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In this book, James Patterson invites us in to the first installment of the life of Alex Cross. Cross, a member of the Washington police department, specializes in the psychological aspects of catching the murderers in the most horrific of cases.
What Patterson excels at particularly well is balance that action, seriously gun-toting and deadly tension with Cross' other life issues. Living at home with his "Nana" and his two children Damon and Jannie, he is adapting to life without his dead spouse Maria.
Throughout the book, we bare witness to all of Cross' issues. Whether it be his family's recent loss, the quest to catch the horrifying killer or the bureaucracy that prevents Cross, perhaps the biggest asset in the police department, working to his full potential.
Working with Sampson, his 'built like a basketball player', his best friend, Cross' life is engaging and therefore so is the book. Patterson drew me in well enough that not only could I not put this book down, I have since almost caught him up in how fast he writes them! And this is no mean feat!
'The whole nation was in uproar when two celebrity rich kids were kidnapped - and then one of them was found dead. For such a high-profile case, only the top people would do: Alex Cross, a detective with a PhD in Psychology, and Jezzie Flannagan, a fast-rising Secret Service agent. Yet even they were no match for the killer. He could switch from blood-crazed madness to clear-eyed sanity in an instant. But was he the helpless victim of a multiple-personality disorder - or a brilliant, cold-hearted manipulator?'
I picked Along Came A Spider up in my local Asda with my shopping last week for the bargain price of £1. I'm an avid reader of crime fiction, but tend only to read British authors. The only American ones I do read are James Patterson and Karen Rose. I love both these authors books for very diffrent reasons, but can also see positives and negatives to both authors individual writing styles.
My mother-in-law introduced me to James Patterson around a year ago when I read almost every crime fiction available to me by British authors either in the local library or online, and I can safely say he did not disappoint. I began with one of the later books in the Alex Cross Series 'Double cross', and was instantly hooked but had not yet came across the debut in the series. Until now.
Again, this novel did not disappoint. As usual it is fast paced and drama-filled. It contains the perfect contrast too, including scenes of newly found love, familal bonding and finding one-self, that can bring a smile, yet also draw a tear.
I have always found the relationship between Alex and Nana Mama to be very intiguing and compelling, and this novel definitely delves a little deeper into their history, which I immensely enjoyed exploring.
However it didn't delve as deeply into the subject of his late wife, as I would have expected from the debut, since the loss of his late wife seems to be a key trait to the character of Detective Cross.
In true style this is a fine piece of penmanship, which pays attention to detail, making the reader feel as though they are there witnessing the scene first hand. I have never been to America, but when James describes the sun beaating down on Alex's skin I can almost feel it, his writing is so compelling.
James makes great use of word choice, and his work as always is oozing desriptiveness. I am one who like to nit-pick when it come to grammar, punctuation and spelling in published works and found no errors of note. :D
Also James has a fantastic talent for character building, and makes you feel as though you know his characters personally. His profiling is so strong and the characters introduced in this piece certainly do not disappoint. You sometimes find yourself wanting to shout at them 'What the hell are you doing?'. Since you feel like you know them so well, and this is why I love the Alex Cross series in general.
This storyline in particular could have been a disaster if either rushed or dragged on it the terms of plot-line, but James got it just right as usual.
There is drama from the very first scene to the very last and will definitely keep you up into the wee hours of the night, due to the intriguing plot-line, and complex, unexpected twists. You are kept guessing until the very last, and at one point you wonder if Detective Cross will ever solve the case. One minute you think you know what going to happen, and then boom, something else comes along and throws a curveball in that train of thought.
I really like the way the author leaves you to make up your own mind on if the killer is really insane or is it all just an act, although excellent evidence is presented on the contrary to both fates.
I also loved the way this particular story was set in a short, yet concise chapter layout. As in general I feel James' chapters to be a tad on the long side. Having a young son, I prefer small easy read chapters, as they fit into my limited free time, much more easily and I hate leaving a chapter unfinished.
On the downside, I felt this particular novel could have been a bit more informative in regards to the ending. It covered all the key points, but I just felt a little more information and background in this area, would have added a little something extra.
On a whole, I would definitely recommend this novel. In fact, I already have to the other avid readers in the family. It is excellent value for money, and was a sstory I couldn't put down. Even with the limited time available to me, I found so intriguing, I stayed up way to late to devour it, and managed to successfully complete it in just two days. So grab a copy and join Detective Cross on his latest journey of murder and mayhem life always seems to throw at him. I promise you wont be disappointed.
