|Alex Cross character|
|First appearance||Along Came a Spider|
|Created by||James Patterson|
|Portrayed by||Morgan Freeman (Kiss the Girls and Along Came a Spider)
Tyler Perry (Alex Cross)
|Family||Blake Cross (brother, deceased)
Jason Cross (father)
Cristina Cross (mother, deceased)
Aaron (brother, deceased)
|Spouse(s)||Maria Simpson (deceased)
Brianna "Bree" Stone
|Significant other(s)||Eleanor Cox (ex-girlfriend, deceased)
Christine Johnson (ex-fiancé)
Jamilla Hughes (ex-girlfriend)
Jezzie Flanigan (deceased)
Betsey Cavalierre (deceased)
|Children||Damon Cross (son)
Janelle "Jannie" Cross (daughter)
Alex "Ali" Cross Jr. (son)
Ava (foster daughter)
|Relatives||Regina "Nana Mama" Cross (grandmother)
Naomi Cross (niece)
Caroline Cross (niece, deceased)
Stefan Tate (cousin)
Brock "Pinkie" Parks (cousin)
- 1 Character overview
- 2 Character biography
- 3 Family and friends
- 4 Love interests
- 5 Appearances in the Alex Cross series
- 6 Antagonists
- 7 Adaptations
- 8 References
Alex Cross is an African American detective and psychologist based out of the Southeast quadrant of Washington, D.C. He started in the homicide division of the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Police Department (MPDC), but eventually becomes a Senior Agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Alex returns to private psychology practice, but continues to work with the police as needed, ultimately rejoining the MPDC as a special consultant to the Major Case Squad.
As portrayed by Patterson, Cross is a highly intelligent, rational man who holds his emotions in check. He is a model father and quite empathetic in dealing with the public. He is very involved in the community, exemplified by his volunteerism at St. Anthony's Parish. Despite the fact that he makes a decent living, he chooses to live in the Southeast quadrant of Washington, D.C., an area notorious for poverty and violent crime.
At eight his mother died of lung cancer and a year later his father died of alcoholism, so he was sent to Washington DC to live with his grandmother, whom he calls Nana Mama. He eventually received a doctorate in psychology from Johns Hopkins University and then worked as a migrant farm worker for a year. Afterwards, he started a private practice and worked as a psychologist for two years, but eventually decided to become a policeman after he had become disillusioned with the politics of the medical community (Violets Are Blue).
Cross joined the police force because the people in his neighborhood could not afford his services. His first case involved two men who were shot and whose killings were written off as drug-related. Since he knew both men, he began to investigate and found one of the men was dating a woman who was also dating the local drug dealer.
He was still living with Nana Mama and his children, Damon, Janelle (Jannie), by his late wife Maria Simpson-Cross and Alex Jr. (Ali) from his fiancé Christine Johnson. Cross teaches his two elder children boxing in his home's basement (Pop Goes the Weasel).
Cross carries a Glock 9 mm pistol. He drives a 1974 Porsche and bought a Mercedes-Benz R350 to replace Maria's old Toyota. He plays the piano to relax and owns an Abyssinian cat named Rosie, who showed up one day and never left.
Cross volunteers at St. Anthony's soup kitchen frequently, where he is known as the "Peanut Butter Man". He began doing this with Maria. His partner in the PD, John Sampson, also volunteers there. Sampson calls Cross "Sugar" as a term of endearment while Cross calls Sampson "Man-Mountain" or "Two-John". They have been best friends since the age of 10 (Pop Goes the Weasel).
Alex has bad luck with women. His wife Maria was murdered before the series began. His lover in Along Came a Spider, Jezzie Flanigan, is involved in the kidnapping of two children, for which she is executed by lethal injection. In Kiss The Girls, Cross develops a deep friendship with Dr. Kateyla "Kate" McTiernan. There were hints of a possible romantic relationship, but they preferred to remain friends. In Jack & Jill, Alex meets Christine Johnson for the first time and falls in love with her by Cat & Mouse, in which they start dating. In Pop Goes the Weasel, Christine accepts his proposal. Christine is then kidnapped for almost a year by Geoffrey Shafer, during which time she is pregnant with Alex's son "Ali". After finding her at the end of the book, Alex meets his new son for the first time. By Roses Are Red, Christine has changed. She breaks off the engagement and moves to Seattle, leaving Ali with Alex. Detective Patsy Hampton then shows interest in Alex, but she is killed by Geoffrey before anything serious could happen. An FBI agent with whom he had partnered in Roses Are Red, Betsey Cavalierre, showed possible romantic interest in Alex and the two began a relationship. She was murdered by a serial killer called "The Mastermind". It was later revealed, by the Mastermind himself, in Violets Are Blue, that Betsey really liked Alex, even more than just a friend. Later he met a San Francisco Police Department inspector, Jamilla Hughes, with whom he struck up a relationship in Violets Are Blue. They remained together for a few books, but due to living far apart and Alex's commitment to his job, they parted company in Mary Mary. After breaking with Jamilla, Alex meets Jeanne Galleta, who shows some interest, but the two never officially start a relationship, going out only once.
