Along comes the most talked about, the most
gripping thriller in years…
“As engrossing as it is graphic, Along Came a Spider is an incredibly suspenseful read with a
one-of-a-kind villain who is as terrifying as he is intriguing. Has to be ONE OF THEBEST THRILLERS OF THE YEAR.”
“All at once comes Along Came a Spider, with TERROR AND SUSPENSE THAT GRAB THE READER AND
WON’T LET GO. Just try running away from this one.”
Washington Post Book World:
is written simply, powerfully, with shifting points of view. The book“Along Came a Spider
will satisfy mystery and thriller fans, as well as students of the human condition. InPatterson’s Washington, THERE’S NOT A CARTOONISH POWER BROKER OR MARBLE MONUMENT IN SIGHT.ULTIMATELY, THE NOVEL’S FOUNDATION IS THE CHARACTER OF ALEX CROSS, detective, psychologist,and family man. Here’s hoping Patterson will bring him back in future novels. Itwould be nice to have him around.”
New York Times Book Review:
“JAMES PATTERSON DOES EVERYTHING BUT STICK OUR FINGER IN A LIGHT SOCKET TO GIVE US A BUZZ INALONG CAME A SPIDER. This psycho-thriller opens with a nice jolt when a serial killer withgrandiose designs (“I want the fame I so richly deserve”) kidnaps two children fromthe private school in Georgetown where he teaches math, and demands an enormous ransom fromtheir celebrity parents.”
New York Daily News:
“When it comes to constructing a harrowing plot, author James Patterson can turn a screw allright…. JAMES PATTERSON IS TO SUSPENSE WHAT DANIELLE STEEL IS TO ROMANCE.”
“CROSS IS A COMPELLING FIGURE. There’s a depth to him that so many protagonists lack today.He’s tough, vulnerable, sensitive, compassionate.”
“Along Came a Spider is that rarity—a psychological thriller that truly breaks new ground asJames Patterson brilliantly explores dark crevices of the aberrant mind. DetectiveAlex Cross is real and fascinating! Patterson lets us soar and dip with roller coaster thrills,and this reader lost a good night’s sleep. When can I meet Cross again? Soon, I hope. Spider
is a sure winner; Cross is the fictional detective of the nineties!”
“Along Came a Spider is the best thriller I’ve come across in many a year. It deserves to bethis season’s #1 bestseller and should instantly make James Patterson a householdname.”
“THREE STRONG CHARACTERS (CROSS, FLANAGAN, AND THE MURDERER) AS WELL AS A PRIME-TIME PLOT movePatterson’s sixth novel at far more than a spider’s pace. Patterson (The Midnight
) knows how to sell thrills and suspense in clear, unwavering prose. In Alex Cross, whoClub
happens to be black, this Edgar Award winner has created a most compelling hero, abrainy cop afraid neither to bare his emotions (for his own two kids, for instance) nor toadmit procedural error.”
“ATTENTION GRABBING… PATTERSON’S STORYTELLING TALENT IS IN TOP FORM IN THIS GRISLY ESCAPISTYARN.”
“MOVES BRISKLY… WITH A FINE NOIR TWIST WINDUP.”
“A tale with the polish of a master… MOVE OVER THOMAS HARRIS…. It’s the sort of tale thatkeeps your hands gripping the book and your heart pounding at any unusual noise in thehouse.”
“WILL RIVET EVEN THE MOST JADED READER. He creates a multilayered, convoluted plot that keepsreaders off-balance, jolting them around narrative hairpin turns while transfixingthem with an extraordinary sustained tension.”
“MORE THAN A MYSTERY. It’s a gripping retelling of one man’s struggle to unlock the secretsof a murderer’s mind—the first-person sections in the killer’s voice are especiallyeffective—while keeping his own life together.”
“Patterson has created a fast-moving, character-driven roller coaster of a thriller. The bestthrillers leave the reader thinking about what scares them besides the obvious. Thesublime terror beneath Along Came a Spider comes from our own system. Now that’s scary!”