Once getting into the Alex Cross series after reading 'Cross' I decided to start from the beginning of the series so picked up a cheap copy of 'Along came a Spider' and soon realised I couldn't put the book down.
As a character, Alex Cross is a brilliant but flawed genius (which is a popular choice of protaganists at the moment) but is executed brilliantly by Patterson, and even though the setting and events which take place are a world away from my own life I can definately relate to the character.
Gary Soneji, the main antagonist, is another brilliant character and is just a work of pure evil and Patterson manages to make the reader despise the character as if he had done something to their own family.
The plot manages to merge action with thriller and suspense and the short chapters coupled with quick changes of character perspective makes the whole read fly by. Since this book I've gone on to read the entire Cross collection and remain completely hooked.
Along came a spider is the first novel in James Patterson's Detective Alex Cross series. Alex Cross is not only a detective in the Washington police force, he also has a PhD, so he is a Doctor too, of psycology.
Alex lives in an area of Washington that is a far cry from the Washington we see on the TV and in movies. It is a poor, neglected area and he lives with his "Nana Mama" - his grandmother who raised him after his mother died, and quickly became the most important figure in his life, teaching him he can do whatever he sets his mind too, and his 2 children. Nana Mama helps him look after the children after their mother died.
Doctor/Detective Alex Cross is introduced to us in a horrific murder scene in his area of town, a family have been slaughtered, and Alex, along with his partner Sampson are furious to be taken off the case to investigate the kidnapping of 2 celebrity rich kids from a prestigious private school.
Alex and Sampson quickly put aside their reservations and work hard, alongside Jezzie Flanagan, an high flier in the secret service, and the FBI to chase their kidnapper across the country.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and strugged to put it down. Alex Cross is introduced to us, and we get to like him very much, but the personal stuff does not in anyway detract from the rest of the story. This is the first in a series of books by James Patterson about the cases that Doctor/Detective Alex Cross has to investigate, and I can't wait to read the next one.
This book is the first in the series about pyscological detective Alex Cross. He is a big, black (his race is quite prominent in the book), family man with 2 children who he lives with, as well as his grandma, living in Washington DC. His partner, and also best friend, Sampson, is always there at his side to support him with his personal life, as well as his work.
The story starts off with a bit of background into Alex Cross to get the reader filled in with what his life is all about..... but quickly moves onto the case of murders of a black family, which Alex is assigned to.
Soon after a kidnapping takes place at a prestigious private school by a Maths teacher called Gary Soneji. He has kidnapped a boy, Michael Goldberg, and a girl, Maggie Rose. Alex Cross gets moved onto this case, much to his dismay as he felt very close to the case of the murdered family.
The story evolves with Cross following any leads to get to the truth. He meets a female called Jezzie, which eventually leads the a sexual relationship.
The relationship and kindapping case switch quite a lot over the last half of the book which eventually leads to the truth which noone see's coming (unless you've seen the film!).
An exciting episode which will keep the reader reading chapter after chapter without stopping. With a thrilling storyline from start to finish the reader will wish they were Alex Cross.
A must read.
Along came a spider is the first novel by James Patterson featuring Detective Cross. Detective Cross is also a qualified psychologist who had previously run his own practice before he became a policeman.
When Cross is called to the second murder scene within a week where a whole family have been brutally killed and mutilated he realises that there is a serial killer loose in Washington. However the murders occurred in the ghettos and are not considered all the important by his superiors.
When the daughter of a legendary Holly wood actress and the son of the Secretary of the Treasury are kidnapped by their maths teacher at an exclusive Washington school, Cross is taken off the murder case and assigned to work on the kidnappings.
When the body of one of the children is found horrifically mutilated, the pressure begins to mount against Cross and his team.
Cross begins a relationship with Jezzie, an FBI agent who was responsible for the security provided to one of the children.
Cross has his own issues, as he struggles to cope with the death of his wife three years ago in a seemingly random drive by shooting and raise his two young children with the help of his grandmother.
The book is written to allow the reader to see how the impact of his wife's death still affects Cross three years on and how this affects and motivates him in his job.
The story is tense and engaging. The ending is a completely unexpected twist providing a completely new dimension to the plot. There are still some questions left about Gary Soneji, the maths teacher but I think that is the nature of a psychological thriller, it certainly makes you think!
I would definitely recommend reading this!
