Most novelists stay on the sidelines during elections, and for good reason. They want to sell a lot of books, which means they need to avoid alienating a large swath of the reading public.

This year is different. Donald Trump has managed to turn hundreds of novelists into political activists. Back in May, more than 600 of them—including Stephen King, Cheryl Strayed and Michael Chabon—signed an open letter opposing Trump, noting that the Republican candidate “deliberately appeals to the basest and most violent elements in society.”

Even writers from beyond our shores have weighed in. Britain’s J.K. Rowling, author of the “Harry Potter” books, insisted earlier this summer that Trump deserves his free speech as much as anyone else.

“His freedom to speak protects my freedom to call him a bigot,” Rowling said at the PEN literary gala. “His freedom guarantees mine. Unless we take that absolute position, without caveats or apologies, we have set foot upon a road with only one destination. If you seek the removal of freedoms from an opponent simply on the grounds that they have offended you, you have crossed a line to stand alongside tyrants who imprison, torture and kill on exactly the same justification.”

Rowling has proven to be a popular campaigner this election season, but perhaps the most eloquent anti-Trump novelist turns out to be thriller writer Richard North Patterson, who has just published a long broadside against the GOP nominee on Huffington Post. The editorial is full of memorable imagery: The Republican campaign, he writes, is “mired in the swampland of Donald Trump’s own mind, creating a numbing ennui seeping through the electorate like encephalitis in slow motion.”

So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that one of the things about Trump that offends Patterson the most is that words have no true meaning to the candidate. “To call him a liar,” he writes, “is to assume deliberation in a man who cares nothing about the words he speaks beyond whether they serve him in the moment. Such people are not merely frightening—they are exhausting.”

Yet the editorial’s theme, at least for those who don’t like Trump, is optimistic. Patterson believes Americans are now fully awake to the real man who heads the Republican ticket. “August was the month,” he writes, “that a critical mass of Americans noticed that Donald Trump notices nothing but himself.”

Patterson, of course, is assuming that a critical mass of Americans thinks like he does. The polls aren’t quite so clear on this, with the latest NBC/Survey Monkey poll putting Trump just four percentage points behind Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton when Libertarian Gary Johnson and the Green Party’s Jill Stein are included. This tightening of the race comes even though Clinton is outspending Trump 10-1 in television advertising—and enjoying the editorial support of popular authors like Patterson.