About Richard North Patterson
Richard North Patterson graduated in 1968 from Ohio Wesleyan University and has been awarded their Distinguished Achievement Citation. He is a 1971 graduate of the Case Western Reserve University's School of Law, and a recipient of their President's Award for Distinguished Alumni. He has served as an assistant attorney general for the state of Ohio; a trial attorney for the Securities and Exchange Commission in Washington, D.C., and San Francisco; and was the SEC's liaison to the Watergate special prosecutor. More recently, 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.
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 Allen Poe Award in 1979. Between 1981 and 1985, he published The Outside Man, Escape the Night, and Private Screening. His first novel in eight years, Degree of Guilt (1993), and his Eyes of a Child (1995) were combined into a miniseries by NBC TV. Both were international bestsellers, and Degree of Guilt was awarded the French Grand Prix de Litterature Policiere in 1995. Caroline Masters (originally published as The Final Judgment, 1995), Silent Witness (1997), No Safe Place (1998), and Dark Lady (1999) all became immediate international bestsellers. 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, became Patterson's seventh consecutive international bestseller and received a Maggie Award from Planned Parenthood for its treatment of issues regarding reproductive rights.
Balance of Power confronted one of America's most divisive political and social issues—gun violence—and was chosen by USA Today as its book-of-the-month selection for November 2003. 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 was Patterson's eleventh consecutive New York Times bestseller. Eclipse (2009) deals with human rights, Africa, and the geopolitics of oil. The Spire, is a psychological suspense novel that deals with race relations on a college campus. In the Name of Honor is about the high cost of war and secrets. The Devil's Light is about an Al Quada nuclear plot and the CIA officer racing to prevent the destruction of a major Western city. In his latest, Fall From Grace the mysterious, violent death of a prominent New England patriarch exposes a nest of dark family secrets.
Patterson has appeared on such shows as Today, Good Morning America, The CBS Morning Show, Inside Politics, Washington Journal, Buchanan and Press, Greta Van Susteren, and Hardball. His articles on politics, literature, and law 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, legal, and social issues, in 2004 Patterson spoke at Washington, D.C., rallies in support of reproductive rights and against gun violence. His papers are collected by Boston University.
Patterson lives in Martha's Vineyard, San Francisco, and Cabo San Lucas with his wife, Dr. Nancy Clair.