Blog – Posted on Friday, May 07
James Patterson's Alex Cross Books in Order: All 30 Books
With thirty page-turners to fuel your inevitable addiction, there’s never been a better time to get hooked on James Patterson’s Alex Cross books. Set on the dangerous streets of Washington DC, the thrilling crime series follows a psychologist-turned-homicide detective who tracks down killers while keeping his family safe from threats.
The first book was released in 1993, and has since spawned a series of novels that have consistently topped bestseller lists — as well as a couple of critically acclaimed movies starring Morgan Freeman as Cross. Since Patterson fans insist that you read the Alex Cross books in order, we’re going to start this list by throwing it way back to ’93, then we'll give you a run down of every book in chronological order. So fasten your seatbelts!
1. Along Came a Spider (1993)
Along Came a Spider is the psychological thriller that started it all. When we first meet Dr Alex Cross he’s about to cross paths with seductive Secret Service agent, Jezzie Flanagan, who seemingly has a thing for tough guys in tweed jackets, because the pair are soon entwined in a forbidden love affair. But their romance couldn’t have come at a worse time: the infamous killer Gary Soneji is about to commit the crime of the century, and Cross and Jezzie are the only ones smart enough to catch him. With the first of the Alex Cross books, James Patterson broke new ground, brilliantly exploring the dark crevices of a killer’s mind and launching a series nobody can run from (not that they’d want to).
2. Kiss the Girls (1995)
On opposite sides of the country, two murderous masterminds are preying on beautiful women, committing some of the most frightening crimes the world has ever seen. When his own niece goes missing, it’s Alex Cross who takes up the trail, and after stringing together a bewildering series of abductions and murders, he begins to suspect that the perpetrators might be working together — co-operating, perhaps even competing, and working coast to coast. To find them, Cross will have to put himself and his family in the line of fire.
3. Jack & Jill (1996)
In the middle of the night, a U.S Senator is found murdered in his bed. Like true professionals, the killers have left no trace. What they have left is a note: a chilling promise to pick off Washington’s rich and famous — signed, “Jack and Jill”.
As the whole country awaits the death of the next victim, Alex Cross — the only detective who can crack the case — is occupied by a crime a little closer to home. Just blocks from his house, a young girl has been savagely beaten and left outside the elementary school attended by his son. Pulled in two directions, Cross will have to do the impossible to solve both cases before Jack and Jill set their sights on D.Cs ultimate celebrity target. Until then, nobody in Washington is safe.
4. Cat & Mouse (1997)
Just as Cross dares to hope that things are looking up, his old rival Gary Soneji returns for a game of cat and mouse. Escaped from prison and close to death, Soneji is piling up bodies wherever he goes, determined to go down in a blaze of glory witnessed by his only worthy opponent, Alex Cross.
Across the pond, another frenzied killer has the brilliant detective Thomas Augustine Pierce engaged in a relentless chase. When Cross is nearly murdered in his home, Pierce is called to Washington and the deadly games of their two demons intertwine. But what and where is the final trap? Who will be the mouse, and who will be the cat? Patterson’s fourth instalment in the Alex Cross series is a ticking time bomb full of threat and terror.
5. Pop Goes the Weasel (1999)
Alex Cross is engaged, but when he starts to investigate a spate of killings so twisted they’ve left every other detective reeling, he and his new fiancee find themselves entangled in more than just a tender love story.
Though the murders are not officially connected, Cross is convinced that one man, nicknamed the weasel, is responsible. His quest to unmask the killer produces a suspect called Geoffrey Schafer — a British diplomat who turns out to be the most formidable enemy Cross has ever faced. Schafer is a villain that every reader will see lurking in the shadows.
6. Roses Are Red (2000)
In Roses are Red, a series of meticulously planned robberies catch Alex Cross’s trained psychologist eye — the precise demands of the culprits and the violence that explodes when they aren’t met, convince him that this is not the work of an ordinary bank robber. Cross will have to pit his wits against the bizarre and sadistic Mastermind in an all-consuming case that pulls him away from a crisis at home and sucks him into a psychopath’s masquerade, where the slightest mistake is punishable by death. In the sixth instalment of the Alex Cross books, James Patterson once again proves that he is the master of the nonstop nightmare.
7. Violets Are Blue (2001)
Two joggers are found dead in San Francisco’s Golden Gate park, bitten, and hung upside down from a tree. Is it the work of a cult, savage beasts, or modern-day vampires? The FBI are at a loss, so Cross is called in to take up the case — just as a trail of bloody bodies sweeps the country from Las Vegas to Charleston. Desperately trying to stop the carnage, Cross plunges into a world of bloodlust and frenzy; all the while stalked, taunted, and threatened by his most terrifying nemesis, the Mastermind. In Violets are Blue Patterson is at his most shocking best — relentless suspense and psychological thrills kicked up to an all-time high.
