The series has been running since the 1990s and is ongoing. Nearly all have made bestsellers lists and garnered favorable reviews, especially Double Cross, Cross Fire, I, Alex Cross, and Alex Cross, Run.
The series is published worldwide, with Little, Brown currently holding publication rights in the United States, in paperback, hardcover, and audiobook editions. The first book in the series, Along Came a Spider, was released in 1993 to positive reviews, spawning a series of over twenty subsequent novels. The series has led to three films, Along Came a Spider, Kiss the Girls, and Alex Cross (a reboot) with a possible sequel, despite very negative reception.
Alex Cross is a widower-detective-father who often fights against threatening villains—and criminals—who wish to kill Cross and others. It mainly focuses on Cross trying to solve very difficult cases while attempting to maintain a relationship with his family. For example, in Merry Christmas, Alex Cross, Cross misses out on Christmas Eve and Christmas itself to focus on finding and defeating a terrorist group. One of his regular foes in the earlier books is Kyle Craig, the "Mastermind" who wants to kill Cross, out of revenge for Alex putting him in prison. In some books, Cross sometimes works with—or against—the President/Secret Service in a few books such as Along Came a Spider, Jack & Jill, I, Alex Cross, and Kill Alex Cross. An ongoing theme in the earlier novels is the unsolved murder of his first wife, Maria. Cross later reveals another reason for trying to solve the cases: so he can protect his family from danger. Cross currently lives on Fifth Street in Southeast Washington, D.C., along with grandmother Nana Mama, children Damon, Janelle ("Jannie"), and Alex Jr. ("Ali"), and his current and new wife, Brianna "Bree" Stone-Cross.
When Alex was 9, his father died of alcoholism, a year after his mother died. He went to Washington, D.C., to live with his grandmother—Nana Mama. During his childhood, he met his later best friend John Sampson. He also later met his wife, Maria, in Washington, and married her. After giving birth to two children, a few months or years later, she is murdered. Alex later meets a woman named Christine, who becomes pregnant, giving birth to an additional third child for the Cross family—Ali. She later leaves Ali with Alex dealing with traumatization over her kidnapping in Pop Goes the Weasel. Afterwards, she tried claiming custody over Ali and succeeded. However, she later gave Ali back to Alex, who had joined the FBI at the time. His deadliest foes are Geoffrey Shafer, Gary Soneji, and Kyle Craig; all three have been killed through the course and events of the book series.
In Cross, Alex discovers who really killed his wife, and will do anything to take down her murderer. He learns he was chasing a false killer, and the real killer is Jimmy Hats, whom Sampson killed long ago. At the end of the novel, Alex comes to terms with Maria's death and moves on with his life. Double Cross sees Alex as he falls in love again—with detective Bree Stone; he must also assist her in the case of DCAK, a murderer, known as DC Audience Killer, as he retired from the FBI before the events of Cross. In I, Alex Cross, he decides to find and solve the murder case in which his deceased niece, Caroline Cross, was involved in due to her being a victim. He later learns who the murderer is—the president's husband—but the murderer is later killed by an agent from the Secret Service. Also in the book, Alex proposes to Bree and she accepts, becoming his fiancée. By Cross Fire, Alex and Bree get married and face off once more against Kyle Craig, who dies at the end. With Kyle dead, Alex, Bree, and his family experience a sense of peace, something they haven't felt for a long time.