Along The Spider is the first of award winning author's books featuring his favoured character, Detective Alex Cross. Being the first, not only do we get a thrilling tale, but we also spend a large part of the book finding out about Cross himself and his family and life in general.
The story is a disturbing one, and pits Cross against a criminal who is to be mentioned more than once in subsequent books: Gary Soneji. Soneji on the surface is a harmless and popular maths teacher. However, when he abducts two children whose parents are in high powered positions, Cross gears into action as the homicide detective with a degree in psychology. He chases the clues to find Soneji and the children before it's too late.
Patterson's writing style is fervent and non stop. Save for the few descriptive chapters here and there to explain and give a little background on Cross, Patterson doesn't have time to provide long, sweeping paragraphs about how beautiful the setting is or go into any detail on a grand scale. It's just pure story.
This has earned Patterson a reputation as being best for something quick and easy to read as opposed to classic literature, and many regard his novels as ideal for holiday reading. I agree, but I don't necessarily think this is a bad thing. The cleverness is in the speed. Everything in the books is suspenseful, making it hard to put down, and the read is that more enjoyable for not having to wade through endelss descriptive passages to get a bit of action.
Cross and Soneji clash very much within the pages of this book, and it is a thrilling read. Cross is a well developed character over the course of the books featuring him, and Patterson has left the path open for more action by giving us the bulk of Cross' history in this book. I highly recommend this book for anyone who likes a good detective thriller and who doesn't mind a quick read. The book retails at £6.99 but is available much cheaper elsewhere if you're prepared to look online or trawl the charity shops.
Along Came a Spider is another James Patterson book that has been turned into a film starring Morgan Freeman (like 'Kiss the Girls' has been). I'm not sure which film came first but I do know that in the books series, this is actually the first one James Patterson wrote starring his famous detective Alex Cross. I have to confess to reading 'Kiss the Girls' before I read 'Along Came a Spider' but as that's the wrong way round, I'd suggest others read 'Along Came a Spider' first!
The story in this book is one which involves introducing us to this brand new detective first and foremost. The world had yet to know of Alex Cross when this book was written so James Patterson devoted a lot of time to introducing us to his star detective properly. This includes loads of information about his home life and family, things we don't get to read a lot about in subsequent books. If you're interested in reading these books as a series, I think that's an important thing to be aware of.
The story unravels that detective Alex Cross is on the trail of a mental serial killer called Gary. Now don't laugh, I'm sure there have been serial killers called Bob at some point. I'm sorry but I have to say I don't think it was the best name to choose for a mentalist knife wielding maniac! That aside, Gary has a believable character and played an interesting role.
There's a bit of a downside to this suspense thriller though and that's that it's a bit, well, suspenseful. When I'm reading in bed at night, I either get involved or I want to go to sleep and some nights this just made me ready for an early night. I found it was a lot of work for very little reward if that makes sense. There are a lot of little twists in here I guess it's just that you have to work through a few chapters to get to each one. I suppose this is one of James Patterson's earlier works though.
My recommendation is to buy this book if you plan on reading the whole series. Otherwise, it's not worth it on its own.
Available online or in stores for around £4.99
HarperCollins Publishers Ltd
This is one of the best novels I have ever read, i just couldnt put it down. The film doesnt do it justice, this will have you on the edge of your seat from the first page to the last. The Alex Cross series is fantastic, he is a Black Washington Police officer and in Along Come a Spider two rich children are kidnapped under the nose of secret service agents and Alex Cross is on the case, but it appears that Gary Soneji has commited the perfect crime. I never knew what was going to happen next reading this, and really didnt know what was going to happen in the end until the last page. This book is a must read for all Thriller Lovers.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
James Patterson was born in 1947. He grew up in Newburgh, New York and graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in English from Manhattan College and summa cum laude with an M.A. in English from Vanderbilt University. He began his advertising career as a junior copywriter with J. Walter Thompson, North America in 1971 and went on to become the executive creative director and chief executive office. Patterson currently lives in Palm Beach County, Florida, with his wife and their young son.
