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227 of 235 people found the following review helpful
on March 23, 2000
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
on October 22, 2000
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
on January 18, 2000
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
on October 31, 1999
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
on August 17, 2000
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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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on May 25, 2001
This was the third Alex Cross book I have read and so far it was the best. In this exciting story Patterson creates a suspenseful plot with some extra twists.
The main plot is detective Alex Cross searching for a murderer/kidnapper. But Alex Cross has a number of social and political issues that he deals with on a daily basis, an example is being pulled off of the murder case of a black family in the projects to find the kidnapper of some rich white kids.
Cross' witty replies are always entertaining when he is confronted by one of his superiors. I also like the way that the subplots in this story came together, it wasn't just filler material. This book left me wanting for more.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on February 28, 2000
James Patterson has to be the greatest writers of thrillers/suspence as of late. All I can say about any of James Patterson's books is that if you read a prologue to any of his work, you are hooked. Along came a Spider is no execption. The Character Alex Cross is so well developed and likeable that you only want more of him. James Patterson keeps his chapters short and to the point with no unnecessary narrative's. I read Along came a Spider when it first hit the book stores and i couldn't wait for J.P.'s next book. There are so many twists and turns in Along Came a Spider that you keep trying to figure out how he is going to tie it all together, but he does and so well. I reccommend, Jack N Jill, Cat & Mouse, When the Wind Blows and JP's latest book, POP GOES THE WEASAL. Anything By james patterson is worth the money and your time, he always keeps you guessing
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on June 15, 2012
I had high hopes for this series based on the publicity. My feeling was that since the author had written over 60 books on the best seller list, he had to be good.

Was I wrong! I have read about 10 Cross books and out of order, so I wanted to get to the beginning of the series. I felt there was so much missing in the plot and character development that I needed to begin with the first book.

I was wrong.

In subsequent books Cross's wife gets either shot by a sniper while in his arms, or shot in a drive by shooting when he isnt around. Cross and his wife have 2 children and the wife was pregnant at the time of her shooting and the unborn child dies, yet later he is a widower with 3 children. Nana Mama is a school teacher, then she is a principal, then she is long retired. Nana is healthy then she is almost dead, then she is perfect, with no reason given for the changes. The number of children and ages make no difference to the story so why invent an extra child?

These things can drive a person with reading comprehension and memory crazy. Why write a series of books with a central character and have glaring continuity issues?
The only real constant is that Cross looks like Mohammad Ali and his best friend Sampson is almost 7 feet tall and wears sunglasses.

Why does each new thought in the book need to be a new chapter? I mean really, 89 chapters? and other books have even more. 145 chapters? Maybe a little thought reconciliation is in order.

The poor plot development is the biggest issue. Things happen very suddenly for no reason. Cross is meant to be a shrink/cop yet he never really analyzed the facts, yet the story is mostly written in the first person. Which brings up another point. First person, second person flipping is crazy. Sometimes Cross talks first person, then next chapter it is all 2nd person for no reason.

All I have to say is AAAAArgh. I will not be reading another Patterson book, it hurts my head too much.
I cannot understand why so many people buy this book and rave about it. Reality shows are more compelling.

Don't buy or borrow this author's books!!!!!
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on September 22, 2001
Along Came a Spider is the first installment in the detective Alex Cross series by Patterson. I did not read these books in order, but that has not detracted from the flow of any of the books. Since I have read the other books first, and the first book last, Detective Alex Cross has changed somewhat into a mellower, more likeable character. I did not see the movie, but had envisioned Denzel Washington to play the smooth and sophiscated Alex Cross and was disappointed in the choice of Morgan Freeman. But after reading this book, Morgan Freeman fits Alex Cross in this book perfectly - for this book only!!!
I love Patterson's books and have read just about all of them. I find them to be engrossing, suspenseful and I just can't put them down. He foils me with the ending each and every time!!
In this book, Patterson has a serial killer at large, Gary Soneji, who has kidnapped two children, and who wants to be known as somebody. Jezzie Flannagan from the FBI, is also on the case, giving Cross support to capture the killer. Three great strong main characters, exposed to the reader so as to get into their psyche, yet intertwined with each other to make for one incredible story.
The ending is a blow out, which is what I love about Patterson - hanging on to the edge of your seat with each and every page, and giving you the shocker at the end. I love it! His books are definite thrillers and shockers!
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on October 26, 1997
I am at a loss to understand how this book even managed to get published. I purchased this with high expectations, and immediately sat down to read it, expecting (from the reviews I had heard) a taut, tense thriller. I've never been so wrong in my life. Fifty pages into the novel (if you can call it that), I couldn't stand it any longer.
Let me give you an example of the narrative: "The sergeant was a jelly-roll-belly type, probably left over from the Civil War. His face looked like a wedding cake left out in the rain. He didn't seem to be buying my tweed jacket ensemble." Scintillating, huh? Half the time I couldn't understand what he was talking about; his writing was actually distractingly bad. Usually this might be cause for not publishing a story, but no, James Patterson just goes right on selling those books, despite an apparent disregard for tenses (which he regularly switches) and any sort of clarity. It's as if he's actually *trying* to confuse us. And if he is, it's certainly working.
I know that, since I didn't read the whole book, or even most of it, I'm probably being unfair to the plot (what there is of it), but I think that I've read more than enough of his work to shy away from anything he writes in the future.
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