Along Came a Spider
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A missing little girl named Maggie Rose.

A family of three brutally murdered in the projects of Washington, D.C.

The thrill-killing of a beautiful elementary school teacher.

A psychopathic serial kidnapper/murderer who calls himself the Son of Lindbergh. He is so terrifying that the FBI, the Secret Service, and the police cannot outsmart him - even after he's been captured.

Gary Soneji is a mild-mannered mathematics teacher at a Washington, D.C., private school for the children of the political and social elite. He's so popular that the kids all call him "Mr. Chips." And he's very, very smart. Growing up, he always knew he was smarter than the rest of them - he knew that the Great Ones always fooled everybody. He kidnaps Maggie Rose, the golden-haired daughter of a famous movie actress, and her best friend, Shrimpie Goldberg, the son of the secretary of the treasury, right out from under the noses of their two Secret Service agents. But Gary Soneji is not surprised at his skill. He's done it before. Hundreds of times before.

Alex Cross is a homicide detective with a Ph.D. in psychology. he looks like Muhammad Ali in his prime. Cross works and lives in the ghettos of D.C. He's a tough guy from a tough part of town who wears Harris Tweed jackets and likes to relax by banging out Gershwin tunes on his baby grand piano. He has two adorable kids of his own. They are his own special vulnerabilities.

Jezzie Flanaganis the first woman ever to hold the highly sensitive job as supervisor of the Secret Service in Washington. Blond, mysterious, seductive, she's got an outer shell that's as tough s it is beautiful. She rides her black BMW motorcycle at speeds of no less than 100 mph. What is she running from? What is her secret?

Alex Cross and Jezzie Flanagan are about to have a forbidden love affair-at the worst possible time for both of them. Because Gary Soneji, who wants to commit the "crime of the century," is playing at the top of his game. The latest of the unspeakable crimes happened in Alex Cross's precinct. They happened under the protection of Jezzie Flanagan's men. Now Soneji is at large again, still wreaking havoc.

Alex Cross must face the ultimate test as a psychologist: how do you outmaneuver a brilliant psychopath? Especially one who appears to have a split personality - one who won't let the other half remember those horrific acts?

Soneji has outsmarted the FBI, the Secret Service, and the police. Who will be his next victim?

Gary Soneji is every parent's worst nightmare. He has become Alex Cross's nightmare. And now, reader, he's about to become yours.

Customer Reviews:

  • The Spider crawls
    Along came a spider crawls along. I started reading Patterson with Cross and Double Cross both of which were heart pounding. Am continuing on my Patterson Quest based on the last two. Need to find out about X's beginnings....more info
  • Easy to read. Hard to put down.
    This is my first James Patterson book. It was recommended by a friend because I had asked for some suggestions on books with short chapters. (I am more of a USA Today person than a NY Tmes person). I had finished reading all of the Dan Brown books and didn't know what I should read next. I hate to stop in the middle of a chapter, and not being much of a reader, I don't like to make the "commitment" required by books with long chapters. I need to know that I can put a book aside after just 5 minutes when my kids interrupt me This way, I am more likely to get through it. Well, this one was perfect for me. It captured my attention throughout so that I was always coming back to it after each and every interruption. The plot was interesting and suspenseful. There were several twists that got me to say "oohh" out loud confirming to my kids that their dad is crazy. I'll definitely read the next one in the series....more info
  • james patterson: Along came a spider
    This is the first book that I've read by this author, and most definitely the last. It is completely devoid of any craftsmanship;the plot is unbelievably sloppily laid out;the characters are one-dimensional. ...more info
  • What Happened to Maggie Rose?
    December 21, 1992. At a high-security private school, math teacher Gary Soneji kidnapped two students - Michael Goldberg, whose father is the Secretary of the Treasury, and Maggie Rose Dunne, the daughter of a famous actress.

    Alex Cross is a forensic psychologist who works as a DC homicide detective. After being pulled off a serial killer case in one of DC's lower-income neighborhoods, Alex is thrown into the hunt for Michael and Maggie Rose, as well as apprehending Gary Soneji. Michael soon turns up dead, and Gary Soneji is arrested in a McDonalds far from the capital city.

