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

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

by Claudia Rowe


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The Spider and the Fly: A Reporter, a Serial Killer, and the Meaning of Murder by Claudia Rowe

“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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062416124
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 01/24/2017
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 575,472
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Claudia Rowe is an award-winning journalist who has been twice nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. Currently a staff writer at the Seattle Times, she has published work in numerous newspapers and magazines, including the New York Times, Mother Jones, Huffington Post, Women’s Day, Yes! and Seattle’s alternative weekly, The Stranger. She has been honored by the Society of Professional Journalists, the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University, and the Journalism Center on Children & Families, which awarded her a Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism.

Table of Contents

1 The Weight of Paper 1

2 99 Fulton Avenue 7

3 When Night Falls 31

4 Tricks of the Trade 41

5 The Final Insult 59

6 Strange Town 71

7 As If We Were Friends 95

8 Close to Home 115

9 Evidence of Things Not Seen 137

10 Man and Monster 153

11 Solitaire 167

12 U-Turns 191

13 Ghost Story 203

14 A Day in the Life 219

15 One of Our Own 235

16 The Face in the Mirror 247

17 Discharged 259

Epilogue 271

Acknowledgments 275

Author's Note 277

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The Spider and the Fly: A Reporter, a Serial Killer, and the Meaning of Murder 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great incite to those of us who marvel at how a serial killer thinks. Tho' he wouldn't tell all, it was a fascinating journey into his life and also the journalists life. I loved the book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is very interesting as long as you have a good head on your shoulders and can see through Claudia Rowe's liberal bias.
Queenbethanny More than 1 year ago
I received this ARC from Harper Collins/Dey Street Books. It is labelled as true crime. I guess that could be true as it centered on a real crime, real reporter and a real serial killer. However, this book is mostly about correspondence between reporter, Claudia Rowe and the serial killer, Kendall Francois. The book is heavy and hard to get through. After I realized that she more than sympathized with Francois, even starts making excuses for him, eagerly awaits his correspondence, I was completely turned off.