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Publisher's Summary

A search for the origins of the darkest parts of human nature, The Spider and the Fly is a multifaceted listening experience that will chill you to the bone.

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 27-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.

©2017 Claudia Rowe (P)2017 HarperCollins Audio

Critic Reviews

"Extraordinarily suspenseful and truly gut-wrenching...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." (Gillian Flynn, New York Times best-selling author of Gone Girl)
"[Listeners] seeking a literary look at the psychology of a criminal will find much to hold them rapt." ( Booklist)

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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the spider and the fly

not the bestbook ive ever read but interesting enough. was a little bored in places.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Disappointing

Unfortunately the narrator spoke in a sleepy voice, almost morose with the end word of each sentence lengthened in an even lower tone. Sadly I couldn't finish this book.