He next begins a relationship with Dr. Kayla Coles, a resident physician at a hospital in Southeast Washington, D.C. The two meet in Four Blind Mice and start dating in Mary Mary. Both Alex and Kayla became close in Cross. They were both born in North Carolina and raised in Washington, D.C. Kayla has since returned to North Carolina.
In Cross Country, it is revealed that Alex dated a woman named Eleanor Cox in college. She was Alex's first love, before Maria and they fell in love during his summer internship at Sibley Memorial. Eleanor is killed by The Tiger, which causes Alex great pain. Also in Cross Country, Alex meets a reporter from The Guardian newspaper, Adanne Tansi, in Nigeria. They share a kiss and show romantic interest in each other, but prefer to remain friends. Adanne, too, is killed by the Tiger.
His next romantic involvement is with a rising star in the PD, Detective Brianna "Bree" Stone, who is introduced in Double Cross. Deeply in love with Bree, Alex proposes to her in I, Alex Cross, and she happily accepts. They marry in Cross Fire, finally ending Alex's bad luck.
Maria was originally thought to have been killed by an antagonist named Michael "The Butcher" Sullivan. However, in Cross, Cross learns that his best friend, John Sampson, and another detective, Rakeem Powell, had killed Maria's real murderer, Jimmy Hats Galati. Sampson couldn't bring himself to tell Cross because he knew that Cross would be unable to deal with the fact that he had not done it himself. Alex finally comes to terms with Maria's death at the end of Cross and is able to move on, hoping that he may find love again in the future.
Family and friends
His mother died from lung cancer when he was nine and his father died of alcohol abuse a year later. The series does not describe his relationship with his parents. However, in the movie, Alex Cross, Alex told his daughter, Janelle, that his parents loved him, even when they died. In the most recent addition to the Cross series "Cross Justice", a lot is revealed about his parents. His mother was smothered by her drug dealer and his father was blamed for her death. His father was shot and believed to be dead when he fell off a bridge. His father survives the fall and is nursed back to health and moves to Florida and assumes the identity of Paul Brown. When a young Marine visits the church he is staying at in Florida he takes the Marines identity after he shoots himself in the face with a shotgun. Now assuming the name of Drummond his father fulfills the young mans duties in the Marines. Cross and Drummond cross paths in the book and towards the end he reveals that he is his father
Alex was raised by his grandmother, Regina "Nana Mama" Cross. The two have a strong relationship with each other. Regina raised Alex by using tough love to build his character. She allowed Alex and best friend Sampson to be held in a jail cell after they robbed a store, to teach them a lesson. She expressed her love for him from time to time, extending into his adult years. She comforted Alex when his wife died, having him move back in with her and helping him raise his children. She worries for Alex as he pushes on his cases. She tells Alex that she doesn't want to see his children become orphans. She also worries about Alex's lonely life, wanting him to be happy with someone special like he did with Maria. She would reach her limit with him when his job crossed certain boundaries. She left him and his family in Cross, when Alex is almost killed while on a case, only to change her mind when she realized how wrong it was of her. She cried in Merry Christmas, Alex Cross when Alex was called away on Christmas Eve, worrying that he might not return. Despite occasional arguments, they consistently show support for each other.
Alex has three children, two by Maria, and the other by Christine. Janelle and Damon were part of the story from Along Came A Spider to Pop Goes the Weasel, when "Ali" appears. Both Damon and Janelle were too little to remember Maria. Alex makes time with them whenever he can. He takes them to the movies or for ice cream. He also trains them to box. Damon attends boarding school in Cross Country. A homeless girl named Ava is adopted by the family in Kill Alex Cross, but she is thought to be killed in Alex Cross, Run. Come to find out that the burnt body of supposedly Ava is Elise, a friend of Ava in "Cross My Heart". Alex and Bree spend time in the whole book looking for Ava. Ava does not want to be found because she is fearing for her death because she owes someone money. At the end of the book Ava ends up helping Alex pretend to be a victim with the death of his whole family.
Alex is best friends and partners with Detective John Sampson. They met when Alex moved to Washington DC after his parents died and became great friends. They were constant companions, even robbing stores together. They view each other as brothers. Regina would take John in when his parents got in trouble with the law. They separated for a period, but later become detective partners for the Metro Washington DC Police Department. In Four Blind Mice, they do have a fight over a friend's death, who was wrongly convicted and sentenced to die by lethal injection. John has protected Alex throughout a lot of his life, he discovered Maria's murderer and killed him, to spare his friend from the trauma of vengeance when he has two kids. When Alex finds out in Cross, he forgives John and thanks him for everything he has done to protect him. This relieves John's guilt of keeping the secret. Alex has also helped John out as well, by killing Geoffrey Shafer, who had killed John's former love interest, Nina Childs. When John is kidnapped by the Audience Killer in Double Cross, Alex worries deeply for his friend and later rescues him. Even when Kyle Craig, the Mastermind returns for revenge against Alex, John protects his family.
