The Spider and the Fly by Claudia Rowe is a spellbinding combination of memoir and psychological suspense where a female journalist chronicles her unusual connection with a convicted serial killer and her search to understand the darkness inside us.
The story begins as any true crime story might—a reporter writes a letter to a criminal in prison. But this isn’t just any reporter or any criminal. It’s a woman on the edge of a dark obsession and a black serial killer with a preference for women who look just like Claudia. This isn’t a cat and mouse game—sometimes the mouse is clever enough to get away. This really is a spider building a web and a fly who gets caught with no chance for escape.
Claudia Rowe is a stringer for the New York Times when this story begins. She’s on the crime beat in Poughkeepsie, NY when she hears about women who keep disappearing. She’s poised to chase down all the leads, investigate the families, and talk to the police when she learns that the killer has confessed.
The killer is Kendall Francois, and the confession is a bit of a shock as he wasn’t on anyone’s radar for murder. When Rowe begins to exchange letters with Kendall, she has no idea how much of an impact it would ultimately have on her life.