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Patterson, James

Entry updated 2 January 2023. Tagged: Author.

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(1947-    ) US author who has become a chart-dominating best-seller over the past three decades, his greatest success being the Alex Cross sequence of crime thrillers featuring a Black forensic psychologist, where the occasional apparent incursion into the fantastic – such as the vampire cult in Violets Are Blue (2001), and the infernal "Mastermind" whose powers fall short of the supernatural – is found to be an evil but nonfantastic device. After some thrillers with supernatural content like The Jericho Commandment (1980) and Virgin (1980; much rev vt Cradle and All 2000), work of sf interest begins with the When the Wind Blows/Maximum Ride sequence, the initial two instalments being When the Wind Blows (1998) and The Lake House (2003), in which an exercise in Genetic Engineering has the improbable outcome of generating Mutant children with wings (see Scientific Errors) on the run from the Mad Scientist who created them; in the sequel, even more McGuffin-like, they look for refuge from the hunt. Now couched for the Young Adult market, the sequence effectively continues, though in mutated form, with Maximum Ride, Book 1: The Angel Experiment (2005), the final volume (to date) being City of the Dead (2021) with Mindy McGinnis; the various young protagonists, gaining further Superpowers when needed, fight off Werewolves and other menaces, including other young mutants in league with evil and the threat of apocalypse. There is considerable romantic activity, despite the wings. Blowback (2022) with Brendan DuBois is a Near Future Political thriller about a new American president who attempts perpetuate his regime by become a de facto dictator.

A further series, the Daniel X sequence, beginning with The Dangerous Days of Daniel X (2008) with Michael Ledwidge, assembles tropes out of Superhero Comics: the origin story of the boy with Superpowers; the Aliens who are aspirational Secret Masters of Earth; Inventions; a template sensation that the menace will reoccur, no matter how often the evil-doers are defeated. The Witch & Wizard sequence, beginning with Witch & Wizard (2009) with Cate Kiernan, pits the eponymous supernatural figures against a future totalitarian state. [JC]

James Brendan Patterson

born Newburgh, New York: 22 March 1947



When the Wind Blows/Maximum Ride

Daniel X

Witch & Wizard

House of Robots

  • House of Robots (New York: Little, Brown, 2014) with Chris Grabenstein [graph: House of Robots: hb/Juliana Neufeld]
  • Robots Go Wild! (New York: Little, Brown, 2015) with Chris Grabenstein [graph: House of Robots: hb/]
  • Robot Revolution (New York: Little, Brown, 2017) with Chris Grabenstein [graph: House of Robots: hb/]


  • Zoo (Boston, Massachusetts: Little Brown, 2012) with Michael Ledwidge [Zoo: hb/Paul Photography, Ben Horton]
  • Zoo 2 (Boston, Massachusetts: Little Brown, 2012) with Max DiLallo [Zoo: pb/miljko]

Crazy House

  • Crazy House (Boston, Massachusetts: Little Brown/Jimmy Patterson, 2017) with Gabrielle Charbonnet [Crazy House: hb/]
  • The Fall of Crazy House (Boston, Massachusetts: Little Brown/Jimmy Patterson, 2019) with Gabrielle Charbonnet [Crazy House: hb/]

Doc Savage

  • The Perfect Assassin (New York: Grand Central Publishing, 2022) with Brian Sitts [Doc Savage: hb/]

individual titles

  • The Jericho Commandment (New York: Crown Publishers, 1980) [hb/]
  • Virgin (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1980) [hb/]
    • Cradle and All (New York: Little Brown, 2000) [much rev vt of the above: hb/Theo Rudnak]
  • You've Been Warned (New York: Little Brown, 2007) with Howard Roughan [hb/]
  • Toys (Boston, Massachusetts: Little Brown, 2011) with Neil McMahon [hb/Danny O'Leary]
  • Humans, Bow Down (Boston, Massachusetts: Little Brown, 2017) with Emily Raymond and Jill Dembrowski [illus/Alexander Orchinnikov: hb/Sam Chung]
  • The Store (London: Random House Century, 2017) with Richard Dilallo [hb/]
  • Sophia, Princess Among Beasts (Boston, Massachusetts: Little Brown, 2019) with Emily Raymond [hb/]
  • The Warning (New York: Grand Central, 2019) with Robison Wells [hb/]
  • Max Einstein Saves the Future (Boston, Massachusetts: Little Brown/Jimmy Patterson, 2020) with Chris Grabenstein [hb/]
  • Best Nerds Forever (Boston, Massachusetts: Little Brown/Jimmy Patterson, 2021) with Chris Grabenstein [hb/]
  • The Noise (Boston, Massachusetts: Little Brown, 2021) with J D Barker [hb/]
  • Blowback (Boston, Massachusetts: Little Brown, 2022) with Brendan DuBois [hb/]


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