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Bryan Kohberger Case Explored by Thriller Writer James Patterson

Bryan Kohberger Case Explored by Thriller Writer James Patterson

One of America’s most famous novelists is planning to write a true-crime book about the Idaho college murders, after James Patterson said he had become intrigued by the case.

Patterson, who has written a number of bestsellers, including the Alex Cross series, claims he uncovered new information involving the case while he was working on a non-fiction account of the deaths that investigators allege were carried out by Bryan Kohberger. The writer revealed plans for his latest project in May and gave further details during an interview with NewsNation on Tuesday.

The author, 76, who is co-writing the book with investigative journalist Vicky Ward, had previously said he had been “haunted” by the crime, which shocked the U.S. and made headlines around the world after four University of Idaho students were stabbed to death in the early hours of November 13, 2022.

Bryan Kohberger appears at a hearing in Latah County District Court on January 5, 2023, in Moscow, Idaho. He has been charged with the murders of four college students.
Ted S. Warren – Pool/Getty Images

The victims—Kaylee Goncalves, Madison Mogen, Xana Kernodle, and Ethan Chapin—were killed at a shared student house in the college town of Moscow, Idaho. A manhunt for the murderer was launched that continued for weeks, sparking frustration from the victims’ families.


Criminology PhD student Kohberger, 28, who studied at Washington State University was arrested at the end of December at his parents’ home in Albrightsville, Pennsylvania. He now stands accused of four counts of first-degree murder. He stood silent in court in May this year when asked to enter his plea, prompting the judge to record his silence as meaning “not guilty,” as is usual in such cases. He is due to face trial in October and could face the death penalty if convicted.

“The last time a true-crime story haunted me this deeply was when I covered Jeffrey Epstein in Filthy Rich,” Patterson told entertainment industry website Deadline on May 19. “The Idaho murders have captured imaginations all around the world and I’m as caught up in it as anyone else. Because all of this happened in such a small town, there are definitely echoes of [Truman Capote’s true-crime book] In Cold Blood.”

Author James Patterson
James Patterson speaks during BookExpo 2017 at Javits Center on June 2, 2017 in New York City. The author is planning to write a book on the 2022 Idaho college murders after claiming to have found new information.
John Lamparski/Getty Images

Patterson told NewsNation host Leland Vittert that he decided to write the book after he found himself asking so many questions about the attacks. “Why did he murder these young people? What is the effect on the town, on the families? He seemed to want to create the perfect murder. He didn’t. What went wrong and what happened beforehand? […]Did he commit any great crimes before he went out to Idaho? There’s a lot of questions and that’s what drove me to write the book.”

Patterson also revealed he is interested in the impact the crime has had on the small town of Moscow. Besides the psychological impact of the tragedy, Moscow has been left struggling to cope with the financial pressures of funding the police investigation.

“This is Moscow, Idaho, a wonderful college town, good kids, and all of a sudden, this terrible thing happens. And the town isn’t really ready for it,” Patterson said. “They haven’t had things like this. They don’t have murderers out there like this. The detectives have not dealt with stuff like this before. The prosecutor hasn’t.”

When asked by Vittert whether there was “anything you’ve uncovered so far that is not in the public record,” Patterson replied: “Yeah, but we’re not telling it tonight!”


The book’s title and release date have not yet been announced by publisher Little, Brown and Company, which said it will “draw from dozens of exclusive interviews, extensive on-the-ground reporting, and copious court transcripts.”

However, Patterson told NewsNation the book will come out before the trial, which is scheduled for early October 2023.

Newsweek has reached out by email to Little, Brown and Company for further information and comment.

Published: 2023-06-08 09:44:30

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