How To Read All 30+ Alex Cross Books In Order (James Patterson Reading Guide)

A highly prolific and influential writer, many of James Patterson’s best-known works come from his Alex Cross series.

Alex Cross is a detective with a doctorate and a soft side, a man with incredible physical ability that’s able to solve complex mysteries that baffle others.

How To Read All 30+ Alex Cross Books In Order (James Patterson Reading Guide)

Dealing with dark themes and intense subjects, the Alex Cross series features crime novels that won’t appeal to the fainthearted.

With that said, they are immensely popular. There are more than 30 books in the series, written over more than 30 years.

Some of the Alex Cross novels have also been adapted for the screen, including Along Came a Spider and Kiss the Girls.

The films haven’t performed as well as the books, but the fast pace of an Alex Cross plot means there are sure to be more on the way.

Ready to start reading Alex Cross? Find out the best reading order with this guide.

About Alex Cross

Alex Cross

When a crime happens in Washington D.C., Alex Cross is the man you want on the trail of the perpetrator.

Incredibly smart and naturally gifted, Cross has a skill at untangling even the most difficult of mysteries, even if they happen on a global scale.

The Alex Cross books follow Cross as he finds himself caught up in numerous crimes. The books track both his work capturing criminals and his life with his family. The plots move fast and rarely carry on to the next book.

However, it’s worth reading the Alex Cross series in publishing order, to see the growth of Cross throughout (and to fall in love with our hero).

Alex Cross is also a black detective in an overwhelmingly white force.

Many of the books explore how he navigates an often hostile space, and how being African American affects his relationships with suspects, criminals, victims, and colleagues.

A word of warning for anyone about to start the Alex Cross novels: these are strictly for adults. The crimes are typically gruesome, and Patterson doesn’t shy away from describing them in immense detail.

There are numerous intimate scenes in many of the books, as well as some strong language.

Alex Cross Books In Order

The Alex Cross series follows the detective as he grows and ages. Although it isn’t necessary to read them in order, it helps you learn about the character.

Along Came A Spider

Along Came a Spider (Alex Cross)

The first in the series, Along Came a Spider launched Alex Cross into the public eye.

A homicide detective with a Ph.D., a penchant for classical music, and two children who are the apple of his eye, Cross was quickly established as a detective like no other.

In Along Came a Spider, Cross is called to investigate a series of kidnappings while struggling with his own messy love life.


  • An exciting first introduction to Alex Cross.
  • The case is complex and intriguing.


  • As the first book in the series, the characters need time to grow.

Kiss The Girls

Kiss the Girls (Alex Cross)

Alex Cross is needed to investigate the disappearance of Naomi, a beautiful medical student who happens to be his niece. And she’s just the latest in a line of related disappearances.

On the other side of the country, a similar string of disappearances is baffling the police. Could the crimes be connected? And how can Cross prevent more women from losing their lives to this deadly collaboration?


  • Constant twists and turns keep you guessing.
  • The short chapters are engaging.


  • The plot is smart but requires some leaps in logic.

Jack & Jill

Jack & Jill (Alex Cross Book 3)

Alex Cross is used to crimes hitting close to home, but when a body turns up just a few blocks from his house, the danger has never felt more real.

Will anyone in Washington be safe until Cross can crack the crime?

Meanwhile, a controversial senator has been murdered in his own home. The only clue is a mysterious note signed: “Jack and Jill”.


  • Cross’s self-doubt adds relatability.
  • Well-paced.


  • The end twist is divisive.

Cat & Mouse

Cat & Mouse (Alex Cross Book 4)

In this line of work, it’s not unusual to make enemies. But Cross finds himself pursued by a particularly dangerous one when murderer Gary Soneji escapes prison with nothing left to live for.

But Cross is about to find out he isn’t the only brilliant detective being pursued by a killer. In Europe, Thomas Augustine Pierce is also a detective in the crosshairs.


  • It’s exciting to see an old character return.
  • The tension is palpable throughout.


  • The POV shifts can be frustrating.

Pop Goes The Weasel

Pop Goes the Weasel (Alex Cross Book 5)

A series of twisted murders lead Alex Cross to suspect British diplomat Geoffrey Shafer is a deadly opponent. But getting Shafer convicted is proving to be difficult.

Playing games within games both in and out of the court, can Shafer keep himself free? Or will Cross be able to prove his dangerous foe is a murderer?


  • The courtroom aspects add a new layer to the story.
  • Cross tackles some intriguing moral quandaries.


  • The ending is a little abrupt, teasing later books.

Roses Are Red

Roses Are Red (Alex Cross Book 6)

Bank robbers tend to have a pretty clear motive: getting away with as much money as possible.

