Along Came a Spider Hardcover – Feb 1 1993
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From Publishers Weekly
This second big winter thriller by a writer named Patterson (see Fiction Forecasts, Oct. 19) features a villain (a multiple-personality serial killer/kidnapper) whom the publisher hopes will remind readers of Thomas Harris's Hannibal Lecter, and a hero who is compared to those of Jonathan Kellerman. Unfortunately, the novel has few merits of its own to set against those authors' works. Hero Alex Cross is in fact a black senior detective in Washington, D.C., who is also a psychiatrist and has a facile but not entirely convincing line of sentimental-cynical patter. The villain is Gary Soneji/Murphy (read Hyde/Jekyll), who kills for recognition, and finally kidnaps the kids of prominent parents. Alex is soon on the case, more enraged by Gary's killing of poor ghetto blacks than by the Lindbergh-inspired kidnapping, and becomes involved with a gorgeous, motorcycle-riding Secret Service supervisor who is not what she seems. Soneji/Murphy is eventually captured--but can the bad part of him be proven guilty? There is even a hint at the end that he may survive for a sequel, though the reader has virtually forgotten him by then. Spider reads fluently enough, but its action and characters seem to have come out of some movie-inspired never-never land. If a contemporary would-be nail-biter is to thrill as it should, it urgently needs stronger connections to reality than this book has. Come back, Thomas Harris! 150,000 first printing; Literary Guild main selection.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Alex Cross, a black Washington, D.C., police detective with a Ph.D. in psychology, and Jezzie Flanagan, a white motorcycling Secret Service agent, become lovers as they work together to apprehend a chilling psychopath who has kidnapped two children from a posh private school. The psychotic villain, who aspires to become more notorious than Lindbergh baby kidnapper Bruno Hauptmann, is effectively nightmarish. Atypical characters, sex, sometimes shocking violence, and several surprising plot twists are all attention-grabbing, while short chapters with a shifting viewpoint add brisk pacing and genuine suspense. Patterson's storytelling talent is in top form in this grisly escapist yarn. Highly recommended for public libraries. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 11/1/92.
- Will Hepfer, SUNY at Buffalo Libs.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
Other than the smooth reading, what kept my interest consistently alive was the fact that every time a mystery was solved or a plot point concluded, something new came up. Quite early on in the story, we are introduced to the perpetrator and his grand plans; and even while I was wondering what was left to read, the story revealed yet another dramatic turn of events.
I did not care for the two biggest relationships in this story - that of Alex Cross and his grandmother, and that of Alex Cross and Jezzie Flannagan, the head of the missing children's Secret Service detail. Both seemed to be written by someone who was not comfortable discussing relationships and had to resort to clichés to tell that part of the story. Only the fact that one of them is integral to the story, made me keep reading through those sections.
Other than that small hitch, this was a great story told really well - moving rapidly from morbid obsessions to brutal murders, from hypnosis sessions to unlikely witnesses ... with some really surprising twists.
We first meet Detective Alex Cross when he is investigating a brutal murder of a family of three in Washington, D.C. He is soon called away to deal with a high profile abduction of two nine year olds from their private school by one of their teachers. The teacher, Gary Soneji, turns out to be one of the most loathsome characters I have encountered in a book.
This abridged version was read by Alton Fitzgerald White and Michael Compstey (cover shown is from the unabridged version). The reader for Gary was so effective, then when I heard his voice, I actually cringed.
Author James Patterson has created in Alex Cross, a man I could respect. He is thoughtful, considerate and of course, highly intelligent. He is a trained psychologist who has seen some of the worst that man can perpetrate against each other, yet he hasn't lost his compassion for those he encounters in his work and for his own family. I look forward to reading further books in this series.
If you like characters such as Gary Soneji, you might enjoy the Color of Evil Series by author Connie C. Wilson.
In the first of the Alex Cross series, this story is a race against time to find a kidnapped girl of a famous actress. Cross is called in to help, and in only the way he can, he finds his way to the end of this suspenseful ride. Not only will you enjoy the writing which propells the suspense and mystery, but you'll also enjoy the character development. It leaves you wanting more of Alex Cross, one of my most favorite detectives of all time!
I definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading thrillers. I'll warn you though, like me, after you read this book, you'll be off to the store or library to pick up many more books by James Patterson.
The first installment, entitled Along Came A Spider, introduces us to the character of Alex Cross, the tough detective/psychologist from Washington DC, as he sets out to catch a sociopathic serial killer with a possible split personality, Gary Soneji, who has kidnapped 2 young children. After one of the children is found dead, Cross partners up with a female secret service agent to find the surviving child before it's too late. His search leads him along a journey through the darkest alcoves of the human psyche before emerging into the light. A page-turner from beginning to end, the novel captures the reader's attention and doesn't let go until the killer is caught.
This was my first EVER eBook, and while the screen on my iPhone is a bit small, I quickly got used to it, and read the novel in a couple of days. I love the convenience of having the book wherever I go too!
Most recent customer reviews
What a book, could not put it down. Right to the last chapter, nothing is as it seems. You think you have it figured out and everything changes. Read morePublished 10 months ago by marilyn
This was a great story. A few surprises which made it even more interesting. Would recommend this book to everyone.Published 10 months ago by Bev Alcorn