Extraordinarily suspenseful and truly gut-wrenching, The Spider and the Fly is not just a superb true-crime story but an insightful investigation of the nature of evil, the fragility of good, and the crooked road that can turn human beings into monsters. A must-read.'
GILLIAN FLYNN, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Gone Girl
'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, serial killer
In this extraordinary, white-knuckle account of a series of horrifying true crimes, journalist Claudia Rowe chronicles her disturbing connection with a serial killer convicted of murdering eight women. An enthralling combination of memoir and psychological suspense, The Spider and the Fly reveals Claudia's chilling correspondence with the killer, his shocking confessions and her search to understand the darkness inside us all.
'Part psychological thriller and part gut-wrenching memoir, The Spider and the Fly crosses boundaries on nearly every page. It is chilling, self-revelatory, and unforgettable.'
ROBERT KOLKER, author of the New York Times bestseller Lost Girls: An unsolved American mystery
'Claudia Rowe catalogues her obsession with a serial killer so mesmerizingly that before I knew it, I too was obsessed . . . But this is not merely a recounting of a descent, it is equally a memoir of discovery through the lens of potential evil. I literally could not put it down.'
ALAN CUMMING, author of the New York Times bestseller Not My Father's Son
With reporter-like descriptions of small town life and strong storytelling skills, Rowe, a Seattles Times staff writer, unflinchingly depicts her decades-long obsession with Kendall Francois, a convicted serial killer, whom she first encountered in the 1990s while working as a reporter for a local paper in upstate New York. What begins as an investigation into how a person can commit cold-blooded murder became Rowe's albatross, ultimately leading her to examine her own life. Although she admits her personal stakes from the outset, the focus on her own story in the context of Francois's situation leads her to draw to comparisons that don't always measure up: for example, she attempts to relate her childhood experiences growing up in an white, upper-middle-class family in New York City to Francois's experience as the child of an extreme hoarder, in one of the few black families in a predominantly white part of Dutchess County. Though she skewers Kendall for trivialities such as liking "white pop" and speaking with an affected tone, she rarely turns that harsh lens on herself. It is only toward the end of the book, when Rowe admits her bias, that her story begins to strike a chord.