacher’s story with his first novel, Killing Floor, and he, along with his son Andrew Child, has written 27 Reacher books.

“Like when people say they slept like a baby. Do they mean they slept well? Or do they mean they woke up every ten minutes, screaming?”

Lee Child
Killing Floor (Jack Reacher)
  • didn't kill no convincing anyone.
  • Child, Lee (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 576 Pages - 10/30/2012 (Publication Date) - Berkley (Publisher)

5. David Baldacci

David Baldacci
David Baldacci via Wikipedia, Public Domain

David Baldacci writes several popular crime series, including the Camel Club Series, A. Shaw Series, and Amos Decker Series. He has novels published in over 80 countries, with 150 million copies in print. All of his 47 novels for adults have made it to bestsellers lists. Memory Man, his 2015 novel, regularly tops the best David Baldacci books list.

“More guns! No guns! Second Amendment! Guns kill! No, people kill!”

David Baldacci
Memory Man (Memory Man Series, 1)
  • Baldacci, David (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 560 Pages - 02/23/2016 (Publication Date) - Grand Central Publishing (Publisher)

6. Michael Connelly

Michael Connelly
Michael Connelly via Wikipedia, Public Domain

Author of 37 novels with over 80 million copies around the globe, Michael Connelly is, perhaps, best known for his Harry Bosch series. This series of crime thriller novels follows an LAPD homicide cop as he tries to track down the truth behind murders. Bosch teams up with a young woman who is an FBI agent to solve crimes. He won the Edgar Award for Best First Mystery Novel when he published the first Bosch book, The Black Echo, in 1992.

“There was more silence and Bosch pictured his partner on the other end of the line in a $900 suit and a bankrupt frown.”

Michael Connelly
The Black Echo (A Harry Bosch Novel, 1)
  • Connelly, Michael (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 544 Pages - 04/25/2017 (Publication Date) - Grand Central Publishing (Publisher)

7. John Sandford

John Sandford writes the Lucas Davenport and Virgil Flowers mystery books. Sandford is the pen name of John Roswell Camp, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who started writing novels in 1989 with The Fool’s Run and Rules of Prey. Both books were published the same year, but Rules of Prey was more popular, so he published several sequels to the book, establishing himself as a crime fiction writer. Sandford was born in 1944 and attended the University of Iowa.

“A digital clock punched red electronic minutes into the silence.”

John Sandford
Rules of Prey (Lucas Davenport, No. 1)
  • Sandford, John (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 512 Pages - 08/02/2005 (Publication Date) - G.P. Putnam's Sons (Publisher)

8. Jonathan Kellerman

Jonathan Kellerman was born in 1949 and grew up in California, where he started his career as a cartoonist, journalist, and editor. He also studied psychology, earning a Ph.D. in the field. Kellerman’s writing was always distinctive, and he won the Samuel Goldwyn Writing Award for fiction writing in college and wrote his first novel, When the Bough Breaks, in 1985.

It became a New York Times bestseller and won the Edgar Allan Poe and Anthony Boucher Awards. He writes at least one crime novel a year and taps into his knowledge of psychotherapy to write these works. For further reading on thriller books, check out our list of the best Robin Cook books. You can also use the search bar at the top right of the page to search for the best authors.

“It was shaping up as a beautiful morning. The last thing I wanted to hear about was murder.”

Jonathan Kellerman
When the Bough Breaks: An Alex Delaware Novel
  • Kellerman, Jonathan (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 448 Pages - 03/26/2013 (Publication Date) - Ballantine Books (Publisher)

9. John Grisham

John Grisham
John Grisham via Wikipedia, Public Domain

John Grisham’s page-turning crime novels are some of the best legal thriller books. He often writes about Mississippi, where he was raised, and he has had several books become movies or television shows. Grisham is the winner of the Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction and was awarded the Library of Congress Creative Achievement award. The Firm, his 1991 novel, remains one of his most famous.

“Some of our clients have not been saints, but no lawyer can dictate morals to his client.”

John Grisham
The Firm: A Novel (The Firm Series)
  • Grisham, John (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 560 Pages - 08/25/2009 (Publication Date) - Vintage (Publisher)

10. Harlan Coben

Harlan Coben
Harlan Coben via Wikipedia, Public Domain

Coben was the first thriller writer to win all three Edgar, Shamus, and Anthony awards. He is masterful at weaving suspense and humor into his books. Tell No One was his first work, and it shot to the top of the New York Times bestseller list the year it was published. Looking for more spy novel reading material? Check out our round-up of Anthony Horowitz’s best books! Or use the search bar at the top right of the page to search for the best authors.

“Here is the truth about tragedy: it’s good for the soul.”

Harlan Coben
Tell No One: A Novel
  • Coben, Harlan (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 384 Pages - 08/25/2009 (Publication Date) - Dell (Publisher)

FAQs About Authors Like James Patterson

What was the first James Patterson book?

The Thomas Berryman Number was the first book Patterson published. It debuted in 1976 and launched him into his successful career.

What is the next James Patterson book?

In January of 2023, James Patterson plans to release The House of Wolves, a collaboration with Mike Lupica. Walk the Blue Line is scheduled for February 2023.

What is the best James Patterson book?

Alex Cross’s book 1, Along Came a Spider is frequently listed as the best book by James Patterson. First to Die, the first Women’s Murder Club Series book, is often also listed high.