But Alex Cross has been called to investigate something a little different, from a bank robber who appears to prefer mind games over monetary gains.

As the case consumes Cross, the Mastermind is planning something special.


  • The twists will take you by surprise.
  • Cross’s personal life helps build the character.


  • You’ll need the next book immediately…

Violets Are Blue

Violets Are Blue (Alex Cross Book 7)

Alex Cross has seen a lot of bad things in his work as a homicide detective, but the two bodies in Golden Gate Park are the most horrifying yet.

They’re just the start of the deadly trail left by the Mastermind, a taunting threat who seems to delight in danger. Can Cross finally outsmart the Mastermind?


  • A rollercoaster from start to finish.
  • The plot grips you immediately.


  • The Vampire subplot is a little out there.

Four Blind Mice

Four Blind Mice (Alex Cross Book 8)

Ready to resign, Alex Cross is drawn back into the world of crime when his partner Sampson needs him.

Sampson’s friend has been charged with murder, and the evidence is compelling. But Sampson is convinced it’s a set-up.

The two must use their experience, and their bond, to find out who the real killer is.


  • Sampson gains some needed depth.
  • Nana Mama’s story adds new emotional dimensions.


  • The ending falls slightly flat.

The Big Bad Wolf

The Big Bad Wolf (Alex Cross Book 9)

Working for the FBI offers Alex Cross access to the best resources, but it does come with its downsides.

When a dangerous organized crime boss, known only as the Wolf, is linked to a string of disappearances, Cross is frustrated by the slow response. Can one lone wolf catch another?


  • A spy/espionage twist that feels fresh.
  • Cross explores a new setting.


  • You must suspend disbelief frequently.

London Bridges

London Bridges (Alex Cross Book 10)

When the town of Sunrise Valley is destroyed by a bomb blast, the Wolf gleefully claims responsibility for the attack.

The supercriminal poses a tangible threat not just to Cross, but to the safety of the entire world. Can Cross help prevent a global disaster?


  • The stakes are higher than ever.
  • Some of the set pieces are spectacular.


  • Loose threads are left dangling at the end.

Mary, Mary

Mary, Mary (Alex Cross Book 11)

The glittering world of the Hollywood A-list seems far away from crimes that Alex Cross normally finds himself caught up in.

But when a movie star actress is shot outside her own home, Cross enters a real-life blockbuster. Can he prevent the killer from making a sequel?


  • The smaller setting feels like a return to what made Cross great.
  • You’ll feel wrapped up in the emotional journey of the story.


  • There’s perhaps a subplot too many.


Cross (Also Published as Alex Cross)

The death of his wife haunted Alex Cross for years but finding revenge had to be put on hold while he took care of his family.

And with the FBI behind him and a new practice as a psychologist moving Cross away from crime, it might be time to let go of the past. Until a series of crimes bring it all back to the surface…


  • The history of Cross is revealed.
  • Some welcome closure.


  • The timeline is tricky to follow.

Double Cross

Double Cross (Alex Cross Book 13)

Washington D.C. is in the grip of a string of gruesome murders. But this isn’t a villain that likes to lurk in the shadows, hoping to pass by unnoticed.

Instead, he’s determined to catch the attention of every cop on the East Coast. And that includes Alex Cross.


  • Compelling from the start.
  • The side characters are colorfully drawn.


  • The ending is left pretty open.

Cross Country

Cross Country (Alex Cross Book 14)

The underworld of Washington D.C. is home to an unexpected predator — the Tiger.

A notorious African warlord with a gang of criminal teenagers under his control, the Tiger prowls out of sight before Cross can catch him.

When the chase leads Cross to Africa, he knows this is a journey he must finish alone.


  • The new setting keeps the story fresh.
  • Each new place feels real.


  • Some of our favorite characters are sidelined.

Alex Cross’s Trial

Alex Cross's TRIAL

Alex Cross’s Trial depicts the story of Abraham Cross from the hand of his great nephew, Alex Cross.

It’s the turn of the century, and the Ku Klux Klan has resurged in Washington D.C., bringing terror with them.

Can lawyer Ben Corbett, working with Abraham Cross, help break their control?


  • A completely new take on an Alex Cross novel.
  • The real-life aspects add a chilling dimension.


  • Not a necessary addition to the Alex Cross series.

I, Alex Cross

I, Alex Cross

When Alex Cross’s niece is murdered, the investigation leads him into the underbelly of Washington D.C. Here, anything goes — providing you have the money and reputation.

Secrets are buried deep beneath Washington, and some people will do anything to keep them there.


  • Cross’s pain feels real because we know the character so well.
  • Attention-grabbing.


  • Lacks the suspense of other Cross novels.