8. Four Blind Mice (2002)
Alex Cross is ready to resign from the police force when his partner Sampson shows up at his house in desperate need of help. Sampson’s oldest friend — a master sergeant — stands accused of the brutal murder of three young military wives. The case is strong enough to send him to the gas chamber; so Cross infiltrates the closed world of the military, in hopes of uncovering overlooked evidence.
Patterson’s hero gets bigger and better with each book, constantly facing more sinister and deadly killers, yet at the same time he becomes increasingly vulnerable. In Four Blind Mice, Alex Cross tentatively explores the idea of a future with a woman who offers him new hope, while confronting the fact that his beloved Nana is only human.
9. The Big Bad Wolf (2003)
Cross has a new job with the FBI, but while he admires their vast resources, he’s impatient with their staid methods and their caution when it’s time to act. So when a new case involving a predator known as the Wolf starts to boil over, Cross takes up the trail on his own — one lone wolf tracking another. Using his insights into criminal psychology, he realizes that the Wolf is kidnapping his victims not for ransom, but for sale into slavery. As Cross takes on the master criminal bringing a new reign of terror to organized crime, Patterson weaves a plot powered by unexpected twists and whiplash surprises. This is yet another Alex Cross book you won’t be able to put down.
10. London Bridges (2004)
In broad desert daylight a mysterious platoon of soldiers evacuates the entire population of Sunrise Valley, Nevada. Minutes later, a bomb goes off 100 feet above the ground, annihilating their homes, cars, and playgrounds. Alex Cross is on vacation when he gets the call: reports are coming in of similar bombings around the world and its leaders have just four days to prevent an unimaginable cataclysm. Cross is catapulted into a high-voltage international chase with the Wolf, climaxing in one of the most gripping finales James Patterson has ever written, as Cross races down the hairpin turns of the Riviera.
11. Mary, Mary (2005)
Yet another holiday is cut short for Alex Cross, when he gets the call about Mary Smith. Whether she’s an obsessed fan, a spurned actor, or something more frightening, is unclear, but one thing’s for sure — she’s seriously got it in for Hollywood’s A-list. While Mary sends the LAPD chilling updates of each brutal and ambitious murder, they scramble to find a pattern with the help of DC’s famous detective. But will Alex Cross crack this case of blockbuster proportions before the life of another big name is cut short? Set against a backdrop of mystery, gossip, lies, and luxury, this sophisticated thriller will stun and satisfy any Patterson fan.
12. Cross (2006)
Cross is the thriller that James Patterson fans waited years to read, and the dramatic pinnacle of the detective series. If you’ve read the Alex Cross books in order, you’ll know all about the tragic backstory that returns to haunt Cross in the twelfth book of the series. When he was a rising star in the DC Police Department, an unknown shooter killed his wife Maria right in front of his eyes. The killer was never found, the case turned cold, and Cross's need for vengeance was placed on hold.
Years later, his former partner calls in a favor, dragging him from his new, quiet life to track a serial rapist in Georgetown. When the case triggers a connection to Maria’s death, Cross latches on for the most terrifying and urgent ride of his life. Will he get the justice he craves? Or will his obsession push him past his breaking point?
13. Double Cross (2007)
You might have figured out by now that life never winds down for Alex Cross, and sure enough, just as he settles into a routine as a psychologist, he’s pulled back into the game — this time to confront the Audience Killer. His elaborate public performances, turning murders into gruesome spectacles, broadcast citywide, have the whole of the East Coast on strings. They are like nothing Alex Cross and his new girlfriend, Detective Brianna Stone, have ever seen. But in this complex maze of media hysteria, one thing is certain — this crazed genius will stop at nothing to become the most famous killer to ever terrorize DC.
14. Cross Country (2008)
In the next heart-stopping instalment of the Alex Cross books, a massacre at the home of his oldest friend, and a dangerous underworld in the heart of DC, lead Cross to the Niger Delta — where he continues to chase the terrifying, psychopathic perpetrator of the massacre, known as The Tiger. Unprotected and alone, Cross puts his survival on the line as he journeys deeper into a world of heroin dealing, slave trading, corruption, and conspiracy.