BOOK DETAILS: ALONG CAME A SPIDER:
Paperback: 448 pages
Catagories: Fiction, Crime, Murder Mystery, Thriller
First Published: 1992
ORDER OF ALEX CROSS BOOKS:
Along came a Spider (1992)
Kiss the Girls (1994)
Jack and Jill (1996)
Cat and Mouse (1997)
Pop goes the Weasal (1999)
Roses are Red (2000)
Violets are Blue (2001)
Four Blind Mice (2002)
The Big Bad Wolf (2003)
London Bridges (2004)
MAIN CHARACTERS OF ALONG CAME A SPIDER:
Dr Alex Cross
ABOUT MYSELF (READING HABITS):
I am a very keen reader and love nothing better except to sit and read a great book. As such I have read quite a number of Authors and Books, but must admit that in regards to Crime / Thriller Books James Patterson is one of my favourites. Since I first discovered his books (I think my Mum actually first introduced me to them) I have read all of his books published as they have come out in paperback, although still not read London Bridges for some reason!
ABOUT THE BOOK:
OK, where do I start:
Lets start with some background to help you understand the book. Alex Cross is a Washington DC cop with a doctorate in psychology. Detective Sampson is his partner. Alex Cross is officially a Deputy Chief of Detectives but is still very much on the frontline of detective work. Due to his background in Psychology he is very good in getting into the mind of killers to work out what they are doing so he can catch them. He is very much your typical hero, widowed father of 2 children, whose wife was killed, living with his Grandmother (who is an excellent character in the books) and working hard. Gary Soneji is the killer / kidnapper in this book. He is a complete nutter to put it simply, intelligent and cunning and excellent at disguises.
Now about this book specifically:
Jezzie Flannigan is a secret service agent stationed at a private school to guard a number of children, among them Megan Rose, a Senators daughter. After her kidnapping by Gary Soneji, he contacts Alex Cross and challenges him to find him. Now Cross gets involved in the kidnapping and takes Jezzie Flannigan along as his partner.
Now to say much more really will give away the plot and say too much and spoil this excellent book which I really do not want to do. Sufficient to say that you follow the kidnapping of Megan Rose as well as other cases that Alex Cross is working on.
I have therefore put below a short extract of the start of the book, which will give you an idea of his writing style.
SAMPLE OF BOOK: START OF CHAPTER 1 OF THE BOOK:
EARLY ON THE MORNING of December 21, 1992, I was the picture of contentment on the sun porch of our house on 5th Street in Washington, D.C. The small, narrow room was cluttered with mildewing winter coats, work boots, and wounded children's toys. I couldn't have cared less. This was home.
I was playing Gershwin on our slightly out-of-tune, formerly grand piano. It was just past 5 A.M., and cold as a meat locker on the porch. I was prepared to sacrifice a little for "An American in Paris."
The phone jangled in the kitchen. Maybe I'd won the D.C., or Virginia, or Maryland lottery and they'd forgotten to call the night before. I play all three games of misfortune regularly.
"Nana? Can you get that?" I called from the porch.
"It's for you. You might as well get it yourself," my testy grandmother called back. "No sense me gettin' up, too. No sense means nonsense in my dictionary."
OPINION ON BOOK:
I find that James Patterson books are simply irresistible and this book is excellent. The Authors style is very much one for short chapters (sometimes only 2 or 3 pages) as he finds this makes the books easier to read. I must admit that sometimes I like this and other times it can really irritate me, really depends on my mood. It can be good as you can finish a chapter and reflect for a moment, other times I just wish he would get on with it and get a little more in depth in a chapter. You will have to make your own mind up whether you like this or not.
The Story in this book is absolutely excellent. The way that James Patterson writes really lets you get into the story and imagine the characters really well. Gary Soneji is a scary killer and the image of Cross as the loving father coping as a single parent is excellent.
I personally like the Cross stories a lot, they all follow on from each other in some way ( i.e. Gary Soneji reappears in later books, the story always follows Alex Cross, and the Author does draw on things that happened in earlier books, although he does explain what happens) and this allows you to really get into the books. You also follow the story of Cross and his family and this book really gives you the start for the whole series.
I would say that you can follow any of the Cross books, even if you have not read any of the earlier books. However I much prefer to read books in order and I do still recommend this, although it is not necessary in order to understand or follow the stories.
If you like Crime &Thriller books then this is definitely for you. James Patterson is absolutely excellent and I completely recommend his books.
One of my friends recommended James Patterson, and after reading a rather disappointing Patricia Cornwell novel, I was keen for something more gripping, and she assured me that this book was just what I needed. Since being introduced to this book, Patterson's name has become more familiar.
