Richard North Patterson

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Richard North Patterson (Berkeley, California, February 22, 1947) is an American fiction writer.

Education and Law Career[edit]

Patterson graduated in 1968 from Ohio Wesleyan University and has been awarded that school’s Distinguished Achievement Citation and his national fraternity’s Alumni Achievement Award. He is a 1971 graduate of Case Western Reserve University’s School of Law, and a recipient of that University’s President’s Award for Distinguished Alumni and its President’s Award for Excellence. He has served as an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Ohio; a trial attorney for the Securities & Exchange Commission in Washington, D.C. and San Francisco; and was the SEC’s liaison to the Watergate Special Prosecutor. More recently, Mr. Patterson was a partner in the San Francisco office of McCutchen, Doyle, Brown & Enersen, now Bingham-McCutchen. In 1993, he retired from the practice of law to devote himself to writing. He has served on the boards of his undergraduate and law schools, the National Partnership for Women and Families, the Family Violence Prevention Fund, PEN Center West, and the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, and was Chairman of Common Cause, the grassroots citizens lobby founded by John Gardner. He now serves on the Advisory Council of J Street, the pro-Israel, pro-peace advocacy group.

Writing career[edit]

Mr. Patterson studied fiction writing with Jesse Hill Ford at the University of Alabama at Birmingham; his first short story was published in The Atlantic Monthly; and his first novel, The Lasko Tangent, won an Edgar Allan Poe Award in 1979. Between 1981 and 1985, he published The Outside Man, Escape the Night, and Private Screening, which made the New York Times bestseller list in 1994. His first novel in eight years, Degree of Guilt (1993), and Eyes of A Child (1995), were combined into a mini-series by NBC TV. Both were international bestsellers, and Degree of Guilt was awarded the French Grand Prix de Littérature Policière in 1995. The Final Judgment (1995), Silent Witness (1997), No Safe Place (1998), and Dark Lady (1999) all became immediate international bestsellers, and in 2011 Silent Witness became a feature film on TNT. Protect and Defend (2000), about the controversial nomination of the first woman to be Chief Justice and her entanglement in an incendiary lawsuit regarding late-term abortion and parental consent received a Maggie Award from Planned Parenthood for its treatment of issues regarding reproductive rights.

Balance of Power (2003) confronted one of America’s most divisive political and social issues —gun violence— and was selected by USA Today as its book of the month selection for November. Conviction (2005) focused on the law and politics of capital punishment. Exile (2007) dealt with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and was nominated for South Africa’s leading literary award. The Race (2007) concerned a dramatic campaign for President, and Eclipse (2009) dealt with human rights, Africa, and the geopolitics of oil. The Spire (2009), was a novel of psychological suspense, and In The Name of Honor (2010), portrays a military court martial for murder, and a legal defense based on PTSD. The Devil’s Light (2011) is an exhaustively researched depiction of the world of espionage and the potential for nuclear terrorism, focused on an Al Qaeda plot to steal a nuclear bomb from Pakistan in order to destroy a major Western city.

Mr. Patterson’s twentieth novel, Fall From Grace (2012), a family drama set on Martha’s Vineyard, became his sixteenth New York Times bestseller. It is the first part of a trilogy, to be followed by a prequel, Loss of Innocence, and a sequel, Eden In Winter.

Mr. Patterson has appeared on such television shows as “Today,” “Good Morning America,” “The CBS Morning Show,” “Inside Politics,” “Washington Journal,” “Buchanan and Press,” “Greta Van Susteren,” “Fox and Friends,” and “Hardball.” His articles on politics, literature, law, and foreign policy have been published in The London Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, The San Francisco Chronicle,, and The San Jose Mercury News. A frequent speaker on political, geopolitical, legal, and social issues, in 2004 Mr. Patterson spoke at Washington, D.C. rallies in support of reproductive rights, and against gun violence, and has spoken about the Israeli-Palestinian dilemma at such forums as the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. and the World Affairs Council in Dallas. His papers are collected by Boston University. In 2012, Mr. Patterson received the Silver Bullet Award from the International Thriller Writers Association for his contributions to the wider community.

Mr. Patterson lives on Martha’s Vineyard and in San Francisco and Cabo San Lucas with his wife, Dr. Nancy Clair.


The following are all novels by the author.

  • The Lasko Tangent (1979)
  • The Outside Man (1981)
  • Escape the Night (1983)
  • Private Screening (1985)
  • Degree of Guilt (1993)
  • Eyes of a Child (1995)
  • Caroline Masters (formerly titled "The Final Judgment")(1995)
  • Silent Witness (1997)
  • No Safe Place (1998)
  • Dark Lady (1999)
  • Protect and Defend (2000)
  • Balance of Power (2003)
  • Conviction (2005)
  • Exile (2007)
  • The Race (2007)
  • Eclipse (2009)
  • The Spire (2009)
  • In The Name Of Honor (2010)
  • The Devil's Light (2011)
  • Fall From Grace (2012)
  • Loss of Innocence (2013) - ISBN 978-1-62365-092-6

See also the bibliography on the author's website.

External links[edit]