Since I’ve decided to participate in the Finishing the Series Reading Challenge, hosted by Bea’s Book Nook, it seemed fitting that the third entry to my “Reading Your Way Chronologically…” series focus on one of the series I plan to finish this year. I began reading James Patterson’s Alex Cross series almost twenty years ago, and was immediately hooked. After seeing the trailer for Kiss the Girls, I decided to read the book before watching the film. It was so good, that I was glued to the pages from the very first page, and couldn’t put it down. Once I realized it was the second book in a series, I began reading the other books, and quickly devoured everything Patterson released. Since he puts out several books a year (or maybe it just seems that way), I eventually began to feel overwhelmed, and gave him up. However, my desire to return to one of my favorite authors has never left me. Below is the a list of the correct reading order for Reading Your Way Chronologically Through the Alex Cross Universe.”
1.) Along Came a Spider
Though the second book in the series to be adapted to film, Along Came a Spider is actually the first book in this series.
A missing little girl named Maggie Rose . . . a family of three brutally murdered in the projects of Washington, D.C. . . . the thrill-killing of a beautiful elementary school teacher . . . a psychopathic serial kidnapper/murderer who is so terrifying that the FBI, the Secret Service, and the police cannot outsmart him – even after he’s been captured.
Source: Paramount Movies
2.) Kiss the Girls
In Los Angeles, a reporter investigating a series of murders is killed. In Chapel Hill, North Carolina, a beautiful medical intern suddenly disappears. In Washington D.C. Alex Cross is back to solve the most baffling and terrifying murder case ever. Two clever pattern killers are collaborating, cooperating, competing – and they are working coast to coast.
Source: Paramount Movies
3.) Jack & Jill
In the middle of the night, a controversial U.S. senator is found murdered in bed in his Georgetown pied-a-terre. The police turn up only one clue: a mysterious rhyme signed “Jack and Jill” promising that this is just the beginning. Jack and Jill are out to get the rich and famous, and they will stop at nothing until their fiendish plan is carried out.
Meanwhile, Washington, D. C., homicide detective Alex Cross is called to a murder scene only blocks from his house, far from the corridors of power where he spends his days. The victim: a beautiful little girl, savagely beaten–and desposited in front of the elementary school Cross’s son, Damon, attends. Could there be a connection between the two murders?
4.) Cat and Mouse
Two killers – one operating in America, one in Europe – believe Alex Cross is the only worthy opponent in the deadly game each has planned. And Alex must contend with something he hasn’t known since the loss of his wife: he’s falling deeply in love, and this romance will make him, and her, all the more vulnerable…
5.) Pop Goes the Weasel
Detective Alex Cross is back-and he’s in love. But his happiness is threatened by a series of chilling murders in Washington, D.C., murders with a pattern so twisted they leave investigators reeling. Cross’s pursuit of the killer produces a suspect, a British diplomat named Geoffrey Shafer. But proving he’s the murderer becomes a potentially deadly task. As Shafer engages in a brilliant series of surprising countermoves, Alex and his fiancee become hopelessly entangled with the most memorable nemesis Cross has ever faced.
6.) Roses are Red
In a series of crimes that has stunned Washington, D.C., bank robbers have been laying out precise demands when they enter the building — and then killing the bank employees and their families if those instructions are not followed to the letter. Detective Alex Cross takes on the case, certain that this is no ordinary bank robber at work — the pathological need for control and perfection is too great. Cross is in the midst of a personal crisis at home, but the case becomes all-consuming as he learns that the Mastermind is plotting one huge, last, perfect crime.
7.) Violets Are Blue
Cross takes on the case and plunges into a netherworld of secret clubs and role-players, a world full of poseurs and playactors-and someone demented enough to have crossed the line from dark ritual to real blood. At the same time, a lethal super-criminal from Cross’s past known as the Mastermind is stalking him, taunting him, and threatening everything he holds dear. Cross has never been closer to defeat, or in greater danger. In a shocking conclusion, Alex Cross must survive a deadly confrontation-only to discover at last the awful secret of the Mastermind.
8.) Four Blind Mice
Uncovering evidence of a series of suspicious murder convictions, Alex and Sampson are determined to infiltrate the closed world of the military. But what is the army trying to hide? And do the mysterious symbols daubed on the homes of the accused mean that there are more sinister forces at work?
9.) The Big Bad Wolf
Alex Cross battles the most ruthless and powerful killer he has ever encountered – a predator known only as “the Wolf. “Alex Cross’s first case since joining the FBI has his new colleagues stymied. Across the country, men and women are being kidnapped in broad daylight and then disappearing completely. These people are not being taken for ransom, Alex realizes. They are being bought and sold. And it looks as if a shadowy figure called the Wolf – a master criminal who has brought a new reign of terror to organize crime – is behind this business in which ordinary men and women are sold as slaves.
10.) London Bridges
Minutes after soldiers evacuate a Nevada town, a bomb completely destroys it. On vacation, FBI agent Alex Cross gets the call: the blast was perpetrated by the Wolf. A supercriminal and Cross’s deadliest nemesis, the Wolf threatens to obliterate major cities, including London, Paris, and New York. Then evidence reveals the involvement of a ruthless assassin known as the Weasel. Could these two dark geniuses be working together? Now with just four days to prevent an unimaginable cataclysm, Cross is catapulted into an international chase of astonishing danger — and toward the explosive truth about the Wolf’s identity, a revelation that Cross may not survive.
