The Spider and the Fly: A Reporter, a Serial Killer, and the Meaning of Murder-Review

Title: The Spider and the Fly: A Reporter, a Serial Killer, and the Meaning of Murder

Author: Claudia Rowe 

Rating: 2/5

Publish date: 1/24/17

Description from Goodreads: ““Extraordinarily suspenseful and truly gut-wrenching…A must-read.”
– Gillian Flynn, author of the #1 
New York Times bestseller Gone Girl

In this superb work of literary true crime—a spellbinding combination of memoir and psychological suspense—a female journalist chronicles her unusual connection with a convicted serial killer and her search to understand the darkness inside us.

“Well, well, Claudia. Can I call you Claudia? I’ll have to give it to you, when confronted at least you’re honest, as honest as any reporter. . . . You want to go into the depths of my mind and into my past. I want a peek into yours. It is only fair, isn’t it?”—Kendall Francois

In September 1998, young reporter Claudia Rowe was working as a stringer for the New York Times in Poughkeepsie, New York, when local police discovered the bodies of eight women stashed in the attic and basement of the small colonial home that Kendall Francois, a painfully polite twenty-seven-year-old community college student, shared with his parents and sister.

Growing up amid the safe, bourgeois affluence of New York City, Rowe had always been secretly fascinated by the darkness, and soon became obsessed with the story and with Francois. She was consumed with the desire to understand just how a man could abduct and strangle eight women—and how a family could live for two years, seemingly unaware, in a house with the victims’ rotting corpses. She also hoped to uncover what humanity, if any, a murderer could maintain in the wake of such monstrous evil.

Reaching out after Francois was arrested, Rowe and the serial killer began a dizzying four-year conversation about cruelty, compassion, and control; an unusual and provocative relationship that would eventually lead her to the abyss, forcing her to clearly see herself and her own past—and why she was drawn to danger.”

 Review:  This book was not at all what I expected and I did not care for it. After reading a lot of positive talk about this book, I thought it would be a thrilling true crime novel. Before you read this book you should know, this book is not really a suspense or mystery novel. This book is simply the story of how a journalist (the author of the book) became obsessed with a serial killer.  I expected this to be captivating and interesting; neither were the case for me.

I got bored after the first few pages and then I just got disgusted. I was disgusted far more with the fact that Claudia was flattered by Kendall’s attention than by the crimes. I went into this book expecting it to be about the crimes and how he got caught, not at all the case. I don’t really care to hear about how a serial killer feels, what his thoughts are about anything, and I really don’t want to read about a woman who becomes obsessed with him to the extent that she loses everything.

Recommendation: This might be a book that others would enjoy but it was not something that I would ever want to read again.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. A positive review was not required, all opinions are my own.*

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