Bret Easton Ellis Best Books 📚

Following in the steps of writers like Stephen King, Bret Easton Ellis’ stories center around a small geographical area in California.

Bret Easton Ellis

American Author

From books that created controversies to more subtle ones focusing on teenage characters, Bret Easton Ellis’s mastery of satire, black comedy, and metafiction made him a critically acclaimed author in American literature. After the success of ‘American Psycho,’ Bret dialed down the intensity of his later novels. He would later admit that he got the inspiration for some of the characters in his stories from dark points in his life. Bret Easton Ellis primarily writes about young characters who struggle to find their place in a world of decadence and consumerism.

Less Than Zero

Before leaving high school, Bret began writing ‘Less Than Zero,’ his debut novel, in 1980. He cited that he got inspired by ‘American Gigolo’ and Joan Didion.

The story follows the life of Clay, a wealthy college student who returns to Los Angeles, his hometown, for the winter break. On getting to his town, Clay notices how bad the toxicity of LA culture has gotten and alienates himself. However, he reunites with Blair and Trent, his ex-girlfriend and model friend. With them, he indulges in many drug-filled parties and partakes in nightstands with many men and women. 

While attending parties, Clay reminisces on his former best friend, Julian, and wonders where he might be. He decides to locate his friend and eventually succeeds. Clay lends Julian money but suspects his friend is lying as he stated he wanted to use it for an abortion.

On prying deeper, Clay learns that Julian is into prostitution to pay the debts accumulated from fueling his heroin addiction. Clay gets forced to watch his friend have sex with a closeted gay man and later leaves the home of his drug dealer after he gets invited to sleep with a sex slave.

The Rules of Attraction

After the controversial success of ‘Less Than Zero,’ Bret released his second novel, ‘The Rules of Attraction,’ in September 1987. It is narrated in the first-person and follows the life of three Camden College students, Paul Denton, Sean Bateman, and Lauren Hynde. Uninterested in school activities, Paul, Lauren, and Sean partake in never-ending parties. A love triangle gets formed between Lauren, who dates Sean only because her boyfriend, Victor, is in Europe, and Paul, who secretly loves Sean.

American Psycho

The third book of Bret Easton Ellis, ‘American Psycho’ got published in 1991. Written in the first-person perspective, it follows the life of Wall Street investment banker Patrick Bateman. Working on an obsession with material things, Patrick becomes jealous of one of his colleagues, Paul Owen, and invites him for a drink. After getting Paul drunk, Patrick takes him back to his house and brutally murders him. 

Ecstatic from his action, Bateman indulges in crueler feats, becoming a serial killer. He tortures Bethany, his ex-girlfriend, and kills Christie and Elizabeth. Patrick kills a five-year-old boy, a homeless man, a security guard, and a Japanese delivery boy. Unable to contain his sadistic desire, he goes on the run and confesses to his lawyer Harold Carnes, about his crimes. However, he learns that Paul is not dead when he meets Carnes.


Published in 1998, ‘Glamorama’ is a satirical fictional novel by Bret Easton Ellis. It follows the story of Victor Ward, an A-list model who gets entangled in a world of terrorism when F. Fred Pakalon offers him 300,000 dollars to track down his former classmate James Fields, a double agent working with a terrorist organization. Though Pakalon appears alongside Victor’s father, Senator Johnson, Ward learns the mysterious man who brought the offer to him never existed, as the director tells him there is no such person.

Lunar Park

‘Lunar Park’ is a mock memoir by Bret. It was his first book to get written in the past tense narration. The novel tells the story of Ellis, a man who gets married to actress Jayne Dennis. They move to Midland, a wealthy town outside New York City. With 9/11 in New York, suicide bombings and dirty bombs occur in Florida. Ellis starts suspecting his house is haunted. Though his wife and family are skeptical of believing him, events begin happening, with Ellis’s dead father and his son, Robby, at the center of it all.

Imperial Bedrooms

‘Imperial Bedrooms’ is the sequel to Bret’s debut novel ‘Less Than Zero.’ It follows the lives of the characters in the first novel. Clay becomes a film exec, Trent Burroughs marries Blair, Julian, Clay’s best friend, becomes a pimp representing struggling actors, and Rip, Clay’s former drug dealer, becomes a cartel leader. 

Clay returns to Los Angeles to assist in the casting for his new film. He tries to get into a relationship with Rain Turner, a woman whom he deceives about giving a role, even though he knows she will never get accepted because of her terrible acting skills. Clay discovers that Rip is obsessed with Rain and learns she is Julian’s girlfriend. He conspires with Rip, who kills Julian. When Rain confronts him about her boyfriend’s death, Clay rapes her. Rip tries to frame him for Julian’s murder, but Blair contacts him, stating she can offer him an alibi if he gives her what she wants.

The Shards

Bret Easton Ellis’s masterful new novel, ‘The Shards’ tells the story of Bret, a seventeen-year-old senior at Buckley Prep School. When Robert Mallory, a new student with a mysterious past, arrives at Buckley, Bret gets obsessed with him and the Trawler, a serial killer, who taunts him and his friends. Addicted to unhealthy desires of obsession, Bret spirals into isolation and paranoia as the identities of Robert and the Trawler inch closer to an intersection.


Did Patrick Bateman first appear in The Rules of Attraction?

Yes. Before becoming the primary character in ‘American Psycho,’ Patrick Bateman appeared in ‘The Rules of Attraction,’ a novel about the lives of three Camden College Students, Sean Bateman, Lauren Hynde, and Paul Denton.

What is Bret Easton Ellis’ best book?

‘American Psycho’ is Bret’s best book. After ‘Less Than Zero’s’ success, he released ‘The Rules of Attraction and later ‘American Psycho.’ Ellis’ 1991 novel about Patrick Bateman became his most successful novel. However, it also garnered the highest controversy.

Did Less Than Zero have a sequel?

Yes. ‘Imperial Bedrooms’ is ‘Less Than Zero’s’ sequel. It follows the lives of its adult characters. Clay becomes a successful film magnate, and after falling for Rain, Julian’s girlfriend, he conspires with Rip, leading to Julian’s death.

What happened to Patrick Bateman after American Psycho?

No one knows what happens to Patrick after he learns he did not kill Paul Owen. He may have continued living normally or could have become worse.

Joshua Ehiosun
About Joshua Ehiosun
Joshua is an undying lover of literary works. With a keen sense of humor and passion for coining vague ideas into state-of-the-art worded content, he ensures he puts everything he's got into making his work stand out. With his expertise in writing, Joshua works to scrutinize pieces of literature.
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