Cross Fire

Cross Fire (Alex Cross Book 17)

When corrupt politicians are picked off by a mysterious gunman, the case captures public interest.

Is this a crazed killer? Or a vigilante hero? But for Alex Cross, the murders are more than just an intriguing mystery — something about it feels personal. Can he find the killer before his family is put in danger?


  • The return of a much-missed character.
  • A simmering tension throughout.


  • You need to read the other Cross books to appreciate the story.

Kill Alex Cross

Kill Alex Cross

When the President’s children are abducted, it seems natural for Alex Cross, a renowned detective, to lead the investigation.

So why is someone trying to keep him away from the case? But when half the population of Washington D.C. comes under threat, there’s nothing that can stop Alex Cross from figuring it out.


  • The story gets going quickly.
  • Cross’s family brings some depth to the story.


  • The title is a little misleading.

Merry Christmas, Alex Cross

Merry Christmas, Alex Cross

Christmas should be a time for peace and goodwill, but for Alex Cross, the holiday season looks set to come with danger and disaster.

A Christmas Eve hostage situation is quickly growing out of control, and Cross has been called to help sort things out. Torn away from his own family, can he save another?


  • The Christmas scenes contrast with the crime nicely.
  • There are some moral dilemmas for Cross to face.


  • The different plots are of varying quality.

Alex Cross, Run

Alex Cross, Run

First, former nemesis Elijah Creem is released from jail. Second, a woman is found hanging from a window with her baby missing. Third, two more bodies turn up in quick succession.

With multiple cases and numerous deadends, can Cross stop the killings? Or has he overlooked some important details?


  • The sprawling story makes for an epic plot.
  • A complex plot.


  • The ending feels rushed.

Cross My Heart

Cross My Heart (Alex Cross Book 21)

Alex Cross is a man of many talents and strengths — could this be his downfall?

When someone who knows him well starts exploiting Cross’s strengths and turning them into weaknesses, Alex finds his whole life is in danger.


  • The antagonist is excellent.
  • Cross’s family plays a key role in the plot.


  • You’ll need the next book immediately!

Hope To Die

Hope to Die (Alex Cross Book 22)

With his family missing and in danger, Alex Cross finds himself on the edge. To rescue his family, will he have to appeal to a madman? And if he does, what will that mean sacrificing?


  • A thrilling end to a tense story.
  • The danger seems real for Alex Cross.


  • Perhaps it didn’t need to be a separate book.

Cross Justice

Cross Justice (Alex Cross Book 23)

When a family member is accused of murder, Alex Cross finds himself returning to his hometown in North Carolina.

But this is a place full of secrets, where everyone appears to be on the take, and ghosts aren’t quite as dead as they seem. Will Cross learn more than he bargained for?


  • Another intriguing piece to the Alex Cross puzzle.
  • A fun plot.


  • Some of the family drama verges on soap opera.

Cross The Line

Cross the Line (Alex Cross Book 24)

Alex’s beloved wife Bree is shocked by the news that her mentor has been killed, but his death means more than just personal upheaval.

The police force has been left without a head, and Bree must step into the role amid a murder investigation.

Cross should be offering support, but can they solve the case before it tears them apart?


  • A fast-moving plot.
  • Bree adds a fresh perspective.


  • Some loose plot threads.

The People Vs. Alex Cross

The People vs. Alex Cross

Cross has always prided himself on his moral code, but after shooting his gun in self-defense, he’s on trial for murder.

Can he prove his innocence and save his reputation? Or will a distracting new case threaten his freedom?


  • The contrasting storylines work well together.
  • The trial is a good change of pace.


  • Ali Cross’s involvement feels like setting up for his separate book series.

Target: Alex Cross

Target: Alex Cross

A sniper strike has taken out the President of the United States, and Bree and Alex find themselves pushed to the limit trying to find the killer.

If they fail, both their positions will be threatened. But is this only the first in a series of attacks?


  • Plenty of intrigue.
  • Some modern plot points keep Alex Cross up to date.


  • It feels chaotic at times.

Criss Cross

Criss Cross (Alex Cross Book 27)

A murder solved seems to have resulted in a worthy conviction, when a copycat crime throws doubt on the entire case.

Did Alex Cross make a huge mistake, resulting in the death of an innocent man? And who is behind a series of eerily familiar murders?


  • An excellent villain.
  • Some of our favorite Cross moments are bought back into the spotlight.


  • The time regressions can be confusing.

Deadly Cross

Deadly Cross (Alex Cross Book 28)

Alex Cross has many different skills. It’s what has made him so good as a detective.

But when a former patient with a wealth of enemies is shot dead under mysterious circumstances, he’ll find every one of his talents stretched to their limits.


