Along Came a Spider is the first Alex Cross novel from the extremely popular James Patterson series. It was published in 1993 and there are twenty-seven novels in the series since then. There have also been three movies based on the books in this series. Some of the books have titles inspired by nursery rhymes like “Four Blind Mice”, “Pop Goes the Weasel” and “Roses are Red”.
In this novel, Cross is an African-American police officer in Washington DC and has two children. He is also a psychologist. He is working on a case with a supervisor of the Secret Service, Jezzie Flanagan. He is also having an affair with her, establishing a pattern for Alex’s work and personal lives overlapping. A criminal wants to commit the crime of the century, a kidnapping of children from an elite private school, and he might be clever enough to do it. Alex was pulled off a string of murders in the D.C. projects to help on the kidnapping case, which he was not happy about.
The novel features alternating points of view. The chapters featuring Alex have his point of view, and there are chapters told from a third person point of view showing the criminal’s actions or another character’s actions. I like the chapters told from Alex’s point of view a little better than the chapters told from a third person point of view. In fact, I usually prefer novels told from a first-person point of view.
It is interesting to read the start of a long running series and to think about how much the series has changed (or has not changed) over time. I think in many ways, this first novel really establishes what defines this series. Alex becomes a more interesting character as the series progresses.
There are more Alex Cross novels available in Libby, if you enjoy this one.