    There's just one problem. Gary Soneji is known to the world as Gary Murphy, a quiet man who works hard to provide for his family. This is not the image that the kidnapper, who calls himself the "Son of Lindbergh", has given himself. Does he suffer from multiple personality disorder? Or is he just putting on an act for the police? And what has happened to Maggie Rose?

    During the next two years, Alex Cross develops a relationship with Gary. But when things start to look strange, he begins to ask questions that reach far into the government. Who is Gary Murphy/Soneji? And how exactly does Secret Service agent Jezzie Flannigan fit into the puzzle?

    "Along Came a Spider" is James Patterson's first Alex Cross novel, and it is truly a page-turning thriller. With a vividly-described and likable protagonist and a mystery with more turns than a maze, Patterson has created a world that will stay with you long after the final secret is revealed....more info
  • Average thriller, over the top plot complete with holes
    I gave When the Wind Blows a horrible review and had only read one other book by Patterson, which was a terrorist thriller of average quality, when I decided to bite the bullet and try this one out.

    Obviously some people really like his style and stories, so I figured this one, made into a movie, couldn't be THAT bad. I wasn't too disappointed, in fact, since I expected it to stink, I was actually a bit impressed.

    If you're into chick written mystery thrillers, then this one will probably appeal to you. I tend to enjoy more meaty offerings, Caleb Carr's great historical murder thrillers come to mind and Scott Turow's mysteries (lawyer based). These types of books really get into the characters and don't rely so much on the "hyper" plot with out of the world, head line grabbing stories.

    This book makes the same mistakes that I found in the decent thriller Absolute Power, in which stuff happens that really could never happen. I understand that is one of the points of certain types of fiction "Blockbuster" fiction, if you will, but it doesn't have to be so over the top.

    In any case, this one's a fairly quick read, and not a total let down, as for those that give this book the kind of glowing "best novel ever" type reviews, well, I don't believe those people have read much fiction.

    The cover of the paperback copy I read of this title had a glowing endorsement by Nelson DeMille, who is a superb writer, I'd recommend all his books before going to this series, but if you're a quick reader with lots of time, I'm going to give this an okay recommendation....more info
  • Not Free SF Reader
    This book is one of a series, it appears. A highly competent investigator has to track down a killer of the serial variety, who, is most definitely crazy.

    There is also a female FBI agent involved, and it appears that she is most likely more than a little bit dodgy, as well. A dick, deaths and a dodgy dame.

    ...more info
  • Good Read
    This is my first Alex Cross novel, very good read, much better than what I remember of the movie. Gary Soneji/Murphy is one scary and smart killer.

    This made me start Kiss the Girls right away, I can't put it down. Patterson is very good writer...more info
    I started to read some of the newer Alex Cross books & wanted to start reading them from the beginning. Along Came A Spider was excellent w/lot's of twist's & turn's in the plot! I'm ready for the 2nd one in the series! S.L. Chessor author of My Tongue Fell Out & Poodlums Boogeymen and Booglers.My Tongue Fell OutPoodlums, Boogeymen and Booglers: A Poetry Collection

    ...more info
  • Along Came A Spider
    This is a story of a police detective, Alex Cross, and a secret service agent, Jezzie Flanagan, teaming up to apprehend a psychopath killer. The characters go through a series of killings and problems to get closer to what they want, which is to rescue two private school children that Ms. Flanagan was responsible for and stop the killings. At first, I couldn't really relate to the novel, but James Patterson's writing put me into the story. It was like I was at every scene. I liked the book very much. I would recomend this book to anyone who likes thrillers, mysteries and adventures all in one. ...more info
  • Breezy writing, fairly entertaining
    First off, let me say that those aiming to find great literature will not find it in the pages of this book. Comparing Along Came a Spider to A Farewell To Arms is like comparing a Mozart symphony to current pop music. That said, you will find a pretty good crime thriller that you can run through in a couple days. That's the reason the work is a massive bestseller. I thought the plot was compelling but, even at 500+ pages, I didn't really feel that much for the victims. Patterson devotes much more development time to the "bad guys". Also, superfluous writing crops up every now and then. For example, I remember one part where a criminal says something along the lines of: "Believe whatever the hell you want." Then after that quote, we get this profound commentary from the narrator: "He didn't care what I thought." Well, obviously! Not a major problem, but it comes across as a little amateur.

