Alex Kava is an author of suspense, thrillers, and psychological horror who will knock your socks off and then leave you wondering how it happened. Her books primarily feature her love of true crime, and they typically feature one of two main characters.
She was born Sharon Kava near Silver Creek Nebraska, and wanted to become a writer from a young age, reading every book she could get her hands on and writing short stories on the backs of calendars she hid under her bed. After attending the College of Saint Mary on an art scholarship, she started her own graphic design firm and also became the public relations manager for her college.
However, she soon quit in 1996, and decided to dedicate more time to fiction writing, with her first novel being published in 2000. She did choose the first name Alex as a gender neutral name to hide her identity, though now she does identify herself as female on book jackets.
If you want to start reading her books in order you are going to need to get acquainted with her two main characters: FBI Criminal Profiler Maggie O’Dell, and dog handler Ryder Creed, as they both have their own series of books and regularly cross over with one another. So let’s get started!
A Perfect Evil (2000)
When a serial killer named Ronald Jefferys was executed for three murders, he tried to tell the world a secret and got ignored. Three months after his death, another body is found and it matches the same style as Jefferys’ old victims. With the local police unable to handle the case in the small Nebraska town, they call for Maggie O’Dell who quickly takes charge of the investigation.
As more people turn up dead and missing, Maggie finds herself facing a horrible thought that just might be true… Ronald might have been convicted for crimes he was innocent of, and if he isn’t the killer, then who is?
A Perfect Evil takes us to where it all began for both Alex Kava and Maggie O’Dell, so if you want to read one of her books, you should start here.
Split Second (2001)
Albert Stucky, A.K.A The Collector, would collect his victims before murdering them, and he played a dangerous game of cat and mouse with Maggie O’Dell until she ended the game and put him away. Until he escaped.
With the effects of Stucky’s first game still wearing on Maggie’s psyche, she finds that the people closest to her are all going to be the new victims of the game, and her team at the FBI will need to pull out all the stops to turn the tables. But as they get closer and closer to catching the Collector, is Maggie seeking justice or vengeance?
It will only take a split second for you to purchase Split Second, and then you can decide for yourself where Maggie stands on that tightrope.
The Soul Catcher (2002)
For Maggie O’Dell, her entire job is to profile and catch serial killers, so when she is called to Washington to handle a standoff between crooks and FBI agents as well as the body of a senator’s daughter, she can’t help but wonder why. However, she soon discovers that a religious cult leader has ties to both events, and that her own mother is in the man’s thrall. As Maggie closes in on the truth, she is forced to use her mother as bait in order to solve the mystery and catch the killer.
The Soul Catcher is a read that will speak to you if you’ve ever had to combine work and family, and it is a book that will keep you guessing until the very end!
At The Stroke Of Madness (2003)
A vacation for Maggie O’Dell is just another chance to catch murderers as she looks into a disappearance for a friend and finds a body. However, this case doesn’t just prove too much for the local police, but also for Maggie as well. As more bodies turn up, she has to race against time to profile the killer and catch him once and for all.
At The Stroke Of Madness might just drive you mad as you feel Maggie’s frustration, but that will make the payoff at the end oh so sweet!
One False Move (2004)
This is Kava’s first standalone novel that explores how one action can change everything. Melanie Starks and her son Charlie are con artists, and while Charlie seems to enjoy the life, Melanie wants to start over somewhere else. But when her brother reappears in her life with a plan to rob a local bank, things turn ugly fast.
Gunshots echo, four people are dead, and her brother and son aren’t talking to her. Now Melanie has to piece together what happened at the bank, while avoiding the law and also trying to keep her family intact.
We all need to make split second decisions in our lives, and one of those decisions might be buying this book. Don’t make the wrong move and buy One False Move today!
A Necessary Evil (2006)
Sometimes you need to turn to your enemies for help, and that’s what happens when Maggie O’Dell finds herself drawn into the ritual murders of several priests, and an internet game played by those who were abused by the Catholic Church. Additionally, she reunites with father Micheal Keller, a priest who’s horrible acts against children have left her haunted.
Now the man she has wanted to catch for several years is a target of this ‘game’ and he offers his help in solving the killings… in exchange for Maggie’s aid in protecting him. It’s an alliance that could cause Maggie to step into a world of pure evil, and she might not return without scars.
A Necessary Evil is going to be a necessary read for you as you follow the trail all the way to the end, and see what becomes of our favorite criminal profiler!
Another standalone novel, this book sees the company EcoEnergy about to break through the barrier of alternative fuel, giving the entire world a new clean source of energy. But Sabrina Galloway, the top scientist, has made a discovery that the project is leaking toxic waste into the Gulf of Mexico.