Alex's brother is Blake Cross. It is revealed in I, Alex Cross, that Blake was on drugs and had fatally overdosed. His death put a huge strain on Alex and Blake's wife, who blames him for not helping Blake. Blake rejects Alex's attempts to help. Blake's wife cuts ties with the family, although her daughter Caroline moved into his neighborhood.
Caroline is Blake's daughter. Despite their proximity, Caroline didn't see or talk to Alex, mostly because she worked as a high-end "escort". After her murder by a serial killer and rapist named Zeus in I, Alex Cross, Alex eventually discovers Caroline's killer and closes the case. When Alex solves Caroline's murder, he informs her mother, hoping to ease her pain.
Alex's other niece is Naomi. When Naomi is kidnapped by a killer named Cassanova, in Kiss the Girls, Alex leaves his jurisdiction to find her, eventually finding and rescuing her. In Pop Goes the Weasel, Naomi makes a brief appearance to comfort Alex when his fiancée Christine is kidnapped.
Alex also has aunts who come to visit him and his grandmother.
Alex has a friendship with psychologist Dr. Adele, whom he comes to for help. The two have great respect for each other and care for one another as well. She consoles him when Christine leaves Alex. Adele helps Alex through Maria's death.
Stefan Tate is another of Alex Cross's cousins. In Cross Justice, Stefan was framed for both the murder of a thirteen year-old boy called Rashawn Turnbull and the rape of Sharon Lawrence (which turned out to be a lie). Alex was informed by his niece Naomi that Stefan had been brutally beaten by both the guards and inmates of a prison that he was serving time behind bars in. By the end of the Novel, Stefan is freed of all charges and he continues to date his fiancée Patty Converse.
Sydney Fox is a friend of Alex Cross. Alex met Sydney after he and his niece Noami had their talk with Stefan Tate. Sydney talked to Alex briefly before going on her run which was delayed when lights in her house went black before she was murdered by a man wearing a black hood, jacket and gloves (Later revealed to be her ex-husband Finn Davis). Her murder wasn't solved until Peter Drummond (Who is actually Jason Cross AKA Alex Cross's father) forced Marvin Bell to reveal that Finn Davis was the one who killed her and wanted her dead because she suspected that Finn was up to no good.
While in the FBI, Alex meets agent Ned Mahoney, who becomes his best and most loyal friend in the Bureau. They worked together on the Wolf case and catch the killer, despite his suicide. In Kill Alex Cross, Ned is told to keep Alex away from the search for the two kidnapped children of the President of the United States. Feeling guilty, he later tells Alex everything and later helps Alex and Sampson kidnap the killer to save the children. In Merry Christmas, Alex Cross, Alex begins to worry about just how far he and Ned are willing to go, especially when they force a terrorist named Hala to watch her children be killed. They stop the killing when Hala offers the information they need to stop a terrorist organization.
Although they are enemies, Cross had a strong friendship with Kyle Craig, also known as the "Mastermind". In the past, Kyle and Alex were pals and helped each other on cases. As an FBI agent, Kyle would give Alex useful resources and clearances. However, when Kyle is revealed to be Mastermind, Cavalierre's killer, Alex vows vengeance and a long struggle between the two begins that lasts from Violets Are Blue to Cross Fire, where Kyle dies battling Alex.
Cross has had multiple love interests. The three primary women in his life are his first wife Marie, ex-fiancee Christine, and second current-wife Bree.
Before the series begins, Alex married Maria Cross. She was murdered in a drive-by shooting and the killer was never found. Alex raised two children with the help of Nana Mama. Maria is mentioned throughout the series. In the twelfth novel Cross, Maria makes an appearance in a flashback, where she is portrayed as a gentle, beautiful, caring woman, deeply in love with Alex, who loves her in return. Before her death, she tells Alex that she is pregnant again. She dies in Alex's arms. Her last words expressed her love for Alex. After discovering her killer's identity and his death by John's hand in Cross, Alex finally lets go of Maria and moves on.
Years after Maria's death, Alex first dates Secret Service agent Jezzie Flanigan, who he works with to find Maggie Rose and Michael Goldberg, children kidnapped by serial killer Gary Soneji in Along Came A Spider. They first meet at the school where the kids were taken and later in Miami, where they share a drink or two. After discovering Michael's body, they become closer and after capturing Soneji, they begin to fall in love. Many people in Alex's life, including Nana Mama and John Sampson, disapprove of the relationship because they are of different races. Alex ignores their warnings. It is later revealed that Jezzie had teamed up with Secret Service agent Mike Devine, her other lover, to stage the exchange and frame Soneji for taking the money. When Alex confronts her, she reveals that she was to spy on Alex, but ended up falling in love instead of ending the relationship as she had planned. Alex expresses his love, but can't stand what she has done and reveals that he had had Sampson record the event, giving him the evidence to convict her. She is convicted and sentenced to be executed. Alex is the only attendee at her execution, by her request. She expresses regret before she dies and also wishes things had turned out different between them.
