Along Came A Spider Book Review

Along Came A Spider Book Review

Title: Along Came A Spider
Author: James Patterson
Published: 1992, Warner Books
No. of Pages: 502
Cover Price: $7.99 US

James Patterson is well-known for his popular Alex Cross series, and Along Came A Spider is the first installment introducing Alex Cross, et. al. The story opens with a prologue regarding the infamous kidnapping and murder of the Lindbergh baby in 1932, as explained through the thoughts of the 12-year old kidnapper. It then jumps to 1992, and introduces Alex Cross, who is a brilliant Homicide detective and psychologist, his partner, John Sampson, and his delightful grandmother, Nana Mama. As the story unfolds, Alex and his partner are called to a triple homicide scene where a mother, daughter, and 3-year old boy have been brutally murdered; a similar murder has just previously occurred, and Cross suspects this is just the beginning of a rash of serial murders in the poorest part of town targeting blacks. Cross is determined to solve the murders, even though those in management at the police department regard these murders as unimportant because they involve the poor. While at the murder scene, Cross is called to a private school where a famous actress’ daughter and the son of the Secretary of the Treasury have been kidnapped by a man posing as a teacher at the school, Gary Soneji. Cross is told that the kidnappings are high-priority, and he resents the fact that two rich kids take precedence over six murders of innocent, albeit poor, black victims. Patterson does an excellent job of merging the two scenarios as Cross investigates and works to solve both of the crimes.

Readers who have read Patterson's previous books will notice that the writing in this book is significantly improved; there are no plot issues left unresolved, and his introduction of characters is good. However, it is classic Patterson in that he seems to have some kind of computer program that he plugs characters and plot into and it spits out a novel that appeals to the lowest common denominator type of reader - nothing new for the reader to learn and no research on the part of the author involved. This is a book with a good story, but nothing educational.

For those unfamiliar with the Alex Cross series, this book is the one to read first; it explains the background of the characters while weaving them through a very suspenseful tale with many unexpected twists and turns. Patterson makes the characters seem believable and real; readers will be kept on the edge of their seats, and will admit that the only drawback of the novel is that it ends. Most suspense/thriller aficionados will waste no time picking up the next book in the series.

This book was purchased with personal funds and no promotion of the book was solicited by the author or publisher.

This book may be purchased at Amazon: Along Came a Spider (Alex Cross)

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