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Topic: James Patterson Reading Order?

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Subject: James Patterson Reading Order?
Date Posted: 3/14/2014 3:23 AM ET
Member Since: 1/22/2013
Posts: 1,748
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I'm not sure if this is the right place to put this, and I'm sorry if it's not.

I'm interested in reading both the Women's Murder Club (1st to Die, 2nd Chance, 3rd Degree, etc) and Alex Cross series, and I already own a couple of the books, but I would like to know if these series need to be read in the order they were published in order for the story-line to make sense. Will I get hopelessly lost if I started with book... say #5?

Date Posted: 3/14/2014 4:10 AM ET
Member Since: 5/18/2007
Posts: 13,192
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You should probably move this to the mystery genre forum but I will answer you here.

I love Patterson. I am a stickler for order. I've read all his Women's Mystery Club in order but not the Cross books.  I'm not lost with the Cross series but I am missing some chronological storylines. It's not bothering me and it's written in a way that I'm never lost.

However, that chronology is more important  in the other series because he has a long running mystery that runs through several of the Women's Mystey Club books and the storylines moving through the series are more defined. At least they seem to be to me. Others might have a differing opinion. But even in this series, I would never say you'd be lost. 

Look at it this way - take the TV show Law and Order - coming  in, in the middle of the season you'd understand "tonight's" mystery but there would be background things you'd have to catch up on. Same thing with Patterson. 

 

 



Last Edited on: 3/14/14 4:12 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 3/14/2014 5:09 AM ET
Member Since: 8/26/2006
Posts: 9,333
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Here is the Patterson websites list of his books (separated by series) in reverse chronological order -- most recent publications are on top:

http://www.jamespatterson.com/books.php#.UyLGwF5zW2w

Date Posted: 3/14/2014 10:49 AM ET
Member Since: 3/13/2009
Posts: 202
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I thought it interesting when Susan W. wrote that she thought that reading the Women's mystery Club was more important to read in order that the Alex Cross series. Because I agree entirely. The lives of the 5 main characters in WMC keep changing--marriages, deaths, babies, promotions-- and you better understand to keep that sequence. But Cross' family life, job situation and friendships basically stay the same and each story pretty well stands alone. The exception to that is his string of "girlfriends" and that changes often enough that it is somewhat irrelevant. They are all nominal variations of the same woman: The most beautiful, wonderful, kindest, sweetest woman in the world who changes her name every few books.

I am more put off by the fact that he puts his name in large type on every cover but no longer writes them . The real author is in smaller type at bottom of cover. But that's another story.  

Date Posted: 3/14/2014 1:16 PM ET
Member Since: 2/5/2007
Posts: 30,800
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Patterson In Order

Date Posted: 3/14/2014 3:23 PM ET
Member Since: 1/22/2013
Posts: 1,748
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Thank you for the input and the links, those are very helpful! I recently received an ARC copy of The Player by Brad Parks which is the 5th book in the series, and I was able to read it and understand the story, but there was background stuff that was referenced that I didn't get having not read the first four. So, I guess it's kind of the same thing here: do at my own risk. I think I'll still read the WMC series in order though.



Last Edited on: 3/14/14 3:24 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 3/14/2014 3:25 PM ET
Member Since: 5/18/2007
Posts: 13,192
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Thomas, I know what you mean. I'm actually beginning to know his "under" writers quite well. There are a couple I don't enjoy as much. He does still have control over the content, however, and does set the outline and checks the content. He has final say.

I'm a journalist and did an interview with his first partner writer, Andrew Gross. I learned a lot about the process. It was interesting. The partnership gives unknowns a good launch pad, I think. He's a great mentor, from what I understand but he certainly has taken a lot of heat for the parade of writers he partners with and the number of books that are churned out under his name.

He does still write all the Cross books - maybe that why I like them better. I think the Women's Murder Club is still a good series but after Gross left, I stopped enjoying them as much. I just don't care that much for Maxine Paetro's writing style. The plots and stories are still good though, so that's why I keep reading them.

Could never get into his Private series. I tried a couple times - no go.

Date Posted: 3/14/2014 3:32 PM ET
Member Since: 5/18/2007
Posts: 13,192
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Happy reading Jessica! :)

Just as an FYI - three of the Cross books are movies. Kiss the Girls and Along Came a Spider star Morgan Freeman as Cross. Awesome movies!!!

The newest movie, Alex Cross, came out in 2012. I haven't seen it yet but it stars Tyler Perry as Cross. I view Perry as comedy so I'm wondering how I'll feel about the casting after I watch it. To me, nothing can replace Freeman. I think that's why I haven't jumped to watch it.

Date Posted: 3/14/2014 9:23 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,188
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The newest movie, Alex Cross, came out in 2012. I haven't seen it yet but it stars Tyler Perry as Cross. I view Perry as comedy so I'm wondering how I'll feel about the casting after I watch it. To me, nothing can replace Freeman. I think that's why I haven't jumped to watch it.

I didn't know a new one had been produced. I can't imagine anyone else playing cross besides Freeman. Since seeing Kiss the Girls, that is the face and voice in my mind when I read Cross books.
 
Now I have a craving to go home and read a Patterson book. 
Date Posted: 3/15/2014 1:41 AM ET
Member Since: 1/22/2013
Posts: 1,748
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While we're at it.... are there any of his stand-alone books that you recommend? I read Zoo and loved it, even though it was probably the other author who actually wrote it. I own Toys, Beach Road and Now You See Her, but have not read them yet.

Date Posted: 3/15/2014 12:24 PM ET
Member Since: 5/18/2007
Posts: 13,192
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Beach Road was one of my favorites. So was Honeymoon, which was a standalone at the time. I've since read Second Honeymoon and it was good too.  I think my absolute favorite standalone was The Postcard Killers though. I loved it! 

I have to say, I did not like Toys. It was out of his norm and I don't like futuristic stuff. 



Last Edited on: 3/15/14 3:08 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 3/15/2014 2:35 PM ET
Member Since: 1/22/2013
Posts: 1,748
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I actually really love futuristic, so sounds like something I'll like. Thank you for the other recommendations though, I'll check them out.

Date Posted: 3/15/2014 5:32 PM ET
Member Since: 8/26/2006
Posts: 9,333
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To me, nothing can replace Freeman yes

I'll watch anything with Freeman in it.

Date Posted: 3/15/2014 6:19 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,424
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I do have to say this about Patterson, he puts the name of the other writer on the cover.  In addition, he is very public about promoting children's literacy and the value of libraries.  

Yes, he does this.  But he is upfront and public about it.