During Kiss the Girls, Alex meets surgeon Kateyla "Kate" McTiernan, who has escaped Casanova, who "collects" women, one of whom is Alex's niece, Naomi. While they investigate Casanova and another killer named The Gentleman Caller, Kate and Alex become friends and show romantic interest in each other. When Alex is injured, Kate shows great concern for him. While they both want a relationship, they realize that it would most likely end badly, because they both have such strong personalities. After the case is solved and Casanova is killed, Kate and Alex tearfully part, wanting to stay friends. They meet again in Violets Are Blue, where it is revealed that Kate is engaged, which makes Alex happy for her.
In Jack & Jill, Cross meets Damon's school principal Christine Johnson during an investigation of a murdered child. Cross' strong feelings for Christine leads him to defer his desire to form a relationship with her, as she is married. However, her husband George is murdered and Christine is taken hostage. Alex captures the killer and saves Christine. In Cat and Mouse, they start dating, although Christine is uncertain that she is ready for a relationship, especially given her fears that Cross will die in the line of duty. After a passionate kiss, the two realize that they are in love. By the end of the novel, Christine manages to overcome her fear and allows a relationship to form between them. In Pop Goes the Weasel, Alex proposes and Christine happily accepts. Christine is kidnapped by Alex's current nemesis, Geoffrey Shafer and is held hostage for over a year, during which she bears Ali. Alex finds her, meets his son for the first time and is reunited with her. In Roses Are Red, Christine's love is gone and has changed into a different woman. By the end of the novel, she moves to Seattle, leaving Ali with Alex, breaking Cross' heart. Christine returns in The Big Bad Wolf, taking Cross to court to gain custody. Alex is forced to give Ali to her. In Mary, Mary, Christine wins custody and destroys whatever feelings that Alex has left for her. Christine tells Alex that she may move back to Washington, so she and Ali can be near him. However, by the end of that book, Christine returns Ali to Alex and goes back to Seattle. Christine returns in Cross Fire to spend time with Ali, while also hinting that she really came back for Alex, upon learning of his engagement to Bree. She and Alex have an argument, which forces her to leave once again. Alex and Christine have a small form of connection through the rest of the series, for the sake of Ali.
In Pop Goes the Weasel, Alex teams up with detective Patsy Hampton, to investigate Geoffrey Shafer, who had kidnapped Christine. Patsy at first views Alex as a rival, but later shows interest in him. However, she is murdered by Shafer. Her death motivates Cross to go after Shafer in vengeance and later kills him in London Bridges.
After breaking up with Christine, Cross partners with FBI agent Betsey Cavalierre, to hunt down Mastermind in the novel Roses Are Red. They become friends and start to take a liking to each other. As the investigation proceeds, she suggests a relationship, which Cross declines at first, feeling that he isn't ready. Betsey pushes him and the two later make love, officially starting a relationship. Betsey begins to worry what will happen after the case is over, since they have two separate jobs as she is an FBI agent and Alex is a detective, while Alex promises that things will work out. By the end of the novel, Betsey is murdered by Mastermind, devastating Alex, who swears to avenge her. In Violets Are Blue, Alex discovers Mastermind's identify as Kyle Craig, and learns that Betsey was getting close to discovering his identity, which comprised the Mastermind's plan for both him and Alex. The Mastermind also reveals that Betsey was falling in love with him. Alex sends the Mastermind to prison for his crimes, declaring justice for Betsey.
During Violets Are Blue, Alex partners with an inspector named Jamilla Hughes, who he forms a friendship with. After the case, and the capture of the Mastermind/Kyle Craig, they start a relationship. From Violet Are Blue to Mary Mary, Alex and Jamilla grow more in love. In The Big Bad Wolf, Alex and Jamilla express their love for each other. However, in London Bridges, Alex's job as a FBI agent starts to put a strain on his relationship with her. In Mary Mary, while on vacation with his family and Jamilla, Alex investigates a killer known as Mary Smith, which continues to strain their relationship. While on their next date in Los Angeles, Jamilla reveals that she has met another man, while not cheating on him, and is realizing that their long-distance relationship cannot work, whether or not they are in love. Alex realizes that he has lost her and the two part on good terms, ending their relationship.
In Mary Mary, Alex starts dating childhood friend Kayla Coles, who is a resident physician at a hospital in Southeast Washington. They both come from North Carolina. Kayla was introduced in Four Blind Mice, making house calls for residents, including Nana Mama. The books hints that her real reason to visit is to see him. They share a small kiss in London Bridges. In Mary Mary, after Alex breaks up with Jamilla, they form a relationship. Kayla wants to be near Alex, asking him not to leave the room when she is playing a game with his kids. In Cross, they continue to date and begin to fall in love. Alex's retirement from the FBI allows him to spend more time with her, strengthening their relationship, until the "Butcher" sends him back to work, believing that this might be his wife's killer. During one house call, Kayla is attacked by a junkie and drives herself to the hospital, where Alex comes and comforts her. When Kayla visits North Carolina, she decides to move there, seeing that she can do more good where she was born. Cross is heartbroken, as he knows that their relationship would end, but supports her decision. He later regrets not telling her how he feels. After solving his wife's murder, they see each other again, just before she moves. She tries to convince him to move with her, but Cross declines, believing he can't leave Washington, DC behind. They part on good terms.