15. Alex Cross's Trial (2009)
Travelling back in time, to 1906, Alex Cross’s Trial is unlike any story Patterson has ever told; yet, it offers readers all the heart-pounding suspense and breakneck speed of the very best books in this series. In the fearless voice of the DC detective, Patterson tells the harrowing story of Ben Corbett and Abraham Cross — unlikely partners who risk their lives and the lives of their families to investigate a Mississippi resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan. In this sleepy Southern town, they find hate, oppression, and racism lurking in every corner. Ben and Abraham might stop at nothing to end this reign of terror, but the people they’re fighting will stop at nothing to avoid progress.
16. I, Alex Cross (2009)
When his beloved niece falls victim to the latest DC killer, Alex Cross, grieving and furious, is prepared to confront a dangerous underground world of unchecked power to take him down. As Cross and Brianna close in on the killer, evidence suggests that his niece was mixed up with an infamous private club and the very powerful, very dangerous people who hide their dirty secrets there. A relentless rollercoaster of jolting plot twists and unimaginable revelations, I, Alex Cross proves nobody can write a more compelling thriller than James Patterson.
17. Cross Fire (2010)
First a dirty congressman, then an underhand lobbyist — a sniper with Washington’s crooked elite in their sights pulls Alex Cross away from his wedding plans. There’s no question that this DC assassin plans to pick off more politicians, yet people can’t help but wonder: is this marksman a hero or a vigilante? As theories blaze and the media frenzy explodes, FBI agent Max Siegel is assigned to the case, and locks horns with Cross over legal jurisdiction. Contending with the sniper, Siegel, and the wedding, Cross receives a call from his deadliest adversary — the Mastermind is in DC and he won’t relent until Cross and everyone he loves is dead.
18. Kill Alex Cross (2011)
In this fast-paced, tightly wound instalment in the Alex Cross series, the President’s children are abducted and Cross is the first on the scene. He’s in a race against time to track them down when a deadly contaminant in the Washington water supply cripples half the capital. The United States is under attack. But while Cross does everything that he can, he finds himself shunted to the fringes of the investigation: someone powerful is using the FBI, the Secret Service, and the CIA to keep him in the dark. The clock’s ticking and Cross has to make a desperate decision that might just force him to go against everything he believes in.
19. Merry Christmas, Alex Cross (2012)
In the world of Alex Cross, time with loved ones isn’t even sacred on Christmas Eve. Leaving his own family to decorate the tree, Cross has to head across town to the home of Henry Fowler, a hard-nosed corporate lawyer turned small-time drug hustler, holding his family at gun-point. To prevent this hostage situation from spiralling out of control, Cross will have to dare to risk everything — can his training and his creativity make him a Christmas hero? Thriller fans looking for a holiday classic with an edge need look no further than James Patterson’s Merry Christmas, Alex Cross. (Of course, if you’re reading the Alex Cross books in order you’ll need to nail your timings to read this one while cosied up on Christmas Eve! It might not be a cozy mystery per se, but you’ll get to spend the holiday with your favorite detective.)
20. Alex Cross, Run (2013)
A young woman is found hanging from a sixth floor window, her newborn baby is missing, and Alex Cross is called to the scene. But before he can even begin the investigation he gets a call about another body. When a third body is discovered, Washington DC is sent into an all-out frenzy. With three serial killers on the loose and the bodies piling up faster than he can count, Alex Cross is stretched to his limit, and crushed by the pressure to catch them all. He’s so focused on the chase, that he doesn’t even realise he should be running for his life...
21. Cross My Heart (2013)
Cross My Heart is perhaps the most powerful novel to ever come from the ingenious mind of James Patterson, and it’s certainly the most unsettling. If you’ve read the Alex Cross books in order, you’ll know that the DC detective is a family man at heart: his children, his Nana, and his wife Bree are his only refuge from the horrors of his job. Unfortunately, his enemies know this, too — and one man decides to use Cross's strength as a weapon against him. The stakes are higher than ever before, as a man who has devoted his life to protecting others is unable to protect those closest to his heart without risking their lives.
22. Hope to Die (2014)
Spoiler alert: Cross My Heart doesn’t end with a happy family reunion. In Hope to Die, the story set in motion by the first book in this duology, is propelled to a jaw-dropping finish. Everyone Cross loves is being held hostage by his deadly and obsessive enemy, Thierry Mulch. Terrified and desperate, Cross is forced to play the most dangerous game of his career with a psychotic genius — how much will he sacrifice to save the most important people in his life?
