For other uses, see Along Came a Spider (disambiguation)
Along Came a Spider
Along Came A Spider
Author James Patterson
Publication date 1993
Published by Little, Brown
ISBN 0-316-69364-2
Publication Order
Preceded by
Followed by
Kiss the Girls
Along Came A Spider is the first novel in a series of books written by James Patterson, about forensic psychologist Alex Cross. It was adapted into a movie of the same name in 2001, starring Morgan Freeman as Cross. 
Along came a spider (2)

Along came a spider

Plot SummaryEdit

Alex Cross is a Washington, D.C. homicide investigator and forensic psychologist investigating the murders of two black prostitutes and an infant. The women were slashed with a razor, their pubic hair shaved and their breasts cut off.

At Washington Day School, an exclusive private school, math teacher Gary Soneji kidnaps Maggie Rose Dunne and Michael Goldberg. Cross' lieutenant pulls him off the murder case to investigate the kidnapping. Cross feels his department cares more about two rich white children than two black prostitutes. He meets Jezzie Flannagan, the head of the children's Secret Service detail.

At an old farmhouse Soneji buries the children alive in special coffins he made for them. Soneji watches the TV coverage of the kidnapping and is angered by FBI agent Roger Graham's contemptuous comments about him. Soneji later impersonates a reporter and stabs Graham.

Cross, partner John Sampson and the FBI search Soneji's apartment, discovering his obsession with kidnappings, particularly that of the Lindbergh baby. They find a note taped to a mirror with the phrase, "I want to be somebody!" Soneji later tells the FBI he killed Graham.

Over the next few months, Michael Goldberg's body is discovered. The Dunnes receive a telegram from someone they believe is Soneji asking for $10 million, which came from Miami. Cross, Sampson and the FBI travel to Florida to investigate. Flannagan and Cross become lovers.

Soneji orders Cross to deliver $10 million to Walt Disney World in Orlando. Cross wonders how Soneji knows about him or his involvement. At Disney World a man approaches Cross, saying he will take him to see Maggie. The FBI surrounds them and the man threatens to have Maggie killed unless they release him. He takes Cross on a plane, flying to a small island. At nightfall, the pilot takes off again and lands in South Carolina. He takes the money, leaving Cross there.

At the farmhouse where Soneji kept the children, police officers find the empty graves where Maggie and Michael were held. Soneji returns to his home in Wilmington, Delaware, where it is revealed he has a wife and a daughter, both of whom he plans to kill.

In Washington DC, Soneji, dressed as a public utility employee, murders Vivian Kim, a teacher from Washington Day, to send a message. Cross and Sampson are sent to the scene. Kim has had her breasts cut off and pubic hair shaved. They also find Maggie's shoe. Cross now knows Soneji is also the murderer he is looking for.

Cross and Sampson are walking the neighborhood where the hookers were murdered. They meet Ms. Scott, an elderly woman who recalls a man driving around the neighborhood and going door to door selling heating systems for Atlantic Heating.

In Wilmington, Soneji and his wife are having a birthday party for their daughter. Outside, the FBI with Cross and Sampson are on a stakeout. They rush the house, but when they go in Soneji is missing.

A day later Soneji walks into a McDonald's and holds the people inside hostage. A trooper takes a shot at Soneji, but Cross saves him, as he believes Soneji knows where Maggie is. Soneji promises Cross he will regret saving his life.

The trial lasts eleven months. Cross hypnotizes Soneji several times, learning he has a split personality; Gary Murphy, his everyday persona, is a gentle family man, while Gary Soneji is a vicious sociopath. Despite the defense's best effort at an insanity plea, Soneji is imprisoned.

Cross questions a woman about Soneji, learning that someone was following Soneji and knew about the kidnapping. Cross wonders about Mike Devine and Charley Chakely, the Secret Service agents in charge of protecting Maggie Rose and Michael when they were kidnapped.

Cross meets with Soneji, who confirms he may have been followed. Soneji did not make the connection until he recognized the man at his trial: Mike Devine.

Cross meets with the FBI, who are also investigating. The FBI believes Mike Devine and Charley Chakely took the ransom money, hiring and later murdering the pilot from Florida. Cross learns that Flannagan masterminded the kidnapping using her lover, Devine, as a pawn.

Soneji escapes from prison and goes to Washington. He tortures Devine to find out that the money is still there. After retrieving the money Soneji kills Devine.

Cross takes Flannagan on a Caribbean getaway. He confronts her about what she did. She explains that Michael Goldberg's father was threatened by a Colombian cartel and demanded protection for his family. Devine and Chakely noticed Soneji driving by the Goldberg house, and proceeded to follow him. The ransom was her idea, and they removed Maggie after the Goldberg boy died. Cross demands to know where Maggie is, but she does not confess until the FBI detain her after having heard everything on Sampson's listening device. Maggie is then found with a family with whom she had been living with for the past two years.

Soneji attacks Cross, attempting to kill his grandmother and children. Losing the fight, Soneji is trapped near the White House. He takes two children hostage. Soneji is about to shoot Cross, but Sampson shoots Soneji, wounding him.

Jezzie Flannagan is executed by lethal injection. Six weeks earlier Charlie Chakely was executed. Soneji writes a taunting letter to Cross and bribes a guard at the mental institution he is in to leave it on Cross' windshield.


Alex Cross: An African-American man, he is described as good-looking and well-built. A forensic psychologist as well as a detective, he is often referred to as "Doctor Detective." Despite being very dedicated to his job, he manages to be a devoted father to his two children. His wife, Maria, was killed in a shooting before the novel begins and he is romantically involved with Jezzie Flannagan before he finds out her role in Maggie Rose's disappearance.

Jezzie Flannagan: Before the kidnapping of Maggie Rose and Michael Goldberg, she held an esteemed position in the Secret Service—the first woman ever to hold the position. She is described as very beautiful, though she confides in Alex that she wishes she'd been born plain so she wouldn't have to face as much sexism in her workplace. As a white woman romantically involved with Alex, (an African-American man), she faces racism, though she handles it better than Alex does. Both her parents were alcoholics, and her father committed suicide. She names them as "smart failures," or brilliant people who never made anything of their lives. When Alex confronts her about her betrayal, she admits that she approached him at first strictly to get information on what the cops knew, but that she later fell in love with him and his children.

Gary Murphy/Soneji: As a boy, he was physically and sexually abused by his father and stepmother, which caused him to develop a split personality, (Gary Soneji). Gary Murphy is his humane, all-American father/husband side, and Gary Soneji is the sick monster who fantasizes kidnapping and burying a baby alive at twelve and orchestrates the kidnapping of Maggie Rose and Michael Goldberg. He has an obsession with being famous, and wants to be the most feared criminal in all America.

Film AdaptionEdit

A film adaption of the novel of the same name was released on April 6, 2001. The film starred Morgan Freeman as Alex Cross, Monica Potter as Jezzie Flannagan, and Michael Wincott as Gary Soneji.