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Insolito e crudele (Kay Scarpetta #4)

4.11  ·  Rating Details ·  85,756 Ratings  ·  670 Reviews
Mentre Ronnie Joe Waddell sta per salire sulla sedia elettrica, la dottoressa kay Scarpetta è intenta ai preparativi necessari per eseguirne l'autopsia. Ma la morte dell'uomo non è il solo evento di cui Kay debba occuparsi in quella fredda notte di dicembre. Poche ore prima è stato ritrovato un bambino di tredici anni col corpo orribilmente mutilato: un episodio di violenz ...more
Paperback, 331 pages
Published 1996 by Mondadori (first published January 1st 1993)
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eileen l gaudette-crowe I find that the number of characters enriches the book; each one deepens the flavor of the stock, so to speak. Having characters that reappear…moreI find that the number of characters enriches the book; each one deepens the flavor of the stock, so to speak. Having characters that reappear throughout the series gives it a continuity and richness that it would not otherwise have. I reread these books numerous times and never get bored because there is much more going on than a simple murder mystery.(less)

Community Reviews

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Tea Jovanović
May 06, 2013 Tea Jovanović rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
Javno priznajem da sam ja jedini krivac što je ovaj nastavak kasnio... :) Želela sam da ga prevedem a nisam imala vremena da se bavim prevođenjem... :)
Cruel & Unusual by Patricia Cornwell, the fourth in the "Kay Scarpetta" series was a solid book with a little more edge than some of the others, hence the 4 rating. Two key parts of this one that appealed to me:

1. Scarpetta learns more about the prison system, in particular how a newly killed inmate's finger prints could show up on a dead body several days after the inmