Along Came a Spider by James Patterson

November 29, 2011

Plot summary (from the publisher): Along Came a Spider begins with the double kidnapping of the daughter of a famous Hollywood actress and the young son of the secretary of the Treasury. And that’s only the beginning! Gary Soneji is a murderous serial kidnapper who wants to commit the crime of the century. Alex Cross is the brilliant homicide detective pitted against him. Jezzie Flanagan is the female supervisor of the Secret Service who completes one of the most unusual suspense triangles in any thriller you have ever read.

Warning: MAJOR spoilers below!

Liked:

  • As with most Patterson books, the pace was pretty good. Things moved right along for the most part — except for the ridiculous “romance” angle.
  • I can’t believe Alex Cross sticks with this kind of work for, what, 17 more books? That’s insane. If I were him, I’d start looking for Speech-Language Pathologist Jobs or try to get into family practice. As a widow with two young children, why would he put himself at constant risk like that?
  • I was kind of surprised about the death penalties getting carried out so quickly. They weren’t in Texas, were they? Didn’t Jezzie and the other guy want to appeal anything? From trial to lethal injection in just a few months? Wow.

Disliked:

  • What a wholly UNINSPIRED “twist” to have Jezzie actually be a dirty agent and only sleeping with Alex to get information from him. I don’t know… maybe that kind of thing was original back in 1993 when this book was published, but nearly 20 years later it just doesn’t go over well at all.
  • I was really looking forward to my first Alex Cross book since he’s been around for, what, 20 installments? What a disappointment to learn that he’s one of the most boring protagonists I’ve ever encountered. Honestly, I don’t know if I’m going to continue with this series because he just doesn’t do anything for me.
  • When a killer gets captured before the halfway point of the book, you can damn near bet the farm that he’s going to escape.
  • I hated seeing “Soneji/Murphy” throughout the whole freaking book. It was as though Patterson wanted to make absolutely certain that we all understood the Jekyll/Hyde implications of the antagonist. Save some ink and just pick one damn name or the other!
  • What was all that crap about interracial dating?? I know the book was written two decades ago, but weren’t interracial couples pretty common in the 1990’s???
  • There were a bunch of other little details that nagged and bothered me while reading this; unfortunately, I can’t remember any of them now. I just remember feeling that the book was a bit sloppily written — which I guess shouldn’t have surprised me, given Patterson’s other work.

Rating:

I read James Patterson because it’s airport/escapist stuff, not because I’m expecting tightly plotted, character-driven literature. As such, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised when the final product turns out to be something like Along Came a Spider. I give this one 2 stars out of 5.

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