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James Patterson holds Guinness World Records for writing the most #1 New York Times bestsellers, and being the first author to sell more than a million e-books. With work spanning nearly every genre – from thrillers and romance novels to non-fiction and children’s books – Patterson publishes up to a dozen titles a year to legions of adoring fans.

For a recent Goodreads piece on his recommended reading, Patterson spoke on the importance of curling up with a page-turner, now more than ever:

“There has quite possibly never been a better time to stay home and read. I want to thank all of the essential workers who must continue doing their jobs in these uncertain times. For the rest of us, it’s our duty to stay indoors – and lose ourselves in a good book.

And there’s nothing better than a good thriller to transport readers to a different place – and most importantly, keep them turning the pages. Sure, there are crimes galore in these books, but a good mystery is about so much more than a murder. It needs to be packed with interesting characters and surprising twists if it’s going to get me hooked.”

Find James Patterson’s favorite fictional thrillers below, and complement with the reading books of Stephen King and Dean Koontz. For further insight into his process – from developing characters to publishing and marketing a finished work – check out his Masterclass on writing.


Cutter and Bone by Newton Thornburg

Lush Life by Richard Price

The Digger’s Game by George V. Higgins

Night Dogs by Kent Anderson

The Ice Harvest by Scott Phillips

The Day of the Jackal by Frederick Forsyth

Marathon Man by William Goldman

Devil in a Blue Dress by Walter Mosley (also rec’d by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar)

Fletch by Gregory McDonald

Killing Floor by Lee Child

LaBrava by Elmore Leonard

Lethal White by Robert Galbraith

The Neon Rain by James Lee Burke

Hell to Pay by George Pelecanos

The Poet by Michael Connelly

Chiefs by Stuart Woods

The Black Book by James Patterson

Deliverance by James Dickey

Dark of the Moon by John Sandford

The Force by Don Winslow

(via Goodreads)
Categories: Writers

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