23. Cross Justice (2015)
You’d think that by book twenty a series would start to grow stagnant, but after books twenty-one and twenty-two received glowing praise from the greatest crime and thriller writers of our time, the Alex Cross book series continues to roll along, irresistibly, into book twenty-three. For Cross, the toughest cases are those that hit close to home. And in Cross Justice, not only is he proving his cousin’s innocence of an unthinkable crime — amid the prejudice and corruption of North Carolina — he’s also on the trail of a family secret that forces him to question everything he thought he knew. (Oh, and there’s a case involving a grisly string of murders, but what’s new there?)
24. Cross the Line (2016)
Shots ring out in the nighttime calm of Rock Creek Park. By the time the smoke clears, a senior police official lies dead. While the officer’s force scrambles for answers, Cross takes command of the investigation. But before he can even ask any questions, he gets another call: his former boss, and wife’s beloved mentor, has been murdered. This time it’s his wife Bree who steps into the leadership vacuum. Suddenly, new violence stuns the capital: a killer’s on the loose with a terrifying master plan he’s only just begun to put into action. Cross and Bree need to work together to beat him at his game, but with their relationship at breaking point and their investigative instincts clashing, it seems both their marriage and the city is facing a crisis.
25. Cross Kill (2016)
Some lists of the Alex Cross books in order won’t include these next two books, because they’re not full length novels. But don’t panic: these punchy little novelettes, which Patterson brands BookShots, slot nicely into the chronology of the series so far — and we think they’re great fun. Cross Kill sees the return of the villain from Along Came a Spider — that’s right, book one! Gary Soneji has been dead for ten years, but now he’s coming for Alex Cross. Is he a ghost? Did he never die? Nothing can prepare you for the sinister truth.
26. Detective Cross (2017)
Another lightning fast story you can devour in hours, Detective Cross may be shorter than other Alex Cross books, but between its pages is all the same high-impact entertainment. This time an anonymous caller threatens to set off bombs in the capital. Alex Cross and his wife Bree must work together to uncover whether it’s a hoax or the real deal — but the timer might be ticking, literally. It’s lucky this one’s a slim volume, because it’s impossible to stop reading.
27. The People vs. Alex Cross (2017)
Alex Cross has always stood firmly on one side of the law, but in The People vs. Alex Cross it’s the veteran detective who stands accused of murder. Cross knows he only pulled the trigger as an act of self-defence, but with shocking evidence mounting up, it’s not long before he’s the face of cops who think they’re above the law. When his own family start to doubt his innocence, Cross jumps at the chance to help the only person who still trusts him: his old partner Sampson. Now he’s on a mission to uncover the dark truth lurking in the most depraved corners of the internet — even if it means failing to save himself. In the 25th novel in the Alex Cross series, the master of suspense is at his very sharpest.
28. Target (2018)
The President of the United States has been assassinated. While the country mourns, another blow strikes the heart of the capital as a sniper’s bullet meets its target: a prominent US Senator. Now Bree must either find the shooter or lose her job as the Chief of Detectives; while Cross is called on by the new President to lead an investigation unprecedented in size and scope, and join the race to prevent what might only be the beginning of a much larger attack on the nation. Weaving together several storylines, Target will keep you on tenterhooks until you’re ready to devour book twenty-nine in the Alex Cross series.
29. Criss Cross (2019)
Hours after witnessing the execution of a killer they helped convict, Cross and his partner Sampson are called to a crime scene. There they find the victim of a copycat murder, and resting on the corpse, a note: “You messed up big time, Dr Cross. M.” Cross's abilities as a detective are called into question as the family of the convict launch a ruthless campaign against him. But before Cross can ponder whether an innocent man was put to death, he’s lured onto the trail of multiple homicides, all marked with the details of long-forgotten cases and buried family secrets. Cross is being haunted by a ghost from his past — a ghost after a prize. Even if you haven’t read all the Alex Cross books in order (don’t worry: we won’t tell), we recommend picking up this sensationally plotted novel. You won’t be disappointed.
30. Deadly Cross (2020)
In a Bentley convertible behind a DC private school, Kay Willingham, a glamorous socialite, philanthropist, and the ex-wife of the vice president, is found in the arms of the school’s principal, Randall Christopher — both shot dead. The question of who was behind the double homicide, and why, plagues Cross's mind. He’d grown close to Kay when she was his patient; closer than he had with any of the others. But when he goes to Alabama looking for answers hidden in her past, he finds a world of corruption, lies, and secrets, firmly closed to outsiders. He also finds plenty of Kay’s enemies, but none who would want her dead.
This may be the final book on the list, but James Patterson is by no means finished with the Alex Cross series. A new book is scheduled for the end of the year, so feel free to race through Deadly Cross with as much zeal as it calls for — you won’t be without Alex Cross for long.