During his time investigating Mary Smith in Mary Mary, Alex and another detective named Jeanne Galleta, who shows interest in him, date once. However, the two just remained friends.
It is revealed in that Alex had a relationship with a woman named Eleanor Cox in college, before Maria. Alex states that Eleanor might have been his first love, but before he could find out, their relationship ended. Many years later, Alex discovers that she and her entire family were murdered by a new killer called "Tiger", in Cross Country. He avenges her death by taking down the Tiger.
Also, in Cross Country, Alex works with a reporter from The Guardian newspaper named Adanne Tansi, in Nigeria. While the two investigate the Tiger, Adanne takes an interest in Alex. When she takes him to meet her family, she says she likes him and they share a kiss. They remain friends, although Adanne continues to show interest in Alex. The Tiger has her family killed as they get closer and has them arrested by the police. As Alex watches, the Tiger kills and rapes her dead body in front of Alex. Alex avenges Adanne by taking down the Tiger and his associates.
After retiring from the FBI and his tearful break up with Kayla, Alex meets detective Bree Stone at a retirement party for a fellow officer, and quickly starts a relationship with her. By the beginning of Double Cross, they have fallen deeply in love. Bree is portrayed as a beautiful, calm, fun, sexy woman by Alex and also a strong-willed, "stone" detective in the department. She helps him with the Audience Killer and Kyle Craig, who escapes from prison. From Double Cross to I, Alex Cross, they grow more in love and she moves in with him. Bree views his family as her own and cares for Nana Mama when she nearly dies. She accepts his proposal in I, Alex Cross. In Cross Fire, both Bree and Alex prepare for their wedding, postponing to work a case. When the case is solved, they marry in his backyard and honeymoon with his kids and Nana Mama. However, Craig attacks them and Alex fights and kills him. Both Alex and Bree enjoy the rest of their honeymoon, finally feeling at peace. In Kill Alex Cross, both of them are living a happy marriage and also adopt a homeless girl named Ava, following Nana Mama's wishes. In Merry Christmas, Alex Cross, Bree is distraught that Alex must work on Christmas Eve and worries about his safety. By the end of the novel, they go on a double date with Sampson and Billie, where they dance and share a kiss. In Alex Cross, Run, Ava is caught doing drugs and is forced into a foster home. Cross struggles with a killer named Ron Guidice, who later kills Ava. Bree kills Guidice when he tries to kill Cross. While recovering from Ava's death, both Bree and Alex's love for each other continues to remain strong and hold them together.
Appearances in the Alex Cross series
- In Along Came a Spider, 1993, Cross deals with the kidnapping of two wealthy children at the hands of Gary Soneji.
- In Kiss the Girls, 1995, Cross battles the serial killers Casanova and The Gentleman Caller, who "collects" beautiful women, including Cross' niece Naomi.
- In Jack & Jill, 1996, Cross goes up against three killers: two who kill high-profile people and one who kills children.
- In Cat and Mouse, 1997, Cross engages Gary Soneji again and after dealing with him crosses paths with another killer, Mr. Smith.
- In Pop Goes the Weasel, 1999, Cross matches wits with a serial killer named Geoffrey Shafer, a British man with diplomatic immunity.
- In Roses Are Red, Cross goes against a criminal calling himself The Mastermind, who commits several brutal bank robberies.
- In Violets Are Blue, Cross goes against a cult of vampires and learns the true identity of the Mastermind, whom he takes down.
- In Four Blind Mice, Cross and his friend, John Sampson, investigate three killers who are framing seemingly innocent soldiers from the Vietnam War.
- In The Big Bad Wolf, Cross, now a member of the FBI, tries to stop a Russian mobster known only as the Wolf.
- In London Bridges, Cross tries to stop the Wolf once and for all, but the Wolf has enlisted the Weasel, Geoffrey Shafer, to help him take Cross down.
- In Mary, Mary, Cross tries to stop Mary Smith, a psychopathic killer targeting Hollywood stars and power-brokers.
- In Cross, Cross, who has left the FBI to open up a private psychology practice, and John Sampson try to stop The Butcher, a serial rapist/murderer who may be somehow connected to the murder of Alex's wife Maria.
- In Double Cross, Alex, still in private practice, rejoins the MPD as a special consultant to the Major Crimes Squad and is joined by John Sampson and new love interest, Det. Brianna Stone, in an effort to stop the DC Audience Killer, a serial killer with a flair for showmanship who may also have some connection to a previous Cross nemesis, The Mastermind.
- In Cross Country, Cross travels to Africa to investigate the death of an old friend, where he is brutally beaten several times. He ultimately unravels a conspiracy linking the killers with the US and African governments.
- In Alex Cross's Trial, Cross writes a novel based on the experiences of his great-uncle Abraham Cross, who in 1906 worked with attorney Ben Corbett (at the behest of President Theodore Roosevelt) to investigate the lynching of Black citizens by the Ku Klux Klan in Eudora, Mississippi.
