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4.5 out of 5 stars
Cruel and Unusual (Scarpetta 4)
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on 23 January 2005
This is the forth of the Dr Kay Scarpetta novels and they just get better and better. Certainly this is the book with the most political intrigue and career back-stabbing in it and we see for perhaps the first time Dr Scarpetta more than just a pathologist, but as a political figure to be used by others.
The "thriller" part of the book is as good as ever, with a great twisty-turny ride through the plot and a cunning surprise around every corner. The characterisations are a brilliant as ever, and the Scarpetta - Marino interplay is just fantastic.<POn the plus side this book sees a couple of good new characters appearing, including the lawyer Nicholas Grueman who I certainly hope we'll meet again.
Great book!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 7 April 1999
If you like crime mysteries, this one is for you. This book had me gripped with suspense but couldn't work out who was the murderer. I loved this book so much I want to read more by Patricia Cornwell. Very well written.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 26 July 2009
This is the first book that i have read by Patricia Cornwell and i was a little disappointed as the plot seemed to be a good idea at first but as you read on the different twists and turns do not lead to anything that surprises you. I also found the style of the book to be rather tiresome as there seems to be a good idea which intrigues you then it seems to be solved very quickly and a bit of an anti climax. I would only recommend this book if you have nothing else to read on a long journey.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 26 August 1999
I have read all the previous Scarpetta stories and I certainly wasn't disappointed when I came to this book. From the moment I picked it up the story had me guessing just who was doing what to Kay Scarpetta. Patricia Cornwell had you guessing as to who was involved in the murders and when you thought you had an idea of where she was going with the story she turned it on its head and surprised you. The fact that while solving cases the book also shows Kay's private life and follows on from the previous books makes her more believable and human. The only disappointment that I found with the book was a bit of repetiveness on the lack of security with her office - this was also the case in a couple of other stories in the series. This part I cannot find totally believable as I know how secure medical computers are. One security leak yes, three or four, no. On the whole this book is like the other Kay Scarpetta books - A VERY GOOD READ.
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VINE VOICEon 26 July 2008
This is Patricia Cornwell's 4th installment of the highly acclaimed Kay Scarpetta series. It's a good enough read but im starting to find the whole 'Kay is to blame' route a bit boring and repetative. It's worked so far but I feel if Cornwell continues this idea in further books then it will start to become boring. Also I have to admit that I find the character of Kay's neice, Lucy, highly annoying, although i like her as a character and I am glad she's in teh book she really is an annoying young woman and I don't know how Kay puts up with her.
The best part about this book, I thought, was the setting, Cornwell really builds the setting of the holidays and Christmas and it really makes it a cozy read, aside from the murders of course.
I've given this book a 4 star rating because it seems like more of the same of Cornwell's first 3 books. And I also feel that the ending seemed a bit rushed an implausable.
I shall definately continue reading the series as I love Patricia Cornwell's writing style and the character of Scarpetta. I only hope that in the next book 'The Body Farm' the bar is raised and shows the authors true potential.
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on 7 January 2008
First off, let me say that although all of Cornwell's thrillers stand alone, it's better if you read them in the order they were written. More so in PC's case than in other authors who continue with the same character, book after book. This is because PC does the impossible, she keeps her characters continually growing with each story. Pass one up and you miss some of their development and the very interesting, but very flawed people that walk through the pages of her books are like people we know, friends, and one should stay current with one's friends.

"Cruel and Unusual" opens with Kay waiting for the execution of murder/rapist Ronnie Joe Waddell, but even as she's waiting someone is being killed, the killer using Waddell's M.O. One of his finger prints even shows up at one of the crime scenes.

This book has the usual Cornwellian twists and turns and as usual I was glued to my seat as I read this five star novel. I loved every second of it, because nobody does Cornwell, like Cornwell.

Review submitted by Captain Katie Osborne
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on 3 February 2012
I'm slowly but surely catching up Kay and her life, and I am enjoying the books.

This would of easily got 5 stars except for one thing, the ending. I read this book literally shaking with nerves at certain points (this may also have to do with the fact I was reading it the night before a big interview but heh, blame the book) and I was expecting a hugely exciting ending.. but it just didn't happen.

It felt insanely anti-climatic and even though the book had some amazing twists and turns, it failed to see them through to the end.

One particular twist was brilliant half way through the book but then the twist got un-twisted at the end and I was severely disappointed. The original twist would of made the book so much more interesting. (If you have read this, you definitely know what I'm talking about)!

All in all, all the characters were as enjoyable to read about as the first couple of books and I will continue reading, but I just really wished Cornwell could of actually finished this book properly!
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on 29 October 2009
After reading some of the latest of Cornwell's books, I was glad to go back to one of her earlier works. This is intelligently written, the plot full of surprises.
The book starts with terrible murder of a child. The fingerprints show that the killer is a dead man Scarpetta had just autopsied. Then more mysterious deaths occur, people close to Ronnie Joe Wadell are being snuffed out and the police are confused...

The second book of Cornwell's that I ever read was 'Point of Origin', and now I regret I didn't start with nr 1 and carried on through. Somehow I think I know the killer only too well now.
But still, that's only my fault. If I was to find fault in the book, it was that there was too much technological stuff that I found more than confusing.
Therefore, too much Lucy.

APPLAUSE FOR PATRICIA CORNWELL.
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This, the 4th in the Scarpetta series, is probably the best so far. Excellent story line and plenty of twists and turns. I think the story is quite fast moving and intriguing, although other reviews don't agree. Marino is at his best and there is the introduction of Grueman the lawyer, and Temple Gault which are good additions to the series. Scarpetta also has to deal with the personnel emotions of the death of a work colleague which adds to the interest. The ending of the book, whilst slightly frustrating, leads into 'The Body Farm' - the next book in the series, and the reader is presented with chapter 1 to tempt you to buy. I have to admit to finding Cornwell's descriptive writing and scene setting quite addictive, so I'll definitely be buying. Altogether an excellent addition to the series.
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on 5 December 2007
Ever since I started to read Patricia Cornwell`s books I know that I need to expect the unexpected. Without labelling it. I just go with the flow, turning every single page one by one without knowing what will happen next but knowing only one thing - that at the end I may have learned something different about science, state law, psychology and about how a big hearted person like Dr. Kay Scarpetta can cope with other big people and their twisted games. Cruel and Unusual is good example of all this. Everything builds up around one person, Ronnie Joe Waddell, who is electrocuted. Then murders start and it looks like the executed man is to blame.... Well worked on details. Unusual. I am now looking forward to reading Patricia Cornwell`s new release, Book of The Dead.
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