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Along Came a Spider (Alex Cross) Paperback – August 1, 2003

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Editorial Reviews

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. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Series: Alex Cross (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (August 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446692638
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446692632
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1.3 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,047 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #95,894 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

It is no surprise that in January, 2010, The New York Times Magazine featured James Patterson on its cover and hailed him as having "transformed book publishing," and that Time magazine hailed him as "The Man Who Can't Miss." Recently, NBC's Rock Center with Brian Williams profiled Patterson's prolific career, AARP named him one of the "50 Most Influential People Who Make Our Days a Little Brighter," and Variety featured him in a cover story highlighting his adventures in Hollywood.

In 2013, it was estimated that one-in-five of all hardcover suspense/thriller novels sold was written by James Patterson, his books have sold over 300 million copies worldwide, and he holds the Guinness record for the most #1 New York Times bestsellers of any author. And his success isn't based solely on thrillers like the perennially popular Alex Cross, Women's Murder Club and Michael Bennett series. Patterson is now also the current bestselling author in the young adult and middle grade categories.

He's been called the busiest man in publishing, and that's not just because of his own books. For the past decade, James has been devoting more and more of his time to championing books and reading. From the James Patterson Pageturner Awards, to his website, to his College Book Bucks scholarships and his regular donations of hundreds of thousands of books to schools here in the states and troops overseas (see interviews on Fox & Friends, The Dennis Miller Radio Show and, Patterson has passed on his passion of books and reading and supported those who do the same. Jim personally funded a major ad campaign re-printing a recent opinion piece on about how it is our responsibility to get our kids reading. The ad has run in the New York Times, The New Yorker, and USA Today. Those ads are a call to action to parents to make their kids reading a top priority; and were featured by USA Today here. Patterson believes that we cannot rely on schools, teachers or the government to get our kids reading; only parents can make this crucial change in the reading habits of our kids. Here are links to some interviews on his first-ever dual lay down (two books, one for parents and one for kids, in one day): AOL's You've Got, NBC's "Today Show" with Hoda and Kathie Lee, USA Today and Family Circle, NBC's "Today Show" with Al Roker, as well as an interview with AARP.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

227 of 235 people found the following review helpful By D. Jones on March 23, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book flies. I had just read a couple of books that I thought were pretty lame and needed something fast and exciting. A woman I work with recommended James Patterson to me. I did a little research and found that this book is the first in a series for fictional detective Alex Cross. (I hate to read a series out of order, even if the stories are independent and don't continue from book to book.) Along Came A Spider is a perfect "fun" read. It moves at a very rapid pace. (The chapters are usually just a few pages.) It has pretty well developed characters considering its quick pace and more plot twists than you'll ever anticipate. Just when the romance element in the book started to bore me Patterson turns it on its ear. Another thing that makes this book so good is that despite the surprising plot twists everything is fairly believable within the context of the story. I read a lot of mystery/suspense and one of my biggest complaints is that I'll get really into a book and the climax will be totally ridiculous. You know, the killer will turn out to be the sister of the girl that was accidentally drown in the rich family's pool the night of the prom thirty-five years before but nobody recognizes her because she's a master of disguise or whatever! Along Came A Spider has none of that. It's consistent, quick and exciting! Read it!
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58 of 61 people found the following review helpful By Gerard T. McGuire on October 22, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Having read everything by Michael Conelly and Jeffrey Deaver, I was looking for a master of suspense with an imaginative and intellectual lead character. I found both with James Patterson's Along Came A Spider and Dr. Alex Cross.
Alex Cross is a lead detective with the Washington Police Department. He is also a very able licensed psychologist. While investigating a series of murders he is called out to take the lead in the investigation of the kidnapping of a politician's son and a movie star's daughter (Maggie Rose). It isnt long before he finds out the murderer and the kidnapper are one in the same. The manhunt for Gary Sonjei and the search for little lost Maggie Rose have Cross teamed up with the FBI and the Secret Service. Sonjei proves to be evil incarnate with a master plan and a high I.Q. The plot thickens and surprises abound, keeping interest at a high level throughout the book.
Patterson delivers what every suspense reader wants.... a vulnerable and loveable good guy along with a bad guy that has you afraid to turn out the lights at night. Just when you think you have it all figured out he kicks up the intensity another notch.
The book is a smooth read. There are little to no dull spots. You will finish this book wanting to read another Alex Cross novel. I know I did. FIVE STAR THRILLER !!
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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on January 18, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
This is James Patterson's first novel starring his well rounded hero Alex Cross. A brilliant African American detective with a higher moral agenda than your average suspense novel protagonist. In Along Came a Spider we are introduced to Patterson's seamless blending of first and third person narrative that works so well with a many faceted character such as Alex Cross. This book succeeds on many levels: as the villian Gary Soneji is trully vile but not unbelievably so, the supporting characters such as Alex's family are made interesting and revelant to the story, and it progresses quickly with twists and turns that lead to a surprisingly emotional ending. Along Came a Spider has a little of everything: criminal psychology, courtroom drama, love, murder, kidnapping, insightful family interaction, and the kitchen sink! This is a smartly written, superior book!
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 31, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This has not been the first time I've read a James Patterson piece. His amazing piece, Cat & Mouse was one of the quickest and most enjoyable reads I have ever had. Because of this, my expectations for this book were extremely high. However, Patterson exceeded my expecations in an unbelievable way. This is a true tale of good versus evil, pitting a Washington detective (Cross) against an abused and inteligent psychopath (Soneji). However, this story is not nearly as straight forward as one might expects, as it is filled with plot twists. Many of these revelations left me in complete shock only as James Patterson can. And although 500 pages may seem never-ending, the pace makes it quite the contrary. It is a must read for anyone who enjoys the suspense/mystery genre of writing, and a high recommendation for anyone else.
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30 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on August 17, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I read this book in the wrong order because I first read Cat and Mouse which is an unbelievably enjoyable novel (Read my review) so I already had a small idea of what happened in Along came a Spider. I will just say that this novel was like reading two different novels. One was a very intelligent suspenseful mystery about a kidnapping carried out to go right where the Lindbergh kidnapping went wrong. The scenes of Alex Cross trying to find Gary Soneji, the court scenes, and the conversations between Cross and Gary Murphy are wonderful. This part of the novel gets 5 stars.
However,I subtract two stars for the unbelievably boring and uninspired romantic twist to the story, there was a point where I just decided to skip whole chapters that didn't add anything to the story. I got through the first three hundred pages faster than I did the last two hundred. It was just mesmerizing to think that the same brilliant mind that came up with the suspenseful mystery came up with the other garbage. Don't get me wrong I do enjoy romance in a mystery novel, in fact I think its an important part but Patterson should ask Jeffery Deaver, who writes so well about the relationship between Lincoln Rhyme and Amelia Sachs, or maybe ask Ridley Pearson, who does so well with Lou Boldt and Daphne Mathews, to give him a few tips on mixing romance with suspense.
My reccommendation is read this novel but if the mood starts getting romantic don't waste your time, at least not until the end where the romantic scene is important.Alex Cross is a great character and Gary Soneji is the perfect nemesis, I just feel that Patterson did a better job of mixing his romantic chapters with the story in Cat and Mouse than what he was able to accomplish in this novel.
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