Along Came a Spider: A Good Story But A Tough Read | Book Review

Spoiler Free

Author: James Patterson
Release Date: February 1993
Page count: 464
Genres: Murder Mystery, Thriller
Themes: Trust, Sociopaths
My Rating:

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Where To Buy This Book:


In the first book of Alex Cross mystery series, Alex is a homicide detective with a PhD in Psychology given the case of finding the whereabouts of two kids who were kidnapped by a teacher from their private school, and not the case about a family of three who were murdered in their apartment in the ghettos of Washington D.C. In this book you follow the acts of a sociopath who kills to be remembered, and get inside the mind of Alex Cross as he desperately wants to solve the case. Full of action, this book may be predictable, but still fresh in it’s story.

Synopsis by the publisher

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.

Spoilers without context

Do I recommend this book?

I recommend this book for readers who are in the mood for a murder mystery with blood and a psychotic sociopath antagonist. James Patterson’s writing style is known for being colloquial without the adjectives and descriptions, with short chapters, full of action and dialogue, but no character development.

If you’ve read James Patterson, this is just another James Patterson book. This is my fourth James Patterson book and it seems like every book of his has a pattern. Murder, a detective who looks for the murders, the detective hook-ups with their partner, and they solve the case. 

If you want to read a murder mystery with distinct characters, a plot line, and rich descriptions, you are not going to get that in this book. The main character has little to no character development, and as a seasoned reader, this book could be predictable at times. In my opinion, there are better murder mysteries out there in the world.

Things to consider before you choose to read the book:

  1. There is explicit language such as sex scenes, graphic scenes with blood, and curse words. 
  2. The antagonist in this book is literally insane. He would kill anybody in it’s way no matter their sex, gender, or race As a reader, I felt like there were times when James Patterson was trying to humanize the murder. You decide whether that’s a good or bad thing. 
  3. This book is a bit long. Despite the fact that it’s fast pace with short chapters, the story may seem like it’s dragged along.
  4. The main character, Alex Cross, is black and there are critiques of readers and critics who question the portrayal of Alex Cross. For me, it did feel like I was reading another white guy and the only moments when I was reminded that Alex Cross was black was when he was in his neighborhood in D.C., because James Patterson explicitly writes about his black neighborhood, or when James Patterson made it clear to remind the reader that he was black in one form or another. 

Favorite Quotes:

It’s all right to put the weight of the world on your shoulders sometimes, if you know how to take it off. 

All of us shrinks talk about VFC when we get together. Very fucking crazy, Gerry.” 

Follow the next page for an in-depth, spoiler book review. Beware for spoilers!!!


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