Read from: 24th February
To: 30th March
Format: Kindle eBook + paperback
Length: 435 pages
POSSIBLE SPOILERS – though I try to ensure my reviews are spoiler free, I cannot give a decent review of this book without some spoilers. Some of the spoilers that I have included are ones that are on the blurb of the book although I may go into the plot a bit deeper than the blurb.
The first instalment of James Patterson’s Alex Cross series kicks off with the abduction of two well-known children: the child of an actress and the child of a US Senator. Working with the head of the children’s Secret Service detail Jezzie Flannagan, Alex soon discovers that the children were taken by their maths teacher Gary Soneji, who seems to have a split personality, with Gary Soneji being a vicious psychopath but Gary Murphy being a loving husband. As the investigation continues, Alex and Jezzie develop a love affair but a break in the case threatens to ruin everything Alex knows to be true.
Along Came a Spider isn’t the first Alex Cross book I’ve read – my first encounter with this series was three years ago with Alex Cross, Run (number 20 in the series) so it was a bit strange going back to where it all began. I was excited because I absolutely flew through Alex Cross, Run, although that also meant I had high hopes for this book.
I didn’t find it particularly compelling to read
Starting off with some backstory to my life: I moved into my first home on 9th March, which meant the fortnight prior to that I was busy packing and I spent perhaps the following month unpacking and tidying. I think this may have been a reason for my not finding it compelling and it taking me over a month to read, but I also think that if I had really enjoyed it – and felt consumed to finish it – I would have found the time to read it quicker. As it stands, I didn’t feel the need to find out what had happened to the abducted children.
I wasn’t a fan of the way JP writes Gary’s Gary’s name
As I mentioned above, the kidnapper has a split personality so his name is Gary Soneji/Murphy in almost all of the chapters. While I understand the necessity to do this, it began to grate on my nerves after a while because it seemed so unnecessary.
I had trouble believing the suspect
With the suspect having two personalities, it was interesting seeing how James Patterson handled these two-characters-in-one and I found myself wondering if it was true: did he have multiple personalities, was he lying, was all as it seemed? It definitely kept me on my toes! I also commend James Patterson for being able to write a character that I both wanted to like and dislike at the same time.
The pacing is OK
Perhaps the pacing was even good. But I wonder if my lack of desire to finish the book skewed my perception of the pacing, or maybe the lack of appropriate pace impeded my desire to finish the book. As mentioned earlier, I didn’t find it that compelling to finish and part of me wonders if the pacing caused that feeling. However, I don’t remember having this problem with Alex Cross, Run so I am hoping it was my circumstances and the length of time it took for me to finish the book that caused me to feel like the pacing was poor.
The plot isn’t that unique
I enjoy James Patterson’s writing style, but one of my big ‘gripes’ with his work is that his plots are quite samey and there’s nothing unique to them. While I can remember this plot now, I think that perhaps when I am on book number 4 or 5, I will probably have forgotten what happened in each book because there doesn’t seem to be anything unique in the plot.
It has been about three years since I read Alex Cross, Run (and the second Alex Cross book I have read, Merry Christmas, Alex Cross) and while I can remember the vague outline of one of the plots, I can’t remember which book it belongs to, or what happens in the other book. However, I don’t know if this is a problem unique to James Patterson, or it is more about my inability to remember the finer details of a book after several years!
The plot twist was gooD
While not the best plot twist I have encountered, finding out about the suspect at the end of the book was not expected at the start of the novel. I shan’t say any more than that, for fear of spoiling too much.
The book is easy to read
For me, a lot of James Patterson’s books are very easy to read and this is no exception. While it is not the best literary masterpiece, it’s definitely not poorly written or tough to make your way through.
Overall rating: 7/10
Writing quality: 7/10
Feel good: 3/10
Recommend: perhaps I am getting swept away by the enigma attached to James Patterson’s name, but I would definitely recommend this book. While it is not the best book or thriller I have read, it was definitely an easy read that I would recommend, especially to fans of the author. For me, it is the perfect Sunday summer afternoon book.