Fleeing the company with damning evidence and realizing that the biggest traitors are also up the highest, Sabrina struggles to stay one step ahead of a conspiracy and keep herself alive.
In Whitewash you will find that you are following in Sabrina’s footsteps, and you will keep on turning pages until you get to a fantastic ending!
Maggie O’Dell has the best results catching criminals from the field, but when a virus attack at Quantico puts her in a bio isolation unit, she’s stuck. This virus is undetectable until it suddenly cuts the victim up from the inside, and the killers appear to be using the past as their weapon as their victims might not seem so random after all.
Now racing against time and confined, Maggie needs to work to find the killer before the virus attack gets even bigger, and the casualties mount even higher.
Exposed confines Maggie O’dell, forcing her to use other methods to solve the case and also pits her against an enemy she can’t defeat… her own health. Those two reasons alone are great reasons to read the book!
Black Friday (2009)
A simple protest against capitalism on the biggest shopping day of the year is something a group of college students want to do. They will walk into the mall, activate the equipment in their backpacks, and disrupt the computers inside of the store, it will cause chaos but no one gets hurt. However, they don’t know that their backpacks are bombs and they are about to become suicide bombers… and Maggie’s brother is one of the doomed protesters!
Now Maggie O’Dell needs to figure out who is behind this terrorist plot before the attack begins, while also protecting her family from real danger.
Black Friday is a holiday you can look forward to every single year, and now you can look forward to this book as well!
Often when a hurricane is about to hit a beach, you don’t go towards where the weather event is about to make landfall. But that is where Maggie O’Dell is going whenever the Coast Guard finds body parts in an oversized fishing cooler, and she is able to recognize a torso from a hurricane related disappearance weeks earlier.
With the storm looming and a killer on the loose, Maggie must race into Florida’s underworld to track down the killer before the monster hurricane swallows her!
Damaged is a read that will have you glued to the pages as you hope Maggie can leave the island before the storm causes a lot of problems! Also, the short story A Breath of Fresh Air takes place in the middle of this investigation as well.
When Maggie O’Dell is called to investigate the mysterious electrocution death of three teenagers in Nebraska, she finds that drug addled teenangers experiencing hallucinations don’t make for the best witnesses. Additionally, those teenage witnesses are being eliminated one by one, and her team is investigating a dangerous pathogen that erupted in a Virginia school. As both teams work their separate cases, it becomes clear that both are connected, and lead to a much larger conspiracy.
Hotwire will leave you on the edge of your seat as you do your best to solve the mystery and not get swept away in the conspiracy!
A string of recent and similar fires have been starting in Washington D.C, except the last one caused a death. While the local firefighters and police believe the fires to be due to excess emotion, Maggie sees a cold criminal at work and a reason for the fires, and fights to find that reason even as a reporter digs up pieces of her past she’d rather leave in the cold. Additionally, her brother is a member of the volunteer fire department and is on the front lines of fighting the fires as they appear in the city.
As Maggie deals with the acts of arson heating up, she’s forced to watch her professional life and her personal life start to collide, and this time it could all go up in flames!
Fireproof is a novel that will heat you up as you watch Maggie take on this serial arsonist, and she will get burned by the flames!
Whenever you go to a truck stop, you expect a bite to eat, a chance to stretch your legs, and maybe a safe place to rest. However, for Maggie O’Dell, these places have become a hunting ground for a murderer looking to prey on the tired and weary. When she and her partner find a map on the body of a young woman, they start following the madman’s trail across the country to stop the killer before he kills again.
Forced to work with her team as well as with an old foe to stop the killer and predict his next move, Maggie learns that getting closer to the killer might just be what he wants, because she is his next target.
Don’t get stranded out of a chance to read Stranded because it is a book best enjoyed as quickly as you can get it.
Breaking Creed (2015)
This book is the first book to feature Ryder Creed as a main character, who is an ex-marine turned K-9 dog trainer, and he and his pack have been going after Atlanta’s drug stashes. But when they go to search a fishing boat owned by a cartel, they discover humans are the cargo.
Additionally, Ryder’s war on drugs has made him some dangerous enemies, and Maggie O’Dell quickly discovers Ryder’s name on the list of assassination targets as she follows a trail of bodies down toward Atlanta. Now both heroes will need to depend on one another to survive.
Breaking Creed gives you the same Maggie O’Dell action that you love, but also gives you a new main character to share the spotlight with, along with plenty of K-9 dogs!
