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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.

Review

"Patterson''s storytelling talent is in top form in this grisly escapist yarn."― Library Journal

"Brilliantly terrifying! So exciting that I had to stay up all night to finish it! Packed with white-knuckle twists."― Daily Mail

"An incredibly suspenseful read with a one-of-a-kind villain who is as terrifying as he is intriguing. One of the best thrillers of the year."― Clive Cussler

"Terror and suspense that grab the reader and won''t let go. Just try running away from this one."― Ed McBain

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.

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4.6 out of 54.6 out of 5
5,162 global ratings

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Top reviews from the United States

Nancy Davis
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Wonderful first book of a series
Reviewed in the United States on May 30, 2019
I decided to start reading the books from Patterson, since I decided to go in order, this was the first on my list. The story line was good, first book in a long time I had trouble putting down. I would have given it 5 stars except for the excessive use of the F-bomb when... See more
I decided to start reading the books from Patterson, since I decided to go in order, this was the first on my list. The story line was good, first book in a long time I had trouble putting down. I would have given it 5 stars except for the excessive use of the F-bomb when it wasn''t necessary to the story, nor did it seem appropriate to be coming out of the mouth of this very successful cop/detective/psychologist. Second point was the constant reminders that the narrator was black. Not necessary to the story. He only had to tell us once, and the reader could carry that information through the book.
32 people found this helpful
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BriiShopsHere
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Pretty modern for a 90s novel!
Reviewed in the United States on July 15, 2018
The most striking thing about this novel was how applicable the narrative is to living in the late 2010s. Especially sociopolitically! The story itself is so-so. If I hadn''t sporadically read Alex Cross novels before, this wouldn''t have been a novel that pulled me in to the... See more
The most striking thing about this novel was how applicable the narrative is to living in the late 2010s. Especially sociopolitically! The story itself is so-so. If I hadn''t sporadically read Alex Cross novels before, this wouldn''t have been a novel that pulled me in to the genius that is James Patterson. I believe he only gets better from here.

It wasn''t boring, but it wasn''t the rich, thrilling and suspenseful story plotting that is behind ''The Murder House'', ''The Black Book'' and his more recent novels. What will keep you going is the relevance to today''s world and living in the shoes of people of color. Good read. Read it for wokeness!
21 people found this helpful
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Drying Away in Indiana
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Awful Writing
Reviewed in the United States on April 18, 2020
I like mysteries and I thought I’d try one by a well-known American author (as opposed to British ones). I only made it halfway through the book. Patterson’s writing is about as undisciplined as it gets. He tries to write from two different points of view - first person and... See more
I like mysteries and I thought I’d try one by a well-known American author (as opposed to British ones). I only made it halfway through the book. Patterson’s writing is about as undisciplined as it gets. He tries to write from two different points of view - first person and third person, which gets confusing in a hurry. Patterson can’t resist locker room language, both in his narration and dialogue. He also plays the race card ad nauseam throughout. Not my cup of tea.
6 people found this helpful
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C'est La Vie
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Meh
Reviewed in the United States on January 24, 2016
I really wanted to like this book, but it was so improbable that I struggled finishing it. A detective/psychologist high on pain killers in Washington DC in charge of negotiations? A perp who is organized enough to pull off a long-term stint as a teacher at a high... See more
I really wanted to like this book, but it was so improbable that I struggled finishing it. A detective/psychologist high on pain killers in Washington DC in charge of negotiations? A perp who is organized enough to pull off a long-term stint as a teacher at a high security private school but then is so chaotic and disorganized that he cannot even break into a house? Hypnosis in the court room? The list goes on and on.

