Written by the well-known mystery author James Patterson, the Alex Cross books are among the most popular mystery series written to date, many of which have been made into acclaimed movies, including Kiss The Girls with Morgan Freeman (playing Alex Cross) and Ashley Judd. Currently, there are 25 main books in the series, with the latest one, The People vs. Alex Cross, published in 2017.
I’ve read every single novel, which I always looked forward to getting after reading the first book in the Alex Cross series, Along Came A Spider, first published back in 1992. I remember loving everything about the first book: the writing style, the main character, the action, everything.
Here is the chronological order of the James Patterson Alex Cross books with the publication date of each book at the end of the book.
Alex Cross Books in Order
1. Along Came A Spider (Alex Cross #1), 1992
2. Kiss the Girls (Alex Cross #2), 1995
3. Jack & Jill (Alex Cross #3), 1996
4. Cat and Mouse (Alex Cross #4), 1997
5. Pop Goes the Weasel (Alex Cross #5), 1999
6. Roses are Red (Alex Cross #6), 2000
7. Violets are Blue (Alex Cross #7), 2001
8. Four Blind Mice (Alex Cross #8), 2002
9. The Big Bad Wolf (Alex Cross #9), 2003
10. London Bridges (Alex Cross #10), 2004
11. Mary, Mary (Alex Cross #11), 2005
12. Cross (Alex Cross #12), 2006
13. Double Cross (Alex Cross #13), 2007
14. Cross Country (Alex Cross #14), 2008
15. Alex Cross’s Trial (Alex Cross #15), 2009
16. I, Alex Cross (Alex Cross #16), 2009
17. Cross Fire (Alex Cross #17), 2009
18. Kill Alex Cross (Alex Cross #18), 2011
19. Merry Christmas, Alex Cross (Alex Cross #19), 2012
20. Alex Cross, Run (Alex Cross #20), 2011
21. Cross My Heart (Alex Cross #21), 2013
22. Hope to Die (Alex Cross #22), 2014
23. Cross Justice (Alex Cross #23), 2015
24. Cross Kill (Alex Cross #23.5), 2016
25. Cross the Line (Alex Cross #24), 2016
26. Detective Cross (Alex Cross #24.5), 2017
27. The People vs. Alex Cross (Alex Cross #25), 2017
Alex Cross, better-called dr. Alex Cross, is a forensic psychology specialist and a psychologist who started out working as a detective at the Washington DC police department, eventually transitioning after to the FBI as a senior agent.
Initially, he was working as a psychologist, but after his wife got murdered, his life changed full direction with him focusing, from then on, on tracking killers and bringing them to justice.
I remember reading the first few books and loving the titles, which were used from lines from popular kids nursery rhymes. At some point, however, he started giving this book titles names based on the main character of the series, Alex Cross. After Mary, Mary, the next book, Cross, is the first that adopts the new title style. From then on every single new novel has his name somewhere within the title.
What really drew me in from the very first book are the writing style, and the short chapters which can satisfy even those with the shortest attention span ever. By the time you start reading, the chapter is already over. And even more so, none of the chapters are boring. You find yourself flipping the pages and zipping through the story just to see what comes next.
The Alex Cross books are really one of my most favorite mystery series ever. Each book follows Alex Cross battling with an evil psychopath and serial killer, and throughout you’ll find yourself at the edge of your seat more times than you can count, at least that’s how I felt reading all his books. Some people say that at some point his novels got repetitive, but personally, I did feel a uniqueness in each book.
Sure, the main plot is about the same: Killer does his abducting and killing deeds, Alex Cross gets on the job of tracking down said serial killer, Alex Cross and killer finally meet and eventually one party (you can guess which) wins, often with serious battle scars.
Should we read the James Patterson Alex Cross books in order?
This is one mystery series that I can say, without even thinking about it, that yes, you should read them in order, despite the fact that pretty much all novels start and end with a separate story from other books in the series.
One reason for it is that you’ll get to know Alex Cross in a much deeper way than otherwise. You’ll learn about his transitioning careers over the years, and you’ll learn his quirks and way of thinking that is so popular among mystery readers.
There are many different events that occur in his personal life, and reading the books out of order might prove to be confusing at times. Most books reference previous novels and without having read those earlier books first, it might feel a bit strange, as when peeking in through the curtains to a house that you don’t belong to.
You’ll see the main characters develop over time in front of your eyes, and honestly, whenever you talk to a James Patterson fan who loves the Alex Cross series, you’ll notice that they’re (including me) almost OCD at times about reading the series in order. So do yourself a favor and start the Alex Cross series in the right reading order, from the very first book. You will not be disappointed.
In the latest Alex Cross book, The People vs. Alex Cross, we’ll find the table turned on Alex. He is on trial for killing two people and severly injuring a third one. Despite him claiming that he’s innocent, that he was framed, and that the people had guns pointing at him, the prosecution wants to make an example of him and put him away for good. Of course, you’ll need to read the new Alex Cross book to see if and how get can regain his freedom and his good name.