Silent Creed (2015)
When rainfall and a mudslide threatens North Carolina, Ryder Creed and his dogs go to work in the dangerous environment. Alongside the weather conditions and toxic sludge, Ryder moves to save as many people as he can while investigating a government research facility that was buried by the mud. But when the body of a scientist killed by a gunshot wound is found at the scene Maggie O’Dell is called to the case, and the pair discover that there are plenty of secrets under the mud that people will keep killing for.
Silent Creed mixes the past and the present while adding in the chaos of a landslide to keep things interesting as the characters uncover what was buried with that government facility. You’ll discover the secrets too as you keep reading!
Reckless Creed (2016)
A suicide from a window, a death of a flock of snow geese, and a dead girl in the forest. All of these events might seem disconnected, but to Ryder Creed and Maggie O’Dell, there’s a real connection. The only problem is it looks like these killings were done by a master killer, pitting the pair against their toughest opponent yet.
Before Evil- The Prequel (2017)
In the book Split Second, we were introduced to Albert Stucky, a killer known as the Collector. The book showed the second encounter between the Collector and Maggie O’Dell, but it was obvious they had one before… and it left a toll on the profiler. This book shows their first encounter, as well as the first time that Maggie sets foot on a real crime scene because Stucky has chosen the backwoods of Virgina to play in.
Now the expert profiler and her task force clash with the Collector, and when the dust settles and the game is over, nothing will be the same.
Before Evil- The Prequel is an excellent look at how Maggie O’Dell came to be, and how she grew from someone who caught criminals from her office to a profiler who was the best in the field.
Lost Creed (2018)
Ryder Creed has always been haunted by the loss of his sister Brodie who vanished from a rest stop when she was 11. Even though he’s thrown his life into saving dogs and training them to find the lost and the missing, he still hopes he can find his sister. But when Maggie O’Dell finds a clue during a police raid, both she and Creed are forced to work with a madman in order to find answers, and for Creed, those answers might not be good.
Lost Creed sees our two heroes get led around by two bad guys as they fight to get back to being one step ahead of their opponents, and you’ll want to keep reading so you can figure out what happened to Brodie.
Desperate Creed (2019)
What can make you more desperate than tornadoes? As tornadoes ravage Alabama, Ryder Creed and Jason Seaver go out with their scent dogs to find survivors, but as the storms get worse, they might need rescuing. Additionally, when a young woman witnesses a murder, she finds herself in the crosshairs and turns to Creed and O’Dell for help. However, when all the characters meet under the monster storm system, none of them will be the same when the sky clears.
Desperate Creed takes all the plot points of the story and weaves them together under the storm, and when you finish reading you might not be the same either.
Hidden Creed (2020)
When Creed’s scent dog discovers a hidden grave in the forest of Florida, he figures out that because this area is so isolated, the killer figured no one would find the body. But as the dogs find more remains, he and Maggie O’Dell realize they are dealing with a serial killer who knows the forest and who has killed for years… and is willing to do so again to keep his secrets hidden.
Hidden Creed is all about secrets and the lengths people go to keep them, and you might do some profiling yourself to figure out the killer’s motive is.
Trapped Creed (2021)
When Creed and Maggie O’Dell find a black plastic bag containing a corpse, as well as reports of a young woman going missing, they know they need to move fast to find the girl before she becomes the next victim of a killer. As a snowstorm looms, Creed goes to search for the girl while Maggie O’Dell discovers the killer is cold and ruthless.
As the snow begins to fall and life grinds to a halt, Maggie fears that this time Creed has become trapped and is walking right into the killer’s hands.
Trapped Creed sees Creed and his dogs put at a severe disadvantage, and that will have your blood running as cold as the snow right up until the ending!
Do I Need To Read Any Of Alex Kava’s Books In Order?
No, the only books you might want to read in order are Before Evil- The Prequel and Split Second as they do feature Maggie’s first and second encounters with Albert Stucky. But even then you can read them out of order, because they are both standalone books. You might also want to read the short story A Breath Of Fresh Air while you are reading Damaged as the short story takes place in the middle of the novel.
Who Is Maggie’s Love Interest?
We are introduced to a man named Nick Morelli in A Perfect Evil and he is Maggie’s love interest. He pops up a few times, but Kava’s books aren’t all about romance.
What Genre Does Alex Kava Write?
She primarily writes psychological suspense novels
Is Alex Kava Still Writing?
While the last book came out in 2021, she did say in a 2023 interview that she is always working on some type of book.
How Old Is Alex Kava
Alex Kava was born Sharon M. Kava on June 7, 1960, in Silver Creek, Nebraska. She’s still publishing books. As a prolific writer, she’s releasing new novels all the time.