    Still, even after those criticisms, I did mostly enjoy the book. If you're looking for a quick, easy read with some interesting twists, I say go for it. Good plane/vacation reading. 3 to 3 1/2 stars.
    ...more info
  • Alex Cross won't be forgotten
    I read this book a few years back, and recently saw the movie. I'm such a fan of Patterson's, I wanted to include my review.

    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....more info

  • Plot not as airtight as Scott Turow.
    This is a competent thriller: I stayed up to learn more even when I should have turned my lamp off and gone to sleep. I particularly commend Patterson for his ability to write believably from the point of view of someone from a different race. It sounded realistic to me; however I'm not African-American & I'd like to know how it sounds to someone who is.

    Patterson succeeds in creating "life on the page." The writing quality is not consistent. Cliches, redundancies and irrelevant descriptions disappointed me at times.

    I'll try to avoid writing a Spoiler Review, but a *very* illogical event was that someone who didn't murder receives the death penalty....more info
  • Another Winner for Patterson
    ALONG CAME A SPIDER is the second Alex Cross book to revolve around the villain, Gary Soneji, a teacher at a private school in Washington DC. Soneji is also known as Son of Lindbergh, a murdering serial kidnapper that has outsmarted most of Washington's law enforcement. I also must say that Soneji is one of Patterson's most diabolical villains to date - he doesn't torture his victims the way we saw the villain in KISS THE GIRLS do, but he is much smarter and that can be very scary all by itself!

    Because of Soneji's brainpower, he's kept ahead of the law in the past. Now Alex Cross is on his trail and the going gets much more difficult for Soneji. Alex Cross is a homicide detective with a doctorate in psychology. Most of the readers can relate to this main character because he's an average guy, who's down to earth. In this book he does have one obsession - he is attracted to a female supervisor of Washington's Secret Service. Cross is determined to stop Soneji before his madness can kill another person and must work around the conflicting emotions set in place by his affair with another in law enforcement.

    ALONG CAME A SPIDER is definitely a great. Patterson's first book, KISS THE GIRLS was awesome, but this one is even better than the last! The reader can easily relate to the easy going, down-to-earth character of Alex Cross, who plays the piano when he's troubled, or enjoys playing with his children. I think the normalcy of this character helps draw the reader into the story, until you can't put it down. Patterson's villains seem to be created from a nightmare too terrible to remember. With this combination, Patterson is sure to stay on top of the bestseller's list!
    ...more info
  • Mediocre
    Definitely not worth the time investment.

    I don't read many thrillers--they're not my cup of tea--but as far as books in general go, this book was rather bad. Maybe all thrillers lack emotional depth and run along flat, clich¨¦ plot lines. Or maybe this was just a bad thriller. In either case, this isn't a book that I would recommend to any of my friends.

    It wasn't necessarily _bad_, but neither was it particularly good.

    There's a lot of unnecessary words in there. I could have typed up a plot synopsis of 500 words in half an hour, read it, imagined it all happening, and gotten the same enjoyment that I did reading 500+ pages.

    The plot's on the clich¨¦ side. It's redeemed in part by the twist toward the end, which is nicely foreshadowed in the chapters immediately before it, but the location, the conflict and the resolution are all much too conventional.

    The writing style's quick and clean, and the chapters are short, which makes for fast reading. Thank God, because if the style had dragged any more than it did, I probably wouldn't have gotten through the book. I felt that I could've put the book down at any moment while I was reading and not felt the urge to pick it back up. It didn't scare me, it didn't move me, didn't make me laugh or cry... I felt mild curiosity at times, but that was it.

    In a book this long, you'd think there'd be at least a sentence or two worth remembering. The kind of perfect phrase or chapter ending that makes you sigh and go, "Yeah, baby, now _that's_ good writing." There was exactly one sentence in the entire book that made me stop and read it again, and that was "Dreams are as powerful as the real world to our nervous systems." And that's only because I've been having some crazy dreams of late and experienced that statement first-hand. It's good enough writing, but not anywhere near excellent.

    _Along Came a Spider_ isn't a bad book. But it's mediocre, and in a world where time equals money, that's enough to get it buried alive.

