Sunday, May 16, 2010


Am I afraid of spiders? Not really, I am a big macho man, spiders don't phase me at all, really they don't. Well I do not touch them, I actually do not like to see them, whenever I see one I take a wide berth around them. The times(often) my wife wanted me to dispose of one, I would complain, complain and complain some more then after minutes of yet more complaining I would use a dustpan and brush to catch it and remove it. Maybe I am indeed afraid of spiders, am I?

Is the novel "Along came a spider" about spiders? No. So why do I start with fear for spiders? No reason at all, I just thought it would be a nice start. No hidden meaning, I am too simple for that, or am I?

About the book. I read it in a few days, I kept reading whenever I had a possible gap in time, lucky for me I had two weeks off, so time a plenty. It is a page turner.

The story is about a black detective, Alex Cross, investigating the kidnapping of two white upper class children from a highly exclusive private school. The kidnapping was done by Gary Soneji, a serial killer out for fame and a little fortune at the side.

The FBI with assistance secret agents leads the case, Alex Cross help in the case is requested on and off. There is more to the kidnapping that is evident from the start, at the end there are some refreshing but foreseeable twist in the story.

The story is told in first person when told from Alex Cross point of view, when a chapter is about another character it is told from the third person. It worked out well and I could see myself using the same technique in the future, it was good seeing a well done example.

The main character being black and the writer white posed some problems for some readers. I've read some reviews where some feel the dialog or mannerism depicted by the character Alex Cross sounded fake. I myself noticed some extra attention to blackness in Mr. Patterson's writing that needed not be there, but taking the whole story in account and it being fiction I did not see all that wrong with it. For example he mention at times, maybe too much, the color of characters and not only in describing, it's been done with a tad too much emphasis. Like I said these are details which I feel should not be taken into account into judging this book, again it's fiction.

One thing I notice while reading was the word "orangish" he mentioned it more than once. It's the word for the color between red and yellow, actually just orange would do. It's the first time in my life I saw this word, it stuck to me and I noticed it again and again, about six times. It irritated me, I do not know why but it just did.

I mention it because it is an example how a repeating word can affect a reader. A word that is strange to the person reading it, will be noticed more than a known word. A very common and known word such as "Said" will be noticed less than a not common word (in my case) "Orangish".
Imagine if this word had been repeated to dead instead of only about six times, what effect would it have had on me as a reader? I probably would have put the book down and not finished it. I am glad I now notice these things, it makes it that more clear to take care with how to write.

I liked "Along came a spider", it's a well written and entertaining novel. I recommend anyone who did not read it to try it out, the chance you will like it (if you like thrillers) is greater than that you would be put off by it.

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