  • A very twisty story that keeps you guessing.
  • Packed full of emotion.


  • Slow to get going.

Fear No Evil

Fear No Evil (Alex Cross Book 29)

For years Alex Cross and his family have been stalked and threatened. No more.

When a vacation to the Montana wilderness ends with Cross and Sampson being hunted down like prey, it’s time for Cross to take a final stand against his long-time assailant.


  • A much-anticipated villain.
  • Lacking the police aspect, this is a different type of thrill.


  • The Cross family is sidelined.

Triple Cross

Triple Cross: The Greatest Alex Cross Thriller Since Kiss the Girls

The Family Man is a flawless killer. He leaves no trace, taking out entire families without a careless move.

Thomas Tull, a famous crime writer, believes the Family Man might be the best criminal to have ever lived.

But when the eye of the Family Man turns to the Cross family, Alex is determined to prove everyone makes mistakes.


  • You’ll think you’ve figured it out — and then it surprises you!
  • Modern technology keeps Alex Cross relevant.


  • A lot of characters to track.

Alex Cross Novellas In Order

These short stories are fun reads in the Alex Cross series, but not essential to the main plots.

Cross Kill

Cross Kill: An Alex Cross Story (Alex Cross BookShots Book 1)

Gary Soneji was killed years ago, and Alex Cross watched him die. But either Cross can’t believe his own eyes, or Soneji has managed to rise from the grave. It’s the only way Cross could have seen Soneji gun down his partner.


  • A lightning-quick read that you won’t put down.
  • Soneji always makes for a good story.


  • The plot moves a little too fast in places.

Detective Cross

Detective Cross (Kindle Single) (Alex Cross BookShots Book 2)

A mysterious caller is claiming that there are bombs set to explode throughout Washington D.C. The city panics, but is the threat credible? And what will Alex Cross have to risk to find out?


  • Surprisingly fun in places.
  • Keeps you guessing throughout.


  • Over too quickly.

Ali Cross Novellas In Order

Written for younger readers, the Ali Cross series is a fun but inessential addition to the Alex Cross novels.

Ali Cross

Ali Cross (Ali Cross, 1)

Ali Cross has some pretty big shoes to fill if he wants to be like his dad. His father is Alex Cross, a doctor/detective/genius with a habit of solving complex crimes.

So, when Ali’s friend Gabe goes missing, Ali will do anything to save the day.


  • Ali is a charming lead.
  • As a computer genius, Ali’s methods feel new.


  • Few action scenes.

Ali Cross: Like Father, Like Son

Ali Cross: Like Father, Like Son

The high of his first successful case is compelling Ali Cross to seek out his next mystery, but he probably didn’t expect to find it like this.

When a crime happens in front of him, he knows his friend Zoe isn’t to blame. Who is she trying to protect?


  • Raises some interesting discussion points.
  • A quickly moving read.


  • Predictable in places.

Ali Cross: The Secret Detective

Ali Cross: The Secret Detective

Ali Cross has always dreamed of being like his father, but he never fully grasped what it meant to be a detective. Until now, that is. Does he still want to solve crimes? Or is another path waiting for Ali?


  • Mixes light problems with serious issues.
  • Thought-provoking.


  • Lacks the crime-solving aspect you might expect.

Final Thoughts

The Alex Cross novels started as a series about a detective/doctor solving crimes committed by criminals with twisted motives and a penchant for the overblown. This is still at the heart of the novels.

It wouldn’t be an Alex Cross book if there wasn’t an unusual crime being committed somewhere!

But over the years, the Alex Cross novels have grown to be as much about family and relationships as they are about solving crimes.

Cross himself has gone through ups and downs in his relationships, losing partners and meeting new ones. His children have gone from emotional foils to important parts of the plot.

Past crimes continue to play on his mind, and previous victims influence his approach to detective work.

Because the growth of Alex Cross and his family are so heavily incorporated into the books, it helps to read the series in order.

Although you can pick up the books as standalone reads, to fully appreciate the action, you’ll want to enjoy Alex Cross in chronological order.

If you want to start reading Alex Cross, brace yourself for a difficult and exciting read. Start with Along Came a Spider, and follow the book series to the end!

Frequently Asked Questions

Do You Need To Read The Alex Cross Books In Order?

You don’t need to read the Alex Cross books in order, but it helps to build a clear picture of the character.

Many of the books work as standalone plots, but some inform later additions to the series.

What Is The Best Alex Cross Book?

If you want to enter the world of Alex Cross, start with Along Came a Spider and Kiss the Girls. The first two books in the series, they’re strongly plotted with intriguing villains.

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Anna Davis