- In I, Alex Cross, Cross gets involved in the investigation of the death of a relative, which leads into a world of fantasy and violence. All leads points to a brutal murderer with White House connections known only as Zeus.
- In Cross Fire, Cross attempts to capture a sniper who is assassinating corrupt politicians. In the midst of the investigation, the Mastermind resurfaces.
- In Kill Alex Cross, The two children of the President of the United States have been kidnapped, with Det. Alex Cross being one of the first to attend the scene and investigate the crime. However, there's a shadowy figure that is using the CIA, FBI and Secret Service to stop him from being involved in the case and shedding light on the disappearances.
- In Merry Christmas, Alex Cross, Cross is put on the case when the local church's poor box is robbed. After solving the case, he must solve a series of murders and may not make it home for Christmas.
- In Alex Cross, Run Alex Cross must investigate three murders at the same time. While struggling to handle a situation at home, Alex finds himself being watched by someone who wants revenge against him. When the moment comes, all Alex can do is run.
- In Cross My Heart Alex Cross must face an unknown foe, which threatens to destroy Alex and his family. Alex has always managed to take down serials killers and survive. But now.... Alex's family is targeted and if he does anything to save them.... they will die. Can Alex protect the ones he loves and stop a brand-new killer at the same time?
- In Hope to Die Alex Cross is being stalked by a psychotic genius, and is 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?
- In Cross Justice When his cousin is accused of an unthinkable crime, Alex Cross returns to his North Carolina hometown for the first time in over three decades. As he tries to prove his cousin's innocence in a town where justice is hard to find, Cross unearths a family secret that forces him to question everything he's ever known. Chasing a ghost he believed was long dead, Cross gets pulled into a case involving a string of murders. Now he's on the trail of both a cold-hearted killer and the truth about his own past - and the answers he finds could be fatal.
The Wolf turns out to be multiple people. Except for Klara Lodge, the individuals taking the name share common characteristics: they are Russian males of considerable height, strength and athleticism; work in the Russian mafia; and are former KGB agents.
In The Big Bad Wolf, Pasha Sorokin is initially believed to be the Wolf. He is known by several aliases, primarily as Ari Manning, an influential Israeli businessman based in Miami. Cross traces Sorokin's human smuggling ring by taking down his associates, leading to Sorokin's arrest at his Palm Beach mansion. While Sorokin is in custody, his associates are murdered while in witness protection. En route to court for his first appearance, the police convoy transporting Sorokin is ambushed. Another "Wolf", Anton Christyakov, blows up Sorokin with a rocket launcher to prevent him from betraying them.
In London Bridges, the Wolf threatens to bomb New York City, London, Paris, Frankfurt and Washington, D.C. in the absence of a multibillion-dollar ransom payment. He bombs a small town in Nevada and a village in rural England to prove his point.
Anton Christyakov is the ultimate wolf. He had been recruited by CIA Director Thomas Weir and had left the Soviet Union in 1990. Christyakov moved to Paris and was reunited with his family. However, they were killed when their house blew up in 1994, leading Christyakov to turn on the Agency. Cross recognizes Christyakov and gives chase. Christyakov commits suicide before he can be captured.
Geoffrey Shafer, also known as "The Weasel", is a colonel in the British Army who later receive a posting to MI6 and serves as a diplomat in the British embassy in Washington. In Pop Goes the Weasel, it is established that while he was posted in Bangkok, he started a game called the "Four Horsemen" with three other British officers and partook in murdering prostitutes. Shafer continues killing after being posted at the embassy, in some cases selling kidnapped women to one of the other "Horsemen." Shafer murders Patsy Hampton.
Shafer waives his diplomatic immunity to stand trial for her murder and is acquitted in a sensational trial. In the Bahamas, Shafer kills the other three "Horsemen" and then is apparently knocked out and drowns during an underwater scuffle with Cross. Shafer however survives and in disguise he returns to England to murder his wife Lucy.
In London Bridges, Shafer settles in Salvador, Brazil, but is forced to work for "The Wolf" and is assigned to kill Cross. In London, Shafer holds Cross at gunpoint but fails to anticipate that the latter would fight back; Cross gets the upper hand in the scuffle and kills Shafer.
FBI agent Kyle Craig, also known as "The Mastermind", is Cross' biggest nemesis. They were originally close friends and worked to solve big cases, including the kidnapping of Cross' niece in Kiss the Girls. The Mastermind is introduced in Roses Are Red as the head of a local crime spree encompassing robbery and murder. At the end of the novel Alex's partner is raped and murdered and the reader is made aware that Craig is the culprit. In Violets Are Blue Alex discovers his identity and the two have a physical confrontation. Craig is sentenced to a maximum-security prison in Colorado. Alex visits to consult with him on cases until Kyle escapes in Double Cross. Craig taunts Cross throughout the next few novels. In Cross Fire, Craig disguises himself as FBI agent Max Seigel, and gets himself assigned to Cross' latest case. After the case is solved, Craig decides to go after Cross's family. At the end, Craig shoots an oxygen tank, killing himself.
