The story of the horrific Idaho student murders is in the works for the page and the small screen. Bestselling author James Patterson and award-winning journalist Vicky Ward are teaming on a nonfiction book about the 2022 murders of the four University of Idaho students. Additionally, Skydance Television intends to option the rights to the book for development as a docuseries, based on Patterson and Ward’s investigation, as part of their first-look deal with Patterson.
The book, which does not yet have a title or release date, will be published by Little Brown and Company. According to the publishing company, in it, Patterson and Ward will give a dramatic account of the November 2022 murders of the four students in the Idaho college town of Moscow and the investigation of suspect Bryan Kohberger.
Patterson and Ward will draw from dozens of exclusive interviews, extensive on-the-ground reporting, copious court transcripts, and also will attend Kohberger’s trial. “They will go beyond the headlines to tell the highly detailed story of this complex and horrific crime, while honoring the victims in a compassionate portrait of the lives the four lived before being tragically cut short,” according to the publisher.
Kohberger was indicted earlier this week on burglary and four counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Xana Kernodle, Ethan Chapin, Madison Mogen and Kaylee Goncalves.
“The last time a true crime story haunted me this deeply was when I covered Jeffrey Epstein in Filthy Rich,” said Patterson. “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 In Cold Blood. It’s a compelling challenge, and Vicky and I are both eager to investigate further.”
Story Syndicate, the production company behind Harry & Meghan, Stolen Youth: Inside the Cult at Sarah Lawrence and the upcoming Tribeca premiering Take Care of Maya for Netflix, is finalizing negotiations to produce the project in partnership with Skydance.
“The story of the Idaho murders is as fascinating as it is chilling,” said Ward. “You have a small town unused to locking its doors. You have a tight-knit group of popular, seemingly happy-go-lucky, good-looking college kids. And you have an alleged murderer, who is sphinx-like and a student of crime. He knows something we don’t. What is it? While taking care not to glorify the alleged killer, how could any investigative reporter not want to unspool this deeply unsettling, horrific mystery. I am privileged to be going on this journey with James Patterson, America’s greatest storyteller. Follow us as we dive-in.”
Patterson’s enduring fictional characters and series include Alex Cross, Women’s Murder Club, Michael Bennett, along with such acclaimed works of narrative nonfiction as Walk in My Combat Boots, E.R. Nurses and his autobiography, James Patterson by James Patterson. Bill Clinton (The President Is Missing), Dolly Parton (Run, Rose, Run) and Michael Crichton are among his notable literary collaborators.
Ward is an investigative reporter and New York Times bestselling author and podcaster. With Patterson, she is the host and co-producer of the Audible Original series Chasing Ghislaine, about Jeffrey Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell. She and Patterson also co-produced the docuseries by the same name on Discovery Plus. She is the author of several nonfiction books, most recently Kushner, Inc.: Greed. Power. Corruption, an instant New York Times bestseller.