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Maggie O’Dell Books In Order

Publication Order of Maggie O'Dell Books

A Perfect Evil (2000) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Split Second (2001) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Soul Catcher (2002) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
At The Stroke of Madness (2003) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
A Necessary Evil (2006) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Exposed (2008) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Black Friday (2009) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Damaged (2010) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Hot Wire (2011) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Fireproof (2012) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Stranded (2013) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle


Mostly writing suspense and psychological novels, the American author Alex Kava is well known for wrapping layers of intrigue and mystery into her stories. Creating a wealth of titles, she has come to be regarded as one of the foremost writers within her field and genre. Setting up her characters and narratives, she has a mastery of building up slowly, always working towards the final climatic moments. One particularly well received series of hers is the Maggie O’Dell franchise, which has spawned over eleven books so far and counting. Chronicling the investigations and case files of the eponymous FBI criminal profiler Maggie O’Dell, it follows her career throughout the intelligence services. With her down-to-earth style and straightforward approach, it’s easy to see why so many have taken to her as a character.

Giving way to a spin-off series as well, this franchise has also paved the way for the Ryder Creed series, which has also totalled three books of its own so far. Based on the character of the dog handler Ryder Creed, it branches off from the Maggie O’Dell series where he was a supporting character. With a lot more to come from both series, it appears that this franchise wont be stopping any time soon, as more books are expected to be released for some time yet.

A Perfect Evil

Initially published on the 17th of June, 2000, this was to be the first in the long-running series of Maggie O’Dell books. Creating both the style and tone of what was to be the series overall, it also manages to set-up a lot of the characters and their arcs as well. Providing O’Dell with her first case too, it works as a taut and well plotted detective thriller too, keeping the readers guessing right until the very end.

The character of Maggie O’Dell herself is one of intelligence and straightforward pragmatism, as she does whatever it takes to get the job done. With an astute mind, she is able to get into the head of a killer or criminal, seeing what makes them tick, something which she draws the readers into as well. Relatable and to her audience, she is not without her flaws, as her social life dwindles, with her being focused solely on her work and solving the case first and foremost. With her supporting cast too, Kava creates a strong interplay between her and her co-workers, each with their own backstory as well. Set in Platte City in Nebraska, Alex Kava really makes the most out of her location, fully taking into account the full sense of scope of the area as a whole. Creating a rich texture in both the tone and the style, it manages to build upon this ambiance through the use of character and how people there interact with one another. As the city becomes a character of its own almost, it really is integral to the proceedings, as Kava really knows the area well and it shows in the narration.

In what appears to be a copycat killing, the brutal murder of three young boys occurs shocking the citizens of Platte City and, not only that, the real murderer appears to still be out there. As it looks like the killer will strike again at any time, it would seem that the clock is against them to find the killer before it’s too late, as Sheriff Nick Morrelli arrives on the scene. Then, when Morrelli’s own nephew goes missing, the stakes are really upped, and it is down to Maggie O’Dell to get one step ahead of the killer and track them down. Will she be able to find the killer? Can they keep anyone else from being killed? What will become of a perfect evil?

Split Second

First published in 2000 on the 17th of June, this was a title initially released through the Mira books publishing label to much acclaim. With the characters and the premise already having been set-up it manages to develop them, bringing them forwards for the readers. Managing another case too, it this time sees O’Dell a little more seasoned somewhat after the events of the previous novel.

Developing the character of Maggie O’Dell herself even further, it takes the foundations laid by the previous novel and builds upon them. O’Dell may be focused, but she is still human with all her weaknesses and vulnerabilities, something which Kava doesn’t hide from. This then allows the audience to relate to her, building a more full formed and three-dimensional personality that resonates with readers. Again the supporting characters are also there to back her up too, providing her with clashes at times, but always working to strengthen her character arc as a whole. This time taking in a wider scope Kava expands upon the action broadening it, thus providing her with a larger canvas which she can work with. In regards to the threat itself, a killer on the loose in this case, the background is only hinted at, something which Kava works into the background as O’Dell struggles to comprehend a force of evil. Working as a part of the landscape, this manages to set-up a lot of the action to follow, creating a world that’s inhabited by dark and dangerous forces.

A once captured serial killer named the Collector has broken out of prison causing Maggie O’Dell to track him down again. Knowing his mind, the killer, real name Alber Stucky, Maggie O’Dell is dealing with nightmares as she attempts to deal with his previous reign of terror. Now she must find him again whilst simultaneously battling with her demons. Will she be able to find him before it’s too late? Where will he attempt to strike next? What can happen in a split second?

The Maggie O’Dell Series

Extremely well plotted with very tightly woven and intricate narratives, these books take their readers into the mind of Maggie O’Dell and who she’s investigating. Whilst this may be well worn territory for many, in the hands of Alex Kava it’s something entirely different, as she takes it somewhere else. That’s not to say she doesn’t utilize the tropes and expectations of the genre, but she manages to subvert them into something unique all of her very own. Each book continually keeps the readers guessing right up until the very final moments when all is eventually revealed. With a gift for thrilling climaxes, Alex Kava is able to create a fully self-contained novel, whilst simultaneously not forgetting character arcs. As her writing career grows from strength-to-strength, there’s plenty to come from Kava yet as a writer, with more on the way soon.

Book Series In Order » Characters » Maggie O’Dell