AARP Eye Center
Most weeks, avid readers scanning the best-seller lists are likely to find at least three James Patterson books on them — some solo projects, others collaborations with other writers. They're thrillers, children's graphic novels, middle-grade fiction and nonfiction, including his current big hit Walk in My Combat Boots: True Stories From America's Bravest Warriors, cowritten with Matt Eversman and Chris Mooney.
Patterson, 74, is the world's best-selling author by many accounts, and he's now conquering a new storytelling format with The Coldest Case, an audio-only Audible Original story that Patterson describes as a “movie for your ears.” It's a prequel to his 2017 best seller The Black Book (written with David Ellis) — whose sequel, The Red Book, is out in print today — and the first of a slate of at least five audio projects he has planned with Audible. Characters in the four-hour-long story are voiced by Breaking Bad's Aaron Paul, Krysten Ritter, Nathalie Emmanuel and Beau Bridges. (Subscribers can download it at Audible.com.)
AARP Membership — $12 for your first year when you sign up for Automatic Renewal
Get instant access to members-only products and hundreds of discounts, a free second membership, and a subscription to AARP The Magazine.
It won't surprise anyone who is familiar with Patterson to hear that he has lots more in the works, including a second thriller, The President's Daughter, cowritten with former President Bill Clinton, out in June. He's also continuing his longtime, devoted support of independent bookstores (he recently donated $500,000 to help them survive the pandemic) and children's literacy.
"I'm staying busy,” he says, matter-of-factly, during a phone interview from his Palm Beach, Florida, home.
More from the interview:
'The Coldest Case’ is ‘very cool’
It's a prequel to The Black Book, which is my favorite of my books. And they did a great job with sound design and original music. ... It has some similarities to the way they used to do radio a long time back, only the production values are much better than they were back then. And it has a great cast: Aaron Paul plays Billy Harney, who, in addition to being a detective, does stand-up comedy in Chicago at a cop bar.
Writing an audio story is different than writing a book
You have to pace it out. For each episode, you want to end it with a little bit of a bang. And you have to keep using the [characters'] names so people can keep track of who's who, which makes it a little awkward, but it's doable. I like doing new things.