"…think Hitchcock’s PSYCHO meets THE BIRDS
 with flashes of humor -- and spiders."

I have a rather compulsive habit of downloading books to my e-reader, so it was no surprise when I SPIDER joined the masses on my kindle after I’d read a few book excerpts on author Anthony Lance’s I SPIDER Blog. But that, as they say, is only the beginning of the story. Intrigued by the humor, vivid depictions and sparse writing style of the excerpts, I immediately started test reading the first few chapters.  (My usual MO is to just add new books to my out-of-control Must Read list.)  And though I still had no intention of reading a book then, I finished it the next day.ispider2

I SPIDER is a darkly humorous murder mystery/crime thriller but without the “who done it.”  It opens with the murderer in a mental ward having confessed to his crime. The mystery and thrills come from discovering the whys and hows of the murder, who the victim was, and most importantly how the murderer reached the point of obsession and murder.

So what made this quick read so compelling?   It’s all in the telling — think Hitchcock’s “Psycho” meets “The Birds” with flashes of humor — and spiders, of course.

Like the many spiders woven throughout the story, the author patiently spins his tale with precision and care. He knows his craft. He also knows spiders, Australia, and mental illness. Using a first person narrative, the author candidly journeys through telling events in the murderer’s life, casually wandering from the entertainingly humorous, to the universally mundane, on through to the frankly disconcerting.

Through it all I SPIDER feels compellingly real and creepily authentic. So much so, that it is impossible not to wonder if there are elements of biography and true crime mixed in with pure fiction which only adds an eerie mystery topping to all the Funnel Web spider fun.


A earlier version of this review was posted at  Reading and Writing Cafe.