    ...more info
  • James Patterson
    NEVER NEVER a disapointment This book is no exception
    I always think he can't outdo the last one but he always does
    Can't go wrong with this thriller...more info
  • Mistaken Identity
    For a long time, I've wanted this book for my James Patterson collection. I was very disappointed when I received it because it is a book club edition. All 36 of my other books by the author are the same size. It should have been clearly stated that this was not the regular hardback size. I would not have purchased it. I love Patterson's books because the clues in the mysteries are always hidden in plain sight. I should have read the books measurements and I would not have mistaken this book for the one I wanted. It was a case of mistaken identity....more info
  • Beware of the sticky web of deceit
    Over the years I have acquired quite a collection of James Patterson books but always wanted to start reading him from the beginning of the Alex Cross series. I don't know what took me so long to discover why he's such a popular author but I'm glad I finally did. Although I must add that once I started reading him I was on a hunt for the rest of the books I was missing, it's impossible not to get engrossed and lost in a slick thriller such as "Along Came a Spider" and not crave more. The moment I was done with the 1st book I was all ready dreaming of snatching the 2nd, it was worth to wake up early on Sunday and make a quick run to the bookstore for the next chapter of Alex Cross's life. I usually don't read a series back to back but my mind and appetite were taken hostage and I had to succumb to the calling of another great book.

    Let me just say how easy it is to have this or his other books spoiled, I didn't read the editorial reviews till after I was done with the story and good thing too, I felt that some of the surprising moments were being dangerously close to being mentioned.

    This highly suspenseful story begins with a kidnapping from the past that inspires future psychopaths; the famous Lindenberg baby is snatched from his crib, to be buried alive. This becomes the inspiration for Gary Murphy and the evolution of his alter ego Gary Soneji - ruthless kidnapper and killer with over two hundred victims on his black soul. Gary wants to be somebody, he wants the streets to hum and buzz with terror at the very thought of his name, he's also an exceptional planner who's ideas take years to plan and without leaving any prints or traces of his true identity. He's the master of disguises and faux credentials that let him slip into many sectors unnoticed, and watch his future victims. Gary decides to act on his master plan and kidnap two prominent children from their highly guarded school. The ransom is in millions but sometimes Gary likes the mental and physical torture more than money, he lives and breathes on inflicting terror on men, women and anything that will cross his way, especially children. He's trilled at the thought that the famous Alex Cross is on his tail, and he does his best to taunt and stalk the man, leaving him more crimes to solve. Just when things start to come to light another devious plot exudes a foul stench, a warning that the case if far from being over, one that puts a real spin on the story. I cannot say any more, this book is best read with knowing the smallest bit of detail because so much happens and not all turns out well for Cross.

    For a five hundred page book this reads extremely fast, I was done with it in two days and if my eye balls weren't revolting I would have read something right after it but they needed a break. It's quite enjoyable to read a juicy book that doesn't let go and one that ends with a bang, now I see why so many people read and like Patterson, he's pretty awesome.

    - Kasia S.
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  • Much better than the movie
    If you've seen the movie, do not let that stop you from reading the book. It is a great suspense novel and quite different from the movie...much more character development and more to the story. ...more info
  • Not Bad
    I thought this book was pretty good. Overall it was entertaining, but i felt like it was missing something. Patterson is very easy to read which makes this an easy page turner. Enjoy it, but dont expect too much....more info
  • Patterson
    Another great James Patterson book.....he keeps you on the edge of your seat and it is hard to allow anything else in your daily schedule until you read the entire book...............more info
  • A thriller on speed
    To the reader whose first book in the Alex Cross series is a recent one, it is not crystal clear that the hero is an African-American, but in this early offering, race is central to the plot. It is not clear why the emphasis on race was downplayed as the series progressed.

    Once again, we see the super-crafty criminal, a murderer and kidnapper. Such figures dominate thrillers, whereas in real life, the criminals tend to be below normal in intelligence and make mistake after mistake. Perhaps mediocre to stupid just isn't interesting enough. If I have a fault with the plot, it is the villain's talent and the attempt to cram too much of this into too few pages. Jeopardy, of course, is what fuels the story, but too much is still too much.

