One of the best selling authors in the world, James Patterson is known for writing dozens of mystery thrillers, including the Alex Cross series of detective stories. He's also known for using some of the money he's made to fund college scholarships and to promote reading and a love of books. Patterson graduated in 1969 from Manhattan College, then got a graduate degree in English from Vanderbilt University. His plan to get a doctorate fell by the wayside as he went into the advertising business. On the side, he began writing novels. His first book, 1976's The Thomas Berryman Number, won an Edgar Award, and Patterson was off and running. His best known protagonist is Alex Cross, a forensic psychologist from Washington, D.C. Cross made his first appearances in Along Came a Spider (1993) and Kiss the Girls (1995), both of which were made into movies with Morgan Freeman as Cross. Patterson has been writing full time since 1996, often in collaboration with other authors, and it's said he's sold more than 300 million books across the globe. His other successful series include the Women's Murder Club (since 2001) and the young adult fantasy series Maximum Ride (since 2005).
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