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Cruel and Unusual: Scarpetta 4 (The Scarpetta Series) [Kindle Edition]

Patricia Cornwell
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)

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Sold by: Simon & Schuster Canada, Inc.
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

The fourth mystery to feature Virginia's Chief Medical Officer Dr. Kay Scarpetta (after All That Remains ) is the most intricately plotted and fully characterized novel yet in Cornwell's admirable series. From its opening at the autopsy of convicted killer Ronnie Joe Wadell--after his execution in the electric chair--to its final moments with Scarpetta facing a special grand jury indictment, the novel connects old crimes and cover-ups to current politics in an intriguing puzzler. On the eve of Wadell's death, a teenage boy in Richmond, Va., is mutilated in a murder that echoes the killing of a TV news anchorwoman 10 years before, the crime for which Wadell was convicted. Next, a fingerprint at the home of a recently murdered psychic is identified in FBI files as the executed killer's, suggesting to Scarpetta that tentacles from the first murder may be reaching out from the past. The Christmas Day murder of her own morgue supervisor suggests those tentacles may have penetrated her office. Scarpetta's computer-whiz niece Lucy, Richmond homicide investigator Pete Marino and an old FBI friend help Kay save her reputation. That this complex case seems to end abruptly is surely due in part to the reader's reluctance to come to the last page. Literary Guild, Mystery Guild and Doubleday Book Club selections.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

YA-In this fourth Kay Scarpetta mystery, the chief medical examiner for the state of Virginia is once again challenged by gruesome murder and confusing evidence. How could the fingerprints of Ronnie Joe Waddell appear at the scene of a murdered psychic after Waddell was executed in the electric chair? In the midst of many puzzling matters come other difficult issues to confront Kay as she tries to do her job. She becomes the object of hysterical media attention, and finds that she herself might be indicted for the very crimes she is trying to solve. Someone is sabotaging her efforts by hacking into her computer files and leaking information. Exasperated, she calls upon her niece, Lucy, a 17-year-old computer whiz, whom readers will remember from earlier "Scarpetta" novels. Along with FBI agent Benton Wesley and police chum Pete Marino, Lucy helps Kay solve the murders and ferret out the traitor in her office. YAs will enjoy the teen's angst and the exciting twist at the book's end.
Carolyn E. Gecan, Thomas Jefferson Sci-Tech, Fairfax County, VA
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1940 KB
  • Print Length: 417 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner (Nov. 26 2009)
  • Sold by: Simon & Schuster Canada, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #19,166 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A Mystery Worth Investigating March 9 2004
By snalen
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Kay Scarpetta is Chief Medical Examiner for the Commonwealth of Virginia. As such she has the nasty job of processing the remains of murderer Ronnie Waddell, electrocuted after ten years of incarceration. The next day she has another body on her hands, a young man, Eddie Heath, dumped in the street strangely mutiliated. The modus operandi of Heath's murder has some suggestive echoes of the killing for which Waddell is executed. And the plot thickens further when a middle-aged fortune-teller turns up dead in her car and a fingerprint found on her furniture is identified as one of Waddell's. Meanwhile all is not well is Dr Scarpetta's office. Someone has been mucking about with the files on her computer and her morgue supervisor, Susan Stevens, is acting very oddly...
This is rather good fun, extremely readable stuff. It's the first of Cornwell's books I have read and it leaves me feeling pretty well-disposed to the prospect of reading one or two more. Scarpetta is an interesting heroine, likeable but complicated and Cornwell is an excellent plotter. If you like crime fiction and haven't tried any Cornwell before, you could do a lot worse than checking this out.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting book to read during the holidays! Jan. 6 2004
This is only the second of the author's "Kay Scarpetta" novels that I've read, and I wasn't all that impressed with _Postmortem,_ so I approached this fourth book in the series with some scepticism, even though It seems to be one of the best reviewed. After a decade of appeals, Ronnie Joe Waddell is finally being executed and Scarpetta waits to perform the autopsy (though I'm not clear why that should be necessary). But that same evening, a young boy is ritually murdered in a manner very reminiscent of Waddell's style. That's followed by another murder -- and Waddell's fingerprints apparently are found on the scene. Was someone else executed in his place? The authorities involved, of course, don't even want to *think* about such an appalling possibility. More murders follow, including Scarpetta's own Morgue Attendant, and suddenly links seem to be turning up to tie the Chief Medical Examiner to the killings, as well as to corruption in her own office. All the action takes place in the few weeks preceding and following the Christmas-New Year's holidays, and the gray, cold winter adds greatly to the flavor of the narration.