I guess it was somewhat entertaining but the improbability of it all was bothersome. Especially to a ''fellow'' psychologist like me. I am glad I had enough free shipping credits to get this book for free. For free it was good enough.
30 people found this helpful
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Ben
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Entertaining With Twists and Turns But Patterson''s Writing Style Is Not My Cup of Tea
Reviewed in the United States on November 10, 2019
I heard this is the novel that sent Patterson''s career soaring. It was made into a movie many years ago, which I also did not see. While I enjoyed the twists and turns, I didn''t much like the simplistic writing style. I know this is a dictate of Patterson and any author who... See more
I heard this is the novel that sent Patterson''s career soaring. It was made into a movie many years ago, which I also did not see. While I enjoyed the twists and turns, I didn''t much like the simplistic writing style. I know this is a dictate of Patterson and any author who writes for him must write at a third grade level. He targets the person in a supermarket who is looking for a quick read. Obviously, the formula works for him, and he''s a high net worth author. Still, this book is a quick and easy read. Sometimes, I suppose, the simple ways are the best way.
5 people found this helpful
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DM
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Psychopathic kidnapper
Reviewed in the United States on November 2, 2020
This is James Patterson''s first novel in a series of books written in the 90''s but does not appear to be too outdated, and easy to follow. The main character, Alex Cross is a Detective/Forensic Psychologist for the Washington DC police Department. This book is an... See more
This is James Patterson''s first novel in a series of books written in the 90''s but does not appear to be too outdated, and easy to follow. The main character, Alex Cross is a Detective/Forensic Psychologist for the Washington DC police Department. This book is an exceptional psychological mystery with intricate plots and twists throughout involving psychopath killer Gary Soneji/Murphy who allegedly has multiple personality disorders. Psychopaths behaviors constitute an inability to plan for the future, yet Gary Soneji always had a "back up plan" should something go wrong. With the exception of that glitch he certainly is a psychopath. I liked the Alex Cross character and his thoughtful problem solving process. I give it high marks for the storyline and plots but personally I did not find other characters intriguing enough to continue with this Alex Cross series.
One person found this helpful
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Old Pink 1944
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Lousy Ending
Reviewed in the United States on June 15, 2021
Lousy Ending. Great all along the way so I won’t say anything too specific. Okay introduction to the Alex Cross character if this is really the first one. Very complicated characters but not a lot of genuine insight into how they think and feel. Superficial except for... See more
Lousy Ending. Great all along the way so I won’t say anything too specific. Okay introduction to the Alex Cross character if this is really the first one. Very complicated characters but not a lot of genuine insight into how they think and feel. Superficial except for Cross. I got lost in it enough that it’s now 2:57 AM on a work night but in the end I am sorry that the term Criminal Psychopath was ever coined—it is used so often as short hand in fiction as if it explained people but in reality it is just a label not an explanation of character or even of personality. Was a very good read….
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Steve W
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Alex Cross #1 Along Came a Spider
Reviewed in the United States on May 9, 2014
I found that James Patterson''s #1 book "Along Came a Spider" is a very interesting read. It it not too often that I can find a psychological mystery to be this exceptional. The Gary Soneji/Murphy out smarting the police with being a psychopath, potential Multiple... See more
I found that James Patterson''s #1 book "Along Came a Spider" is a very interesting read. It it not too often that I can find a psychological mystery to be this exceptional. The Gary Soneji/Murphy out smarting the police with being a psychopath, potential Multiple personality disorder/ personality fatigue, and being the actor with having homicidal "1 year/5 year/lifetime plans" to be famous like he feels he should be is very interesting. From what I heard (without reading any other Alex cross books), this book will set up for some storylines in the next few books allowing for some interesting storylines for the book now.

This book series is the Law and Order: Criminal Intent series of James Patterson. While the story revolves around the crime and solving the crime, there is a huge element to the psychological, motives and the "criminal intent". It involves the "ticking" of the criminal to why they would do the things they would do. It can range from money to famous to just being a pure psychological evil driven madman. All in all an A+.

In this book by itself, there is one drawback. It can be really slow sometimes. After Soneji''s trial and conviction (about half way through) starting with part 4, it starts dragging while Alex Cross continues the case. But it does lead up to a very interesting ending (the last few chapters), in which I will be willing to give it a pass.

Like I said, an A+ and an A+ book!!!
14 people found this helpful
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Top reviews from other countries