Also by James Patterson
The Thomas Berryman Number
Black Friday (originally published as Black Market)
The Midnight Club
Along Came a Spider
Kiss the Girls
The characters and events in this book are fictional. Any similarity to real persons, eitherliving or dead, is purely coincidental and not intended by the author.
WARNER BOOKS EDITION
Copyright ? 1992 by James Patterson
All rights reserved.
Cover illustration by Joe Ivies
This Warner Books Edition is published by arrangement with Little, Brown and Company.
Warner Books, Inc.
Hachette Book Group
237 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10017
Visit our website at www.HachetteBookGroup.com.
First eBook Edition: February 2001 ISBN: 978-0-7595-2030-1 Contents Along comes the most talked about, the most gripping thriller in years… Copyright Acknowledgments Prologue Part One: Maggie Rose and Shrimpie Goldberg (1992) CHAPTER 1 CHAPTER 2 CHAPTER 3 CHAPTER 4 CHAPTER 5 CHAPTER 6 CHAPTER 7 CHAPTER 8 CHAPTER 9 CHAPTER 10 CHAPTER 11 CHAPTER 12 CHAPTER 13 CHAPTER 14 CHAPTER 15 CHAPTER 16 CHAPTER 17 CHAPTER 18 CHAPTER 19 CHAPTER 20 CHAPTER 21 CHAPTER 22 CHAPTER 23 CHAPTER 24 CHAPTER 25 Part Two: The Son of Lindbergh CHAPTER 26 CHAPTER 27 CHAPTER 28 CHAPTER 29 CHAPTER 30 CHAPTER 31 CHAPTER 32 CHAPTER 33
CHAPTER 34 CHAPTER 35 CHAPTER 36 CHAPTER 37 CHAPTER 38 CHAPTER 39 CHAPTER 40 CHAPTER 41 CHAPTER 42 CHAPTER 43 Part Three: The Last Southern Gentleman CHAPTER 44 CHAPTER 45 CHAPTER 46 CHAPTER 47 CHAPTER 48 CHAPTER 49 CHAPTER 50 CHAPTER 51 CHAPTER 52 CHAPTER 53 CHAPTER 54 CHAPTER 55 CHAPTER 56 CHAPTER 57 CHAPTER 58 CHAPTER 59 Part Four: Remember Maggie Rose CHAPTER 60 CHAPTER 61 CHAPTER 62 CHAPTER 63 CHAPTER 64 CHAPTER 65 CHAPTER 66 CHAPTER 67 Part Five: The Second Investigation CHAPTER 68 CHAPTER 69 CHAPTER 70 CHAPTER 71 CHAPTER 72
Part Six: The Cross House
I would like to thank Peter Kim, who helped me learn about the private lives, the secrets, andthe taboos that still exist all across America. Anne Pough-Campbell, Michael Ouweleen,Holly Tippett, and Irene Markocki gave me more of a feeling for Alex and his life in theSoutheast section of D.C. Liz Delle and Barbara Groszewski kept me honest. Maria Pugatch (myLowenstein) and Mark and MaryEllen Patterson put me back in touch with my half-dozenyears working psych at McLean Hospital. Carole and Brigid Dwyer and Midgie Ford helpedtremendously with Maggie Rose. Richard and Artie Pine ran with this like the bansheesthey can be. Finally, Fredrica Friedman was my partner in crime from beginning to end.
New Jersey, near Princeton;
The Charles Lindbergh farmhouse glowed with bright, orangish lights. It looked like a fierycastle, especially in that gloomy, fir-wooded region of Jersey. Shreds of misty fogtouched the boy as he moved closer and closer to his first moment of real glory, his firstkill.
It was pitch-dark and the grounds were soggy and muddy and thick with puddles. He hadanticipated as much. He’d planned for everything, including the weather.
He wore a size nine man’s work boot. The toe and heel of the boots were stuffed with torncloth and strips of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
He wanted to leave footprints, plenty of footprints. A man’s footprints. Not the prints of atwelve-year-old boy. They would lead from the county highway called the Stoutsburg-Wertsville Road, up to, then back from, the farmhouse.