    The detailed, R-rated inter-racial love interest is distracting from the plot. It does figure in the finale, but it might have been done better. It just seemed manipulative, put into the book for the prurient reader.

    I liked the characters, particularly Nana Mama, a wise woman. The atmosphere of Washington and environs is good. All in all, this is one of the better novels featuring Dr./Detective Cross. The later ones are considerably less interesting.

    ...more info
  • pretty bad
    This book is completely uninspired. Huge swaths of pages are almost unreadable. This is fiction at its worst, pressing every button to garner the highest thrill quota. Patterson does do a little better with his following novels `Kiss the Girls,' and 'Jack and Jill,' and this is his first novel I presume from over ten years ago, but it pales in comparison to some other better works. Try Jim Thomson, Edward Bunker, or `Silence of the Lambs' (Which Patterson sadly rips off left and right here).

    This book leaves a disgusting film over the reader's cerebral cortex. Its only saving grace is an interesting twisting plot line that really packs a well thought out wallop.

    Read the two in the series that I recommended and stay away from the rest of Patterson's toxic waste land.
    ...more info
  • great novel
    Great suspense with good charecters. Extremelly fast paced which is classic patterson. This is one of the better alex cross novels....more info
  • Couldn't put the book down!
    AMAZING! I loved it. I would read it for hours and hours. I had a hard time putting the book down. It was great!...more info
  • Along Came A Spider
    This is the most poorly edited book I have ever read - spelling. grammar. and punctuation errors. ...more info
  • Along Came a Spider
    This suspense thriller was read by 2 great readers. It was listened to while in my car and it was hard to turn it off when arriving at my destination. This was my first book on tape by James Patterson and I hope that others by this author will be read as superbly....more info
  • A quick read
    I decided to give Patterson a try and bought this book along with the next in the series. If you're expecting amazing literature, move on. The sentences are amazingly simple. But it does make for a quick read. If you're interested in a beach book, then this will do just fine. I gave this book as many stars as I did because it is exactly what you assume it to be: light reading.

    The first few chapters did make me want to toss the book, but I endured and after a while began to enjoy the book. I haven't read the other reviews, so I may be the only one, but I did get tired of the book constantly talking about blacks being oppressed and how it's so unusual for a black man and a white woman to be together. It's just not that odd for me, I guess, and a lot of the comments were so stand alone that I felt it detracted from the plot of the book and actually managed to take me out of the scenes.

    Note: I read this on the Kindle. The format makes this book easy to read through. There are some formatting issues such as occasionally some paragraphs will be bigger than others or there will be extra skipped lines between paragraphs but nothing to detract from the reading. My biggest complaint with reading on the Kindle for this book is the glaring number of misspellings. They're rampant throughout the book. Since I've never read a Patterson book before, I'm not sure if it's like that on the print version or if those of us on the Kindle are the only ones lucky enough to experience it. While it wouldn't stop me from buying the book, it did become extremely irritating. Just when I became engrossed in the book, I would come across one and it would take me out of the scene immediately. That could just be me and my need for correct spelling. Hopefully it won't bother you as much....more info
  • Just Okay; Good Book for Plane of Beach
    This is a fairly entertaining page-turner about a serial murderer and the psychologist/detective who pursues him and tries to find out what makes him tick.

    There are too many plot gaps for my taste and the book is not very knowledgeably researched about mental illness.

    It's a good book to read on a plane or the beach....more info
  • Suspense, drama, danger -- all wrapped in a good story.
    Another great book by James Patterson. The story and characters were complex and the situation plausible.

    How well do we know the people in our lives -- particularly the ones who are involved with our children is the crux of the story, and that is thought provoking -- as it should be.

    Highly recommended. 5 stars....more info

  • The grass is too green
    When I read a book and I keep reading and I get nothing of the main story I say that the writer is green dyeing the grass, since I already know that the grass is green with out dyeing it, I think that I don't have to read words that doesn't say anything, for example:

    The Jezzie-Alex's affair could be written in five lines at the beginning of the book and five more at the end so you can understand why she was a bad agent. The book has chapters and chapters of this affair.

    What happened with Alex's family is part of the book, but whatever they are going to have for breakfast every morning, who cares?

    The trial is boring and it repeats everything you already know.

    ... And as the rabbit I can keep on and on......more info