There's no question that this one is an improvement over the first one I read. Cornwell doesn't bring in a completely new character in the last chapter to be the villain, for one thing. And she has added considerable depth to the personalities of all the repeating characters, especially Lt. Pete Marino of Richmond Homicide and FBI Special Agent Benton Wesley. My favorite, though, is Lucy, Scarpetta's niece from Miami, who possesses what another character calls a "frightening intellect." But she's still seventeen years old, and her home life is, in many ways, not a happy one.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great story, great heroine May 3 2003
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Somehow as I became initiated into the world of Kay Scarpetta I missed this gem. It was great to backtrack and discover what has become one of my favorite books in the series. The story is SO imaginative and original! The suspense is taut and kept me on the edge of my seat. And most of all, there is Kay, a three dimensional, refreshingly human heroine. No, she isn't perfect. As the possibility of an affair with a married man arose, I wasn't "appalled" by Kay, I was heartbroken for her. Driven by work, shattered by lost love, reaching for someone to bring her back to life emotionally ... her feelings may not be noble but they certainly seemed human to me. A powerful woman in a controversial, conventionally male field, and reviewers ask why so many people hate her? It seems very realistic that the head of a high-profile state agency would find herself with enemies. While I have no real criticism of this book, I do have a comment on the rest of the series. Part of why I enjoyed this one so much is Lucy. As the series progresses, Lucy's life gets so complicated and convulated and dangerous that it is her character, not Kay's, that strains credibility. It was refreshing to revisit a time when Lucy was a teenager whose biggest (immediate) problem was access to a car.
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2.0 out of 5 stars One bad egg is forgiveable Nov. 2 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is the worst of the Scarpetta series. which is quite an achievement seeing as all the others are brilliant. My favourites being the claustrophobic "The Body Farm", and the superbly dark "Point of Origin". I have loved all the Scarpetta's, and read them at least twice over, and i still think this is the worst.
The plot was very complicated, and it all seemed a bit of a mess. The characters were nothing special, and i this is the only book in which Cornwell manage to bore me with her normally insightful computer terminology. It's too long, and basically i dont think it has any substance. There is a great potential. The idea for the plot is superb, and could well have been one of the best, but somewhere along the line it all slips. I cant put my finger on it, but i just didnt come away from this with the satisfaction i normally get out of a Kay Scarpetta book.
Nevertheless this is still a necessary book to read if you intend to read the entire series. It is one of the major turning points. The first book to feature Temple Gault, who would later lead to Carrie Grethen, Newton Joyce, and all the other catastrophic events which culminate in the next turning point of "The Last Precint". each one has signalled a new era for Patricia Cornwell, and each one has not been quite as good as the others. But The Last Precint was still much better than this. It is, admittedly, very clever, but far too complicated, and im surprised it got the CWA's gold dagger.
nevertheless, i have given it two stars purely because it is such a major point in Scarpetta's life. You must read it if you intend to read the entire series, but dont expect to enjoy it as much as you do the others.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Great page turner
I really liked this book. It is a page turner for sure. I would read before I went to bed and have to force myself to find a stopping point. Read more
Published on April 19 2004 by Jennifer Dorrell
4.0 out of 5 stars Another awesome novel
My mother and I are just hooked on reading Patricia Cornwell, we started somewhere in the middle with one book but since have gone back to the beginning. Read more
Published on April 19 2004 by Caitlin Olson
4.0 out of 5 stars A good mystery
This is a darn good mystery read that certainly keeps you up at night turning the pages. Isn't that what we all want here? More enjoyable Kay Scarpetta for fans of this series. Read more
Published on March 29 2004 by Patty Philbrook
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Read!
In CRUEL & UNSUAL by super-writer, Patricia Cornwell, Kay finds herself the prime suspect as she tries to make a connection between three murders! Read more
Published on Feb. 3 2004 by Victoria Taylor Murray
4.0 out of 5 stars Good mystery
If your looking for a suspensful thriller you'll find it with Cruel and Unusual by Patricia Cornwell. In it the main charicter, Dr. Read more
Published on Jan. 26 2004 by Camilla Hartley
5.0 out of 5 stars AWESOME!!
This is awesome! Excellent plot! After reading this, you should read From Potter's Field!
Published on Dec 3 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars Best of the First Four in this series.
This is an awesome book. Kay just keeps getting better and better. It's also fun to see the characters develop more with each book - Kay herself as she seems to be always "one... Read more
Published on Sept. 4 2003 by Shirley Schwartz
5.0 out of 5 stars Unusual is Right!
Ah, the good old days of Dr. Scarpetta and her gang of crime solvers. This book represents one of the glory days of Cornwell's writing. Read more
Published on Jan. 3 2003 by KaeLee Newton
3.0 out of 5 stars Deja vu
The book is well written. However, the storyline has begun to be repititious, in that Kay is attacked in every book either by the criminal, or worse, her colleagues, over and over... Read more
Published on Dec 16 2002
4.0 out of 5 stars TALENTED
A very talented work of a very talented writer.
Published on Sept. 1 2002 by Boris Zubry
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