He began to shiver as he reached a stand of pines, not thirty yards from the sprawling house.The mansion was just as grand as he’d imagined: seven bedrooms and four baths on thesecond floor alone. Lucky Lindy and Anne Morrow’s place in the country.
Cool beans, he thought.
The boy inched closer and closer toward the dining-room window. He was fascinated by thiscondition known as fame. He thought a lot about it. Almost all the time. What was fame really
like? How did it smell? How did it taste? What did fame look like close up?
“The most popular and glamorous man in the world” was right there sitting at the table.Charles Lindbergh was tall, elegant, and fabulously golden haired, with a fair complexion.“Lucky Lindy” truly seemed above everyone else.
So did his wife, Anne Morrow Lindbergh. Anne had short hair. It was curly and black, and itmade her skin look chalky white. The light from the candles on the table appeared tobe dancing around her.
Both of them sat very straight in their chairs. Yes, they certainly looked superior, as if theywere God’s special gifts to the world. They kept their heads high, delicately eatingtheir food. He strained to see what was on the table. It looked like lamb chops on theirperfect china.
“I’ll be more famous than either of you pitiful stiffs,” the boy finally whispered. Hepromised that to himself. Every detail had been thought through a thousand times, atleast that often. He very methodically went to work.
The boy retrieved a wooden ladder left near the garage by workingmen. Holding the laddertightly against his side, he moved toward a spot just beyond the library window. Heclimbed silently up to the nursery. His pulse was racing, and his heart was pounding so loud hecould hear it.
Light cast from a hallway lamp illuminated the baby’s room. He could see the crib and thesnoozing little prince in it. Charles Jr., “the most famous child on earth.”
On one side, to keep away drafts, was a colorful screen with illustrations of barnyard animals.
He felt sly and cunning. “Here comes Mr. Fox,” the boy whispered as he quietly slid open thewindow.
Then he took another step up the ladder and was inside the nursery at last.
Standing over the crib, he stared at the princeling. Curls of golden hair like his father’s,but fat. Charles Jr. was gone to fat at only twenty months.
The boy could no longer control himself. Hot tears streamed from his eyes. His whole body beganto shake, from frustration and rage—only mixed with the most incredible joy of hislife.
“Well, daddy’s little man. It’s our time now,” he muttered to himself.
He took a tiny rubber ball with an attached elastic band from his pocket. He quickly slippedthe odd-looking looped device over Charles Jr.’s head, just as the small blue eyesopened.
As the baby started to cry, the boy plopped the rubber ball right into the little drooly mouth.He reached down into the crib and took Baby Lindbergh into his arms and went swiftlyback down the ladder. All according to plan.
The boy ran back across the muddy fields with the precious, struggling bundle in his arms anddisappeared into the darkness.
Less than two miles from the farmhouse, he buried the spoiled-rotten Lindbergh baby—buried him
That was only the start of things to come. After all, he was only a boy himself.
He, not Bruno Richard Hauptmann, was the Lindbergh baby kidnapper. He had done it all byhimself.
Maggie Rose and
Shrimpie Goldberg (1992)
EARLY ON THE MORNING of December 21, 1992, I was the picture of contentment on the sun porch ofour house on 5th Street in Washington, D.C. The small, narrow room was cluttered withmildewing winter coats, work boots, and wounded children’s toys. I couldn’t have cared less.This was home.
I was playing Gershwin on our slightly out-of-tune, formerly grand piano. It was just past 5
A.M., and cold as a meat locker on the porch. I was prepared to sacrifice a little for “AnAmerican in Paris.”
The phone jangled in the kitchen. Maybe I’d won the D.C., or Virginia, or Maryland lottery andthey’d forgotten to call the night before. I play all three games of misfortuneregularly.
“Nana? Can you get that?” I called from the porch.
