Along Came a Spider Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Along Came a Spider

    Along Came a Spider is the first in the Alex Cross Series by James Patterson.
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    Two children are kidnapped by their teacher Mr. Soneji. Mr. Soneji is a crazed man who only wants to be remembered for doing something "great". When the two children are kidnapped from their school for the children of the rich and famous, Alex Cross is called down to help crack the case.
    In this novel, Cross also finds love. Jezzie Flanigan, the body guard for the children who were kidnapped, automatically builds a strong bond with Cross.
The review of this Book prepared by Catie Griffiths

Gary Soneji is the most of dangerous of criminals. A psychopathic serial-kidnapper with a genius-level IQ and an obsession with famous criminals, he doen't want money and he doesn't want political favors. Gary Soneji wants to be somebody, to live on the collective unconscious of America, and he's well on his way in this novel, the first in James Patterson's Alex Cross series.

On a bright spring day, Soneji, posing as a teacher at one of the most exclusive private schools in the country, abducts the daughter of a world-famous movie star and the son of the Secretary of the Treasury.

Called in to investigate the case is Detective Alex Cross, a homicide investigator and forensic psychologist specializing in serial killers. Pursuing Soneji across the east coast, Cross soon realizes that he is not dealing with an ordinary psycho. The man he is chasing is an organized genius so obsessive that he wipes his fingerprints off the pages of books.
Finally capturing Soneji, Cross is faced with a double problem: how can he find a kidnapped child when the only man who knows where she is isn't talking, and how can he ensure Soneji's conviction, when the madman has adopted the expertly-crafted facade of a family-man with a monstrous split-personality?
The review of this Book prepared by James Craver

Gary Soneji desires to be "somebody". Somebody no one will ever forget. If it means he must kidnap and kill, that is what he'll do. His mistake is doing it in the Washington D.C. area where Detective Alex Cross works and lives. To move Gary quickly toward his goal of becoming "somebody", he kidnaps two children of prominant families. Hence the Secret Service involvment. The head of Secret Service Jessie Flanagan, works with Alex Cross to solve this kidnapping. Sparks fly between the two and it complicates things for Alex more than he could have imagined. The case itself has so many complications that Alex's relentless searching for the truth pays off in the most shocking revelation of his life.
The review of this Book prepared by Tracey Ray

I enjoyed this book, the first of Patterson's Alex Cross stories. The book was very exciting, and well-written about a psychopath who kidnaps and kills people. The crazy guy in the story is Gary Soneji/Murphy who has multiple severe personality disorders due to his terrible childhood. Gary Soneji/Murphy plays a school teacher at a day school for rich kids when his intent is to kidnap and kill the Dunne/Goldberg children. This happens in the first part of the book. Finally, one day he succeeds, drugging one, and killing the other. The kidnapping has the whole D.C. area up in arms, and Alex Cross works day and night to capture Soneji/Murphy in the story, but he doesn't suceed until Soneji kills a few more people in other places. His whole theme is that he "Wants to be Somebody" through this book. He is the master of killing in the D.C. area, and he LOVES this game.

Alex Cross trys to help all he can, and he gets inside Soneji/Murphy's head and gets him to tell him of all his terrible little secrets after Soneji gets captured and put into prison the first time. But guess what? Soneji will escape.
The review of this Book prepared by Boppy

Along Came a Spider is a fantastic book with a serious twist in the overall plot. Patterson gives you just enough clues in the beginning to keep you guessing, then blows your mind. It is primarily about a twisted mind trying to commit the perfect crime and become the most notorious criminal in history. The hero, Alex Cross faces more than just the usual problems tracking down the perp. Along the way he becomes romantically involved with another investigator, only to realize later it was one of the biggest mistakes of his life. Three quarters into the book the main plot expands into a secondary and both plots explode at the same time. This book is a real page turner, it keeps you guessing the whole way, and unlike most 500 page books, I didn't want this one to end. There were no un-important or boring parts, everything fits into the plots. If you like mysteries, or even if you don't, read this one, you won't be disappointed.
The review of this Book prepared by Drew Z.

A kidnapping from the kidnapper...the perfect crime. Created by the arrogant Secret Service...Yet Alex Cross a detective with some spare baggage shows he still has it in him to solve the crime of the decade.
The review of this Book prepared by Nick Matkin

This book is about a crazed school teacher who kidnaps a daughter of a famous actress. Alex Cross, a detective, is suppose to figure out this twisted and complicated criminal act.
The review of this Book prepared by Jared Hensley

Chapter Analysis of Along Came a Spider

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book descript. of violence and chases 20%Planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 30%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 30%How society works & physical descript. (people, objects, places) 20% Tone of story    -   suspenseful (sophisticated fear) Time/era of story:    -   1980's-1999 Kid or adult book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book The crook is....    -   stalking/killing innocents Crime Thriller    -   Yes Crime plotlets:    -   escape/rescue from kidnappers Is MAIN CHARACTER an EVIL criminal?    -   Yes General Crime (including known murderer)    -   Yes Who's the criminal enemy here?    -   finding a known killer If story PRIMARILY about main chr. being hunted...    -   hunted by killer/stalker

Main Character

Gender    -   Male Profession/status:    -   police/lawman Age:    -   20's-30's    -   40's-50's Ethnicity/Race    -   Black


United States    -   Yes The US:    -   Southeast    -   Mid-Atlantic states City?    -   Yes

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   moderately detailed references to deaths    -   very gorey references to deaths/dead bodies and torture Explicit sex in book?    -   Yes What kind of sex:    -   descript of kissing    -   actual description of sex Unusual form of death?    -   Yes Amount of dialog    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog

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