Review: The Spider and The Fly by Claudia Rowe


I usually don’t put books I didn’t finish on my read shelf… but this book has bothered me enough that I wanted to share my thoughts.

I don’t really know what I was expecting from this book, but it does not deliver. This is the true story of a reporter, Claudia Rowe, who starts writing to a serial killer and they develop some sort of relationship. I’m really interested in true crime stories, so I was excited to read this, but after I got a few pages in, I realized there was nothing pushing me forward. There wasn’t anything interesting to make me want to keep reading, but I kept on to see if it would improve.. and it did not.

While there is a narrative to this story, it is choppy, divided into small sections, every few pages, making the flow almost non-existant. While Rowe has a strong style of writing, with some beautiful diction and sentences, it seems she is not as adept at telling a narrative. I found it hard to follow the action due to the sections, which also changed subject often and abruptly.

Rowe tries to hint at her reason for being so obsessed with this killer, in a way that I think is supposed to be mysterious, but just sounded like she was trying too hard to accomplish this goal. It was cheesy and came off as creepy and weird rather than some sort of.. psychological research or interest due to her past. If her past had to due with her interest in the killer, then I would have appreciated learning about it in detail, in the beginning of the book, so that it could serve as a foundation for the narrative that would follow. The lack of context provided by Rowe leaves the story floating on thin air, with almost nothing to hold it aloft.

I think Rowe’s writing style is more suited to journalism, and she needs a bit more practice before delving into narrative non-fiction or literary fiction. So, alas I did not finish this book.. I stopped at page 40. We’ll see what I read next!


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