“It’s for you. You might as well get it yourself,” my testy grandmother called back. “Nosense me gettin’ up, too. No sense means nonsense in my dictionary.”
That’s not exactly what was said, but it went something like that. It always does.
I hobbled into the kitchen, sidestepping more toys on morning-stiff legs. I was thirty-eight atthe time. As the saying goes, if I’d known I was going to live that long, I wouldhave taken better care of myself.
The call turned out to be from my partner in crime, John Sampson. Sampson knew I’d be up.Sampson knows me better than my own kids.
“Mornin’, brown sugar. You up, aren’t you?” he said. No other I.D. was necessary. Sampsonand I have been best friends since we were nine years old and took up shoplifting atPark’s Corner Variety store near the projects. At the time, we had no idea that old Park wouldhave shot us dead over a pilfered pack of Chesterfields. Nana Mama would have done even worseto us if she’d known about our crime spree.
“If I wasn’t up, I am now,” I said into the phone receiver. “Tell me something good.”
“There’s been another murder. Looks like our boy again,” Sampson said. “They’re waitin’on us. Half the free world’s there already.”
“It’s too early in the morning to see the meat wagon,” I muttered. I could feel my stomachrolling. This wasn’t the way I wanted the day to start. “Shit. Fuck me.”
Nana Mama looked up from her steaming tea and runny eggs. She shot me one of her sanctimonious,lady-of-the-house looks. She was already dressed for school, where she still doesvolunteer work at seventy-nine. Sampson continued to give me gory details about the day’sfirst homicides.
“Watch your language, Alex,” Nana said. “Please watch your language so long as you’replanning to live in this house.”
“I’ll be there in about ten minutes,” I told Sampson. “I own this house,” I said to Nana.
She groaned as if she were hearing that terrible news for the first time.
“There’s been another bad murder over in Langley Terrace. It looks like a thrill killer. I’mafraid that it is,” I told her.
“That’s too bad,” Nana Mama said to me. Her soft brown eyes grabbed mine and held. Her whitehair looked like one of the doilies she puts on all our living-room chairs. “That’ssuch a bad part of what the politicians have let become a deplorable city. Sometimes I think weought to move out of Washington, Alex.”
“Sometimes I think the same thing,” I said, “but we’ll probably tough it out.”
“Yes, black people always do. We persevere. We always suffer in silence.”
“Not always in silence,” I said to her.
I had already decided to wear my old Harris Tweed jacket. It was a murder day, and that meantI’d be seeing white people. Over the sport coat, I put on my Georgetown warm-upjacket. It goes better with the neighborhood.
On the bureau, by the bed, was a picture of Maria Cross. Three years before, my wife had beenmurdered in a drive-by shooting. That murder, like the majority of murders inSoutheast, had never been solved.
I kissed my grandmother on the way out the kitchen door. We’ve done that since I was eightyears old. We also say good-bye, just in case we never see each other again. It’sbeen like that for almost thirty years, ever since Nana Mama first took me in and decided shecould make something of me.
She made a homicide detective, with a doctorate in psychology, who works and lives in theghettos of Washington, D.C.
I AM OFFICIALLY a Deputy Chief of Detectives, which, in the words of Shakespeare and Mr.Faulkner, is a lot of sound and fury, signifying nada. The title should make me the number-six
or -seven person in the Washington Police Department. It doesn’t. People wait for myappearance at crime scenes in D.C., though.
A trio of D.C. Metro blue-and-whites were parked helter-skelter in front of 41-15 Benning Road.A crime-lab van with blackened windows had arrived. So had an EMS ambulance. MORTUARYwas cheerfully stenciled on the door.
There were a couple of fire engines at the murder house. The neighborhood’s ambulance-chasers,mostly eye-fucking males, were hanging around. Older women with winter coats thrownover their pajamas and nightgowns, and pink and blue curlers in their hair, were up on theirporches shivering in the cold.
The row house was dilapidated clapboard, painted a gaudy Caribbean blue. An old Chevette with abroken, taped-up side window looked as if it had been abandoned in the driveway.
