PERSONAL: Married; wife's name Lynn; children: three.
ADDRESSES: Home—Westchester County, NY. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Little, Brown and Company, 1271 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020.
(With James Patterson) 2nd Chance ("Women's Murder Club" series), Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 2002.
(With James Patterson) The Jester, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 2003.
(With James Patterson) 3rd Degree ("Women's Murder Club" series), Little Brown (New York, NY), 2004.
(With James Patterson) Lifeguard, Little, Brown (New York, NY), 2005.
ADAPTATIONS: Books adapted for audio include 2nd Chance (unabridged; seven CDs), Time Warner; The Jester (unabridged; eleven CDs), Time Warner, 2003; 3rd Degree (unabridged; six CDs), Time Warner, 2004; and Lifeguard (unabridged; seven CDs), Time Warner, 2005.
SIDELIGHTS: Andrew Gross has written several novels with James Patterson, the first being 2nd Chance for the "Women's Murder Club" series, which Patterson launched with a previous book, 1st to Die. The four females who make up the club are newspaper reporter Cindy Thomas, district attorney Jill Bernhardt, medical examiner Claire Washburn, and San Francisco homicide detective Lindsay Boxer. In 2nd Chance Lindsay is recovering from the death of her lover and conflicted about meeting her father, who abandoned the family when she was a child. She investigates the shooting of a black girl on the steps of a church, and Cindy makes the connection between this murder and another that was racially motivated. However, when two police officers are also killed they realize that these are more than just hate crimes. Booklist contributor Kristine Huntley wrote that "this novel solidifies the new series," while People reviewer Samantha Miller called 2nd Chance "a solidly engineered whodunit."
In the next book in the series, 3rd Degree, Lindsay comes up against a group of terrorists called the August Spies, who are committing crimes against the privileged and the wealthy. Lindsay and Jill are jogging when they witness such a crime, and Lindsay enters a burning townhouse and saves a child. Terrorism is one timely topic addressed in this story; the other is abuse. Lindsay notices bruising on Jill's shoulder and discovers that there is trouble at home. Meanwhile, Department of Homeland Security agent Joe Molinari becomes the new man in Lindsay's life.
The Jester is a very different novel set in the Middle Ages. The book begins in the year 1096 and was described as a "bodice-ripper-for-guys" by Sean Daly in People. Hugh De Luc is an innkeeper whose wife, Sophie, is kidnapped and whose son is killed by Lord Baldwin while he is off fighting in the Crusades. Seeking revenge, Hugh poses as a jester and gains entrance to Baldwin's castle, where he loses one love and finds another, but his life remains in danger because Baldwin seeks a relic he believes Hugh brought back from the Crusades. A Publishers Weekly reviewer wrote that "from start to finish, this is supersmart popular fiction, slick yet stirring, packed with colorful details of medieval life, bursting with unforgettable characters and clever tropes and themes."
Returning to contemporary times, Lifeguard is about a robbery gone bad. Nick Kelly and four of his friends have moved from Brockton, Massachusetts, to West Palm Beach, Florida, where Ned has a job as a resort lifeguard. There he meets the beautiful and wealthy Tess McAuliffe and falls in love. He also becomes involved with his friends in a plan to steal artworks from a wealthy collector, a job they hope will pay five million dollars. Ned's role is to set off alarms in other homes to confuse the police. When the four friends break into the house, however, they find that the paintings are not there. Both they and Tess are killed, and Ned's name goes to the top of the FBI's most wanted list. Ned returns to Boston but is captured by FBI agent Ellie Shurtleff, and after he convinces her that he has been set up as a serial killer, they try to find the actual murderers and thieves. Library Journal contributor Ken Bolton declared Lifeguard to be "the quintessential summer read."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, January 1, 2002, Kristine Huntley, review of 2nd Chance, p. 777; February 1, 2003, Kristine Huntley, review of The Jester, p. 956.
Library Journal, July 1, 2005, Ken Bolton, review of Lifeguard, p. 70.
People, March 18, 2002, Samantha Miller, review of 2nd Chance, p. 43; March 10, 2003, Sean Daly, review of The Jester, p. 45.
Publishers Weekly, February 3, 2003, review of The Jester, p. 55; February 23, 2004, review of 3rd Degree, p. 49; May 16, 2005, review of Lifeguard, p. 35.
Reviewer's Bookwatch, October, 2004, Marty Duncan, review of The Jester; March, 2005, Gary Roen, review of 3rd Degree.
BookReporter.com, http://www.bookreporter.com/ (January 7, 2006), Joe Hartlaub, review of The Jester.
Books 'n' Bytes, http://www.booksnbytes.com/ (January 7, 2006), Pat Reid, reviews of 2nd Chance and 3rd Degree; Harriet Klausner, reviews of 2nd Chance and 3rd Degree; Fiona Walker, review of The Jester; and Luke Croll, review of 3rd Degree.
MostlyFiction.com, http://mostlyfiction.com/ (October 30, 2005), Kam Aures, review of Lifeguard.
Seattle Post-Intelligencer Online, http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/ (March 7, 2003), Jill Barton, review of The Jester.