Many authors have their signature characters, with Cornwell it is Kay Scarpetta, and with Patterson, we have Alex Cross. This is the first of Pattersons books which features Cross, and we are given a brief history of how he got to where he is. Exactly where he is you discover is a widowed father of two, weighed down emotionally, living with his grandmother, and making a living as a detective/psychologist. He is struggling to move on with his life after his wife Maria was murdered in a drive by shooting, so focuses all of his energies on solving crime.
I do not want to give away too much of the plot as it would spoil the experience of reading the book as there are many twists and turns when you think the story is close to wrapping up. Basically, it is about a man who dreams of being world famous for all of the wrong reasons, and is not scared to go to extreme lengths to get the fame and notoriety he desires. Cross starts to investigate a murder, and his investigations link him to a new case with new twists and a possible new love interest, and before long the characters become intertwined for a number of reasons, and you have to read to the book to find out how it all pans out.
The experience of reading this book took me through a series of emotions, including sadness, frustration, annoyance and in some ways a slight fear of what was to come. The descriptive nature of Pattersons writing lacks a little in his character development, however when describing scenes and happenings he is a master. He gives you subtle hints which take you in a certain direction, only to take you somewhere totally different, and it is gripping stuff.
The characters are believeable, and that is what made me root for them, even the ones that I should have despised, I found myself pitying them. It is just under 450 pages long, and not once did I not eagerly turn the page wanting to absorb myself in the story even more. Patterson does not include unnecessary words to describe people and places, and this gives the book a good flow. The book was published initially in 1993, but it feels very modern and up to date, with plotlines, that could be and at this moment actually are current news stories somewhere in the world, and this only supports the credibility of the characters and the various plotlines.
Sometimes I wish there was a law against making films out of books. Granted there are many excellent screen adaptations of some fine books, but there are also some really dire efforts. Morgan Freeman starred in the film version of this book, and it was ok, but it has given me a firm visual picture of the main character and try as I might, throughout this book I saw his face whenever I was reading which spoilt the experience a little. Also, for anyone who has seen the film but not read the book, there are many differences between the two, and I would have to say the differences make the book a much better option, especially as the limited time available for the film leaves it with many unanswered questions and gaping holes in the plot.
I have not read anymore in the series of books yet, but I intend to as I am sure they will all be as impressive and enjoyable as this one.
Along came a Spider is the first book in which we meet Alex Cross , Cross is a family man, having 2 young children, living with his Nana who had raised him from a child. His wife Maria was killed in a drive by shooting. Our first meeting with him is at the scene of a horrific murder, a mother, daughter and child have been brutally murdered in what appears to be a motiveless attack. The murder profoundly disturbs Cross and his colleague Sampson and when pulled off the case by their superior, try to investigate it on their own time. Cross is then put onto another case, a kidnapping, from a private school of two children whose parents are celebrities. The kidnapper was a school teacher who has apparently dissapeared of the face of the earth. When one of the children is found dead in a river, badly beaten all hope is lost for the other child. A ransom is demanded and paid in full but the money disappears and is never found. The murderer/kidnapper is found and arrested but is he what he appears to be. There is no sign of the money, the kidnapper has no recollection of asking for the money. Could the police have the wrong man? An intiguing and twisted story unfolds an apparently loving husband and doting father turned kidnapper, a beautiful secret service agent with whom Cross falls in love and raging psychopathic murderer all make Along Came a Spider a thouroughly enjoyable book. The characters are all highly credible, Cross, struggling to balance his family life, work commitments and trying to heal his heart after the death of his wife, Nana Mama, Cross's grandmother who imparts many pearls of wisdom on all aspects of life, even the thoughts and feelings of the murderer that we have some insight to. Anyone who enjoys Crime/thriller books should try Patterson's books. They are not too gory but psychologically intriguing.
First of the Alex Cross books. The spectacular international bestseller that introduced Washington-based homicide detective Alex Cross and launched James Patterson's career as one of the fastest-selling thriller writers in the world -- now reissued in striking new cover style. He had always wanted to be famous. When he kidnapped two well-known rich kids, it was headline news. Then one of them was found -- dead -- and the whole nation was in uproar. For such a high-profile case, they needed the top people -- Alex Cross, a black detective with a PhD in psychology, and Jezzie Flanagan, an ambitious young Secret Service agent -- yet even they were no match for the killer. He had the unnerving ability to switch from blood-crazed madness to clear-eyed sanity in an instant. But was he the helpless victim of a multiple-personality disorder -- or a brilliant, cold-blooded manipulator?