11.) Mary, Mary
FBI Agent Alex Cross is on vacation with his family in Disneyland when he gets a call from the Director. A well-known actress was shot outside her home in Beverly Hills. Shortly afterward, an editor for the Los Angeles Times receives an e-mail describing the murder in vivid details. Alex quickly learns that this is not an isolated incident. The killer, known as Mary Smith, has done this before and plans to kill again.
The bestselling author returns with the pinnacle of all Alex Cross thrillers: the chance at last to capture the psychopath who murdered Alex’s wife, Maria. Patterson also goes back in time to answer the questions fans have been asking since the first Alex Cross appearance in Along Came A Spider.
13.) Double Cross
Just when Alex thought his life was calming down into a routine of patients and therapy sessions, he finds himself back in the game–this time to catch a criminal mastermind like no other. A spate of elaborate murders in Washington D.C. have the whole East Coast on edge. They are like nothing Alex Cross and his new girlfriend, Detective Brianna Stone, have ever seen. With each murder, the case becomes increasingly complex. There’s only one thing Alex knows: the killer adores an audience. As victims are made into gruesome spectacles citywide, inducing a media hysteria, it becomes clear to Alex that the man he’s after is a genius of terror–and he’s after fame. The killer has the whole city by its strings–and he’ll stop at nothing to become the most terrifying star that Washington D.C. has ever seen.
14.) Cross Country
When the home of Alex Cross’s longtime friend, Ellie Cox, is turned into the worst murder scene Alex has ever seen, he is devastated. The destruction leads him to believe that he’s chasing a horrible new breed of killer. As Alex and his girlfriend Brianna Stone begin the hunt for the villain responsible for the killings, they quickly find themselves entangeled in the deadly Nigerian underworld of Washington D.C.. What they discover is shocking: a strongly organized gang of teenage thugs headed by a powerful, diabolical man-The Tiger.
15.) Alex Cross’s Trial
Though a part of the series, this book isn’t really an Alex Cross mystery. Instead, it’s a book written from Cross’ POV to his children. In the novel, one of his ancestors deals with the KKK and racism in the South.
16.) I, Alex Cross
Can Alex Cross survive his most chilling – and personal – case ever? Pulled out of a family celebration, Detective Alex Cross gets awful news: A beloved relative has been found brutally murdered. Vowing to catch the killer, he quickly learns that she was mixed up in one of Washington, D.C.’s wildest scenes. And she was not this killer’s only victim . . .
17.) Cross Fire
Detective Alex Cross and Bree’s wedding plans are put on hold when Alex is called to the scene of the perfectly executed assassination of two of Washington D.C.’s most corrupt: a dirty congressmen and an underhanded lobbyist. Next, the elusive gunman begins picking off other crooked politicians, sparking a blaze of theories–is the marksman a hero or a vigilante?
18.) Kill Alex Cross
The President’s son and daughter are abducted, and Detective Alex Cross is one of the first on the scene. But someone very high up is using the FBI, Secret Service, and CIA to keep him off the case and in the dark.
19.) Merry Christmas, Alex Cross
It’s Christmas Eve, and Detective Alex Cross has been called out to catch someone who’s robbing his church’s poor box. That mission behind him, Alex returns home to celebrate with Bree, Nana, and the children. The tree-decorating is barely under way before his phone rings again–a horrific hostage situation is quickly spiraling out of control. Away from his own family on the most precious of days, Alex calls upon every ounce of his training, creativity, and daring to save another family. He risks everything–and he may not make it back alive for Christmas dinner.
20.) Alex Cross, Run
Top plastic surgeon Elijah Creem is renowned for his skills in the operating room, and for his wild, no-expense-spared “industry parties,” bringing in underage exotic dancers and models for nights of drugs, champagne, and uninhibited sex. That is, until Detective Alex Cross busts one of Creem’s lavish soirees and ruins his fun.
21.) Cross My Heart
Detective Alex Cross is a family man at heart–nothing matters more to him than his children, his grandmother, and his wife Bree. His love of his family is his anchor, and gives him the strength to confront evil in his work. One man knows this deeply, and uses Alex’s strength as a weapon against him. When the ones Cross loves are in danger, he will do anything to protect them. If he does anything to protect them, they will die.
22.) Hope to Die
Detective Alex Cross is being stalked by a psychotic genius, forced to play the deadliest game of his career. Cross’s family – his loving wife Bree, the wise and lively Nana Mama, and his precious children–have been ripped away. Terrified and desperate, Cross must give this mad man what he wants if he has any chance of saving the most important people in his life. The stakes have never been higher: What will Cross sacrifice to save the ones he loves?
23.) Cross Justice
Alex Cross left his hometown, and some awful family tragedies, for a better life with Nana Mama in Washington, DC. He hasn’t looked back.
Now his cousin Stefan has been accused of a horrible, unthinkable murder, and Cross drives south with Bree, Nana Mama, Jannie, and Ali to Starksville, North Carolina, for the first time in thirty-five years. Back home, he discovers a once proud community down on its luck, and local residents who don’t welcome him with open arms. As Cross steps into his family home, the horrors of his childhood flood back–and he learns that they’re not really over. He brings all his skill to finding out the truth about his cousin’s case. But truth is hard to come by in a town where no one feels safe to speak.