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Along Came a Spider
Cover of Along Came a Spider
Along Came a Spider
Alex Cross Series, Book 1
Discover the classic thriller that launched the #1 detective series of the past twenty-five years, now one of PBS's "100 Great American Reads"Alex Cross is a homicide detective with a Ph.D. in...
Discover the classic thriller that launched the #1 detective series of the past twenty-five years, now one of PBS's "100 Great American Reads"Alex Cross is a homicide detective with a Ph.D. in...
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Description-

  • Discover the classic thriller that launched the #1 detective series of the past twenty-five years, now one of PBS's "100 Great American Reads"
    Alex Cross is a homicide detective with a Ph.D. in psychology. He works and lives in the ghettos of D. C. and looks like Muhammad Ali in his prime. 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. But he also has two adorable kids of his own, and they are his own special vulnerabilities.
    Jezzie Flanagan is 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 as 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. 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.
 

Awards-

Excerpts-

  • From the book New Jersey, near Princeton; March 1932

    The Charles Lindbergh farmhouse glowed with bright, orangish lights. It looked like a fiery castle, especially in that gloomy, fir-wooded region of Jersey. Shreds of misty fog touched the boy as he moved closer and closer to his first moment of real glory, his first kill.

    It was pitch-dark and the grounds were soggy and muddy and thick with puddles. He had anticipated as much. He'd planned for everything, including the weather.

    He wore a size nine man's work boot. The toe and heel of the boots were stuffed with torn cloth and strips of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

    He wanted to leave footprints, plenty of footprints. A man's footprints. Not the prints of a twelve-year-old boy. They would lead from the county highway called the Stoutsburg-Wertsville Road, up to, then back from, the farmhouse.

    He began to shiver as he reached a stand of pines, not thirty yards from the sprawling house. The mansion was just as grand as he'd imagined: seven bedrooms and four baths on the second floor alone. Lucky Lindy and Anne Morrow's place in the country.

    Cool beans, he thought.

    The boy inched closer and closer toward the dining-room window. He was fascinated by this condition known as fame. He thought a lot about it. Almost all the time. What was fame really like? How did it smell? How did it taste? What did fame look like close up?

    "The most popular and glamorous man in the world" was right there sitting at the table. Charles Lindbergh was tall, elegant, and fabulously golden haired, with a fair complexion. "Lucky Lindy" truly seemed above everyone else.

    So did his wife, Anne Morrow Lindbergh. Anne had short hair. It was curly and black, and it made her skin look chalky white. The light from the candles on the table appeared to be dancing around her.

    Both of them sat very straight in their chairs. Yes, they certainly looked superior, as if they were God's special gifts to the world. They kept their heads high, delicately eating their food. He strained to see what was on the table. It looked like lamb chops on their perfect china.

    "I'll be more famous than either of you pitiful stiffs," the boy finally whispered. He promised that to himself. Every detail had been thought through a thousand times, at least that often. He very methodically went to work.

    The boy retrieved a wooden ladder left near the garage by workingmen. Holding the ladder tightly against his side, he moved toward a spot just beyond the library window. He climbed silently up to the nursery. His pulse was racing, and his heart was pounding so loud he could hear it.

    Light cast from a hallway lamp illuminated the baby's room. He could see the crib and the snoozing little prince in it. Charles Jr., "the most famous child on earth."

    On one side, to keep away drafts, was a colorful screen with illustrations of barnyard animals.

    He felt sly and cunning. "Here comes Mr. Fox," the boy whispered as he quietly slid open the window.

    Then he took another step up the ladder and was inside the nursery at last.

    Standing over the crib, he stared at the princeling. Curls of golden hair like his father's, but fat. Charles Jr. was gone to fat at only twenty months.

    The boy could no longer control himself. Hot tears streamed from his eyes.

Synopsis-

  • From the #1 New York Times bestselling master of the terrifying thriller comes a chilling, edge-of-the-seat psychological thriller that tells the gripping tale of a serial killer whose cunning and lust for violence rival those of Hannibal Lecter.

About the Author-

  • James Patterson has had more New York Times bestsellers than any other writer, ever, according to Guinness World Records. Since his first novel won the Edgar Award in 1977 James Patterson's books have sold more than 300 million copies. He is the author of the Alex Cross novels, the most popular detective series of the past twenty-five years, including Kiss the Girls and Along Came a Spider. He writes full-time and lives in Florida with his family.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    February 1, 1993
    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.

  • Library Journal

    December 1, 1992
    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 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Booklist

    September 15, 1992
    Touted by its publisher as "the first new fiction bestseller of 1993," "Along Came a Spider" opens with a gruesome multiple murder in the projects southeast of Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. and the kidnapping of two famous children--the son of the Treasury secretary and the daughter of a movie star--from Georgetown Day School by the school's math and computer teacher. Is the teacher (whose ransom bid is signed "Son of Lindbergh") a victim of a rare multiple personality disorder, or a psychopath who feigns multiple personalities to prove his brilliance and escape punishment? African-American psychologist Alex Cross, a widowed district police detective with two children and a very wise grandmother, seeks the answer in tense collaboration with FBI and Secret Service agents. As Son of Lindbergh produces one surprise after another, Cross is startled to find both interracial love and icy psychopathology within the team of law enforcement professionals pursuing the clever, manipulative criminal. Patterson, author of such previous Little, Brown novels as "The Thomas Berryman Number" (1975) and "The Midnight Club" (1989), seems a bit less confident inside the mind of a possible psychopath than retired psychologist Jonathan Kellerman in his Alex Delaware mysteries (or Thomas Harris in his Hannibal Lector books); but "Along Came a Spider"'s fascinating characters and pulse-pounding plot ensure that Patterson's latest will keep readers guessing from chapter one's mutilated corpses to the execution of someone (who?) in the novel's final pages. ((Reviewed Sept. 15, 1992))(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 1992, American Library Association.)

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