The Tiger & Ian Flathery
In Cross Country, while investigating the murder of his former girlfriend Eleanor Cox, Cross encounters the Tiger and his crew of savage teenagers. Ian Flathery, a CIA agent, seems to set him up before he arrives in Africa. At the end of the novel, Alex kills Tiger after a long wild chase and confrontation, while Ian Flaherty is compromised and arrested.
Gary Soneji first appears in Along Came a Spider. He kidnaps two children. At the end of that book Soneji is in prison, but in Kiss the Girls, he escapes. In Jack and Jill, Cross gets a call from Gary saying that he'll be seeing him soon. In Cat and Mouse, Soneji returns, opening fire in subway stations and killing his wife Missy. He locks his daughter Roni in a cellar as had happened to him as a kid. Eventually Cross finds out that while in prison Gary was raped and now has a terminal disease, sending Soneji on a killing spree. Gary goes after the man who raped him, but Cross blocks him leading to a chase in a subway. Gary reveals he has a bomb and Cross shoots him. Gary falls down and the bomb goes off, setting Soneji on fire, killing him. Later Cross is attacked in his house by Gary's friend, following Soneji's earlier request.
The Audience Killer
The Audience Killer, or DCAK (DC Audience Killer), appears in Double Cross. He likes to kill people in front of an audience. In Double Cross, Mastermind escapes from prison and works with DCAK. It is revealed that two killers are working together as the Audience Killer, a man and a woman. They kidnap Sampson and lead Cross and Stone to a building where they reveal themselves. They were Cross's patients Anthony and Sandy. Anthony and Sandy are both lovers and siblings. Bree shoots Sandy, killing her, and Cross and Anthony fight to the death, but Anthony lives and threatens revenge.
The Butcher, Michael Sullivan, is a serial rapist/murderer who was around when Alex's wife Maria got shot. He resurfaces after nearly thirteen years and Cross and Sampson discover that he is responsible for multiple rapes. They also conclude that Michael had killed Maria. Michael has three sons and a wife. He has a home in Massachusetts, where they go when in danger or on the run. When Alex and Sampson confront him, he denies killing Maria. When Michael takes his own wife hostage to avoid being captured, he turns his gun on Alex, but John Sampson is too quick for him and kills Michael, thereby barely saving Alex's life. [Patterson, James: Cross; Chapter 120, Second ¶.]
Zeus debuts in I, Alex Cross where he kills Alex's niece, Caroline. Alex relentlessly gives chase. Zeus's identity is unknown, as he always wears a ski mask. The Secret Service discover that Zeus has a connection to the White House. Zeus kills "escorts". He firsts sleeps with and often rapes them and then kills them. Two men clean up after his crimes. Alex eventually learns – from a girl who escapes – that Zeus is the U.S. President's husband, Theodore Vance. Before Cross can arrest him, Secret Service Agent Dan Cormorant kills him to prevent the scandal from damaging the President.
Jimmy Hats Galati
Jimmy Hats kills Maria, as described in Cross. He was an assassin-for-hire and worked for a mob family. He once partners with The Butcher. Despite only appearing briefly in a flashback and never meeting Alex, Jimmy Hats plays a big role in the series. Her death motivates Alex to find her killer and take cases. It is later revealed that Sampson killed Jimmy.
Harold 'Grandfather' Caine
The Grandfather is a mysterious crime boss of a fertilizer company in Cross Justice that transports drugs to and from Starksville. He is willing to kill anyone who dares to find out what he is up to and foil his evil plans. No one knows who he was until by the end of the novel, he is revealed to be none other than Rashawn Turnbull's own grandfather Harold Caine. He enjoyed killing Rashawn because he felt that Rashawn had humiliated him because of the colour of Rashawn's skin.
Kiss the Girls
In Kiss the Girls (film), Alex is portrayed as a detective and a psychologist, who specializes in cases with the most frightening killers and situations. After handling a case where he convinces a woman who had shot her husband in self-defense to not commit suicide and come in for questioning, Alex is informed of his niece Naomi's disappearance. In North Carolina, Alex works with detectives Nick Ruskin, Davey Sikes, and FBI agent Kyle Craig. He discovers that a serial killer labeled "Casanova" is kidnapping and sometimes killing women. Teaming up with Kate McTiernan, who is the only woman to escape Casanova, they both discover that another killer, "The Gentleman Caller", is working alongside Casanova. With the help of Naomi's boyfriend, Seth, they rescue the girls. After The Gentleman Caller is captured and Casanova escapes, Kate invites Cross over for dinner. However, before Alex departs, he discovers that Casanova is really Nick Ruskin and guesses that he is going to kill Kate. He arrives in time to stop him from killing her, but is unable to use his gun due to the gas leak that Nick has caused. Trying to buy time, Alex talks with Nick, growing enraged when Nick talks about holding Naomi hostage. Nick taunts Alex, claiming they are the same, Alex shoots through a milk carton (to extinguish any spark) and kills Nick.
Along Came a Spider
In Along Came a Spider (film), Alex is struggling to forgive himself for a sting operation that goes wrong and ends with the death of a partner. He plans to retire, but receives a phone call from Gary Soneji, who has kidnapped a young girl, Megan Rose, forcing him to take up the case. He ends up teaming up with Secret Service agent Jezzie Flannigan. After discovering Soneji's hideout, Alex figures out that he is trying to create a crime of the century, paralleling the 1932 Lindbergh kidnapping. With Jezzie's help, Alex stops Soneji from kidnapping the Russian's president's son, Dimitri Starodubov. Jezzie asks Alex why he takes such cases. He replies that people find something that they have a gift for, or that they like to do and get good at, telling her that "you are what you do". During their conversation, Soneji breaks into the house and knocks out Jezzie, holding Alex at gunpoint. They talk and Alex realizes that Soneji wasn't the one who received the exchange and that he no longer has Megan. When Jezzie awakens and attacks Soneji, Alex kills him with a shotgun. Alex discovers that Jezzie and another Secret Service agent, Ben Devine, had discovered Soneji's plan and decided to take the money. When he follows Jezzie to her hideout, he sees her trying to kill Megan, now her captive, after killing Ben. Alex denies that she was ever his partner and shoots her in self-defense, killing her. Afterwards, Alex takes Megan back to her parents.
Alex is married to Maria and living with her and their children and Nana Mama in Detroit. He partners with childhood friend Tom Kane and new trainee, Monica Ashe. After solving a case, Alex returns home and learns of his wife's pregnancy. Realizing that he needs better pay and more time with his family, he decides to join the FBI, which will result in moving to Washington D.C., and plans on telling Maria. Alex discovers that Tom is involved with Monica, and disapproves. Alex shares the news of his wife's pregnancy and his decision to take the FBI job. Tom wants him to decline and continue their partnership.
Alex and Tom investigate the murder of Fan Yau Lee, a rich woman, and discover that the killer is an assassin, whom they call "Picasso". They stop him from killing his next target, Erich Nunemarcher. Alex deduces that businessman Giles Mercier is the next target and that someone is paying Picasso to kill them.
Alex tries to convince Maria that the FBI job is right for them, but she does not want to leave Detroit. Alex receives a phone call from Picasso, who reveals that he has murdered Monica and starts to taunt him. He realizes that Picasso is targeting his wife with a sniper rifle. He rushes to save her, but she is shot from afar. She dies in his arms and is comforted by Tom at the hospital. After the funeral, Alex receives another call from Picasso, who tells Alex that he originally planned to kill him, but changed his mind so that Alex could feel something worse than death itself. Alex vows vengeance, but Nana Mama tries to convince him to let go of his anger. Alex tells her that he has to find a way to live without Maria, and that he has to kill Picasso to protect the family.
Tom and Alex learn of Picasso's license number from a drug dealer, who they torture for information. Too late to stop Picasso from killing Mercier, they chase him into an abandoned theater, where Alex kills Picasso by making him fall to his death. Tom saves him from falling after Picasso. Alex later discovers that Mercier was Picasso's original employer, who faked his death and escaped to Indonesia. Alex manages to frame him for cocaine possession and Mercier is executed by firing squad.
At the film's end, Alex takes the FBI job. Tom's shows him his own FBI application, hoping to work together again. Alex goes home and watches from afar as his children and grandmother pack for Washington D.C., realizing that they are his real reason for living.
Each of the Alex Cross novels has been released in Audiobook format. Peter J. Fernandez portrayed Cross on seven Audiobook adaptations. Other voices include Shawn Andrew, Michael Boatman, Andre Braugher, Tim Cain, Keith David, Robert Guillaume, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Blair Underwood, and Alton Fitzgerald White.
The movies do not match the novels in multiple ways.
- The first two movies do not mention Maria. In the 2012 reboot, Maria's character is different from her portrayal in Cross. The novel's gentle, shy woman becomes more strong-willed and opened minded in the movie.
- In Kiss the Girls, Nana Mama, an older Janelle and Vicki appear, without Damon and without speaking. In Along Came a Spider, only Vicki appears. In Alex Cross, Damon and Janelle both appear. However, Janelle is now the older sibling. Janelle is shown to have a strong relationship with her elders.
- In the reboot Alex and his family live in Detroit.
- John Sampson makes a few appearances in Kiss the Girls but is absent in Along Came a Spider. In the 2012 movie, a new character, Tommy Kane, is Alex's childhood friend and partner and has an expanded role.
- Nana Mama is seen in two of the three movies. Her brief appearance in Kiss the Girls, was followed by a bigger role in the 2012 film, where she is portrayed as a hard woman, full of tough love. She shows sadness when Maria is murdered, saying that she loved her like a daughter. She tries to convince him not to seek revenge.
- The main villain of the 2012 movie, who goes by "Picasso", is a villain from Cross, there known as Michael "The Butcher" Sullivan. In the movie, he adopts the alias, The Butcher of Sligo, but his real name is never revealed.
- In the reboot, Sullivan is Maria's killer.