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5 Books like Alex Cross: Blood, Secrets & Lies

Helen Maloney itcherJames Patterson is one of the bestselling authors around, especially in terms of gritty crime thrillers. If you like a good mystery, then these 5 books like ‘Alex Cross’ will keep you guessing – from the cynical Harry Bosch (‘The Black Echo’) to the troubled but determined Eve Dallas (‘Naked in Death’) – and there are enough thrills to keep you eagerly turning the page. ~ Helen Maloney
Like James Patterson’s ‘Alex Cross’ novels, these books will have you keen to figure out which evil mind is behind it all and see if they can be stopped in time.

Books Similar to ‘Alex Cross’…

‘The Black Echo’ (Michael Connelly, 1992)

Image Source: Biblio Cosmos

Harry Bosch is a detective who got into a spot of bother and had to move from the prestigious ‘Robbery-Homicide’ department to that of ‘Hollywood Homicide’.  Not good with authority or quietly following the rules, he causes temper tantrums wherever he goes as he tries to solve an old army buddy’s murder – one no one else seems to be interested in.

Michael Connelly is a new find for me and, personally, I really enjoyed reading about police work in the early 90s and seeing where so many of the detective clichés I am familiar with come from. I can’t help but be reminded of ‘Along Came a Spider’, which was written and published in the same year.

Similarity Match: 90%
Like ‘Alex Cross’, Harry Bosch won’t hold back with what needs to be said or done, but unlike Cross, his issues stem more from his time in Vietnam than racism, prejudice and a murdered wife.

‘The Surgeon’ (Tess Gerritsen, 2001)

Image Source: Amazon

2 years ago Catherine Cordell went through a traumatic and life-altering experience. Just as she begins to regain her confidence, a new, terrifying and sadistic killer is stalking her, one whose crimes are very similar to those of the monster she survived. For detectives Moore and Rizzoli, it’s a race against time to find the creature at the heart of it all.

Like ‘Alex Cross’, Rizzoli has anger and authority issues, and she also suffers because of prejudice and discrimination, though this has more to do with being a woman in a male-dominated profession. Also similarly to Alex, Moore still suffers from the death of his wife almost 2 years ago, but he does a good job of keeping the darkness within himself. The dynamic between these two new partners is interesting to read as they navigate the circumstances they find themselves in.

Similarity Match: 85%
If you like ‘Alex Cross’ then you will enjoy ‘The Surgeon’ with its similar writing style – multiple viewpoints, fast-paced and action-packed scene with slower moments to build depth and characterisation.

‘Bag of Bones’ (Stephen King, 1989)

Image Source: Momentum Books

Some of Patterson’s other works include elements of the supernatural or paranormal and that’s the case here too. Bestselling novelist, Mike Noonan, returns to a favourite lakeside getaway after being tortured by nightmares of the place, only to discover the town is in fact plagued by ghostly happenings. Using all his wit, he must solve an old crime while trying to help the woman he is falling for keep her daughter from her rich and powerful grandfather’s greedy hands.

Stephen King is another master storyteller and this novel has all the elements of a Patterson thriller: suspense, an authority figure to hate, a troubled hero and a gripping, action-packed ride – alongside the typical King spooky scenes and style.

Similarity Match: 80%
Like Alex, Mike is another troubled hero who will stand up for the underdog but, unlike Cross, Mike is a writer not a policeman.


If You Like ‘Alex Cross’, You Will Like…

Here are 2 more books like Alex Cross, which still have elements of the mysterious within them but have more romance too…

‘Naked in Death’ (J. D. Robb, 1995)

Image Source: Bookadda

Eve Dallas is hunting a ruthless killer, one who favours antique weapons, when she finds herself attempting to figure out and resist the magnetic Roarke (a futile effort, I might add), while proving he is not in fact the one she is searching for.

There’s a lot more romance in this novel (and the series) unlike Patterson’s work; almost a 50:50 blend of mystery-solving, crime-fighting action and Eve’s personal journey towards Roarke. There are many similarities with ‘1st to Die’ and the ‘Women’s Murder Club’ series as well, not least the fact Eve ends up surrounding herself with a group of like-minded, strong and interesting women, who often help with her cases.

Eve is a no-nonsense detective who will do whatever it takes to get justice for her victims, however she has great respect for those her commanders.

‘Heat Wave’ (Richard Castle, 2008)

Image Source: Wikimedia

Although this is still a crime novel, it is different from the others, as this is pretty much exactly what you would expect in a detective story written by a fictional character and based on the hit TV show ‘Castle’.

However, it does contain many similar elements to Patterson’s novels, such as being a novel that is sometimes moving and sometimes makes you think seriously about something (often by shocking you), but always with the feeling that you know what you are in for – in this case lots of cheesy dialogue, dramatic action and not-so-subtle romantic tension.

There’s nothing fancy or too serious in this novel (or series) but if you want to enjoy a light mystery that reads like an episode of the show, then I say give this book like ‘Alex Cross’ a go – it might surprise you.


Gritty Thrillers and Honourable Mentions

There’s no denying that James Patterson writes a good and gripping crime thriller but there are many others out there I should mention if you are new to this genre or fancy trying something different.

If you like forensics side of things (like Claire in ‘Women’s Murder Club’) then Patricia Cornwell and Kathy Reichs are a great place to start. Also worth mentioning are old favourites like Jeffrey Deaver and Ian Rankin, who are known for their mystery-writing skills, and of course there is the classic ‘Sherlock Holmes’ stories by Arthur Conan Doyle, or the new versions by Anthony Horowitz.

I’d love to hear from you if you’ve read any of these books or if you have another book like ‘Alex Cross’ you think should be on this list.

Hi, I′m Helen, I teach English in the UK and am a book addict (I′m serious - if I go too long without reading I get withdrawal symptoms!). I also love music, films, crafting, corresponding and video games. It is impossible for me to sit still unless I′m eating, holding a book or making something.
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