L. Phillips
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Meet the Detective and Criminal Psychologist you should never cross.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 5, 2017
Along came a spider is the first book in the Alex Cross series. A dangerous sociopath is out to commit the crime of the century. It has taken years of planning and patience, but he is finally in the perfect position to strike. When two children from prominent families are...See more
Along came a spider is the first book in the Alex Cross series. A dangerous sociopath is out to commit the crime of the century. It has taken years of planning and patience, but he is finally in the perfect position to strike. When two children from prominent families are kidnapped from an elite school in the capital, Detective Cross, an established criminal psychologist, is brought in. But he''s not happy about it. It seems nobody cares about the three unsolved murders of a poor black family he is already investigating. The rich, politically connected white children are apparently more important. But, as he resignedly begins his investigation, he realises things are not as simple as he thought, and when trying to solve the crime of the century, everything is connected. And he soon learns, nobody can be trusted. Alex Cross is one of the great literary characters and legends that has made it onto the big screen, via two pretty good films starring Morgan Freeman, and a pretty awful one starring Tyler Perry. However, now having gotten to know the character in his original form, it is clear that none of the films were especially well cast. Doctor Detective Cross is an athletic, muscular 6''3" man in his late forties. Denzel Washington would probably be an excellent fit. Like all of Patterson''s books, the short, punchy chapters make for a blistering pace. The narrative is relentless, and almost always ends on a cliffhanger. Even if you''ve seen the films and know the twist, you''ll be pleasantly surprised by the book''s more brutal depiction and veering from the path in its telling. You''ll also be rewarded by a masterful villain in the form of Gary Sonjei. I found myself immediately drawn to the Cross character, feeling his anguish and frustration from early on. I also have to commend Patterson on how well he depicts the thoughts, feelings, and emotions of a black man growing up amidst poverty and prejudice, which come across incredibly well. The close relationship and bond Cross has with his partner is something else missing from the films, and brilliantly depicted in the book. I found the change of narratives from first person (Cross) to third (everyone else), a little interesting, but overall strange, and perhaps not necessary. However, it could be argued that it wad this very style that made me identify with Cross so well as a character. Along came a spider is a great story, easily read, and full of pace, action, and thrills. A brilliant first chapter in the Alex Cross legend.
8 people found this helpful
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R. Naftalin
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Poor characterization and meandering plot.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 16, 2021
I found the exaggerated stereotypes of the detectives a turn off. The decent black detective widower, with double qualifications in psychology and law enforcement, his problems with authority and his love-life was seemingly interesting but actually rather dull, similarly is...See more
I found the exaggerated stereotypes of the detectives a turn off. The decent black detective widower, with double qualifications in psychology and law enforcement, his problems with authority and his love-life was seemingly interesting but actually rather dull, similarly is girlfriend beautiful blond with high sex drive and love of motorcycling but without much real character and warmth unengaging. What should have been interesting racial and sexual politics was unsustained. As for the plot, again the elements start well, a kidnapping under horrific circumstances, the parents'' anguish all very well- but it quickly dissipates into a boring court drama... so overall a dull plod of a book. I was disappointed given the author''s huge readership and reputation. I am not tempted to read any further books in the series.
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Teresa
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Book 1
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 4, 2021
I first read this book back in 2005 when I first come across this author I not long got into crime thriller fiction (starting with Patricia cornwell) I think the last book of his I read was in 2010 I loved Alex cross and turned to his murder club series also plus a few...See more
I first read this book back in 2005 when I first come across this author I not long got into crime thriller fiction (starting with Patricia cornwell) I think the last book of his I read was in 2010 I loved Alex cross and turned to his murder club series also plus a few independent books along with supernatural series maximum ride.After a lot of crime thriller series I switched to supernatural for a break.I found this book for a £1(because I cleared out all the books I had as I''m a huge reader I switched to kindle) I still enjoyed this read but having have read a lot since I read this the first time not as good as I remember.I still enjoyed and if the cost was cheaper I would read them all again.
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Carol Bradford
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A THRILLER WITH LOTS OF PSYCHOLOGICAL TWIST AND TURNS - THE FIRST ALEX CROSS NOVEL
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 27, 2018
This is the first book introducing Alex, a tall, muscular, black Washington DC Detective / Psychologist, in many ways as complex as the criminals he seeks to apprehend. In this firs book he challenged by a serious psychopath who devious twists and turns keep you turning the...See more
This is the first book introducing Alex, a tall, muscular, black Washington DC Detective / Psychologist, in many ways as complex as the criminals he seeks to apprehend. In this firs book he challenged by a serious psychopath who devious twists and turns keep you turning the pages of the book, you do not want to put it down. When two elite children are kidnapped from a school, it is up to cross and the Secret Service to investigate, the pressure is intense with a mad man''s voice always in the background. I am not going to say anymore, other than to get the book, sit down and enjoy.
3 people found this helpful
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R G
2.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Disappointed
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 11, 2020
I''m not sure how, given Patterson''s world-wide recognition, and his productivity, but I had not heard of him until recently. On a friend''s recommendation I''ve now tried two of his books - The River Murders - and now this one. Regrettably, I''ve put aside both after a hundred...See more
I''m not sure how, given Patterson''s world-wide recognition, and his productivity, but I had not heard of him until recently. On a friend''s recommendation I''ve now tried two of his books - The River Murders - and now this one. Regrettably, I''ve put aside both after a hundred or so pages having become irritated by short, staccato sentencing and the American-English language style. I thought the character''s a little two dimensional too. Back to good English authors then!
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