“Fuck this. Let’s go back to bed,” Sampson said. “I just remembered what this is going tobe like. I hate this job lately.”
“I love my work, love Homicide,” I said with a sneer. “See that? There’s the M.E. alreadyin his plastic suit. And there are the crime-lab boys. And who’s this coming our waynow?”
A white sergeant in a puffy blue-black parka with a fur collar came waddling up to Sampson andme as we approached the house. Both his hands were jammed in his pockets for warmth.
“Sampson? Uh, Detective Cross?” The sergeant cracked his lower jaw the way some people dowhen they’re trying to clear their ears in airplanes. He knew exactly who we were. Heknew we were S.I.T. He was busting our chops.
“Wuz up, man?” Sampson doesn’t like his chops being busted very much.
“Senior Detective Sampson,” I answered the sergeant. “I’m Deputy Chief Cross.”
The sergeant was a jelly-roll-belly Irish type, probably left over from the Civil War. His facelooked like a wedding cake left out in the rain. He didn’t seem to be buying my tweedjacket ensemble.
“Everybody’s freezin’ their toches off,” he wheezed. “That’s wuz up.”
“You could probably lose a little of them toches,” Sampson advised him. “Might give JennyCraig a call.”
“Fuck you,” said the sergeant. It was nice to meet the white Eddie Murphy.
“Master of the riposte.” Sampson grinned at me. “You hear what he said? Fuck you?”
Sampson and I are both physical. We work out at the gym attached to St. Anthony’s—St. A’s.Together, we weigh about five hundred pounds. We can intimidate, if we want to.Sometimes it’s necessary in our line of work.
I’m only six three. John is six nine and growing. He always wears Wayfarer sunglasses.Sometimes he wears a raggy Kangol hat, or a yellow bandanna. Some people call him“John-John” because he’s so big he could be two Johns.
We walked past the sergeant toward the murder house. Our elite task force team is supposed tobe above this kind of confrontation. Sometimes we are.
A couple of uniforms had already been inside the house. A nervous neighbor had called theprecinct around four-thirty. She thought she’d spotted a prowler. The woman had beenup with the night-jitters. It comes with the neighborhood.
The two uniformed patrolmen found three bodies inside. When they called it in, they wereinstructed to wait for the Special Investigator Team. S.I.T. It’s made up of eightblack officers supposedly slated for better things in the department.
The outside door to the kitchen was ajar. I pushed it all the way open. The doors of everyhouse have a unique sound when they open and close. This one whined like an old man.
It was pitch-black in the house. Eerie. The wind was sucked through the open door, and I couldhear something rattling inside.
“We didn’t turn on the lights, sir,” one of the uniforms said from behind me. “You’re Dr.Cross, right?”
I nodded. “Was the kitchen door open when you came?” I turned to the patrolman. He was white,baby-faced, growing a little mustache to compensate for it. He was probably twenty-three or twenty-four, real frightened that morning. I couldn’t blame him.
“Uh. No. No sign of forced entry. It was unlocked, sir.”
The patrolman was very nervous. “It’s a real bad mess in there, sir. It’s a family.”
One of the patrolmen switched on a powerful milled-aluminum flashlight and we all peered insidethe kitchen.
There was a cheap Formica breakfast table with matching lime green vinyl chairs. A black BartSimpson clock was on one wall. It was the kind you see in the front windows of all thePeople’s drugstores. The smells of Lysol and burnt grease melded into something strange to thenose, though not entirely unpleasant. There were a lot worse smells in homicide cases.
Sampson and I hesitated, taking it all in the way the murderer might have just a few hoursearlier.
“He was right here,” I said. “He came in through the kitchen. He was here, where we’restanding.”
“Don’t talk like that, Alex,” Sampson said. “Sound like Jeane Dixon. Creep me out.”
No matter how many times you do this kind of thing, it never gets easier. You don’t want tohave to go inside. You don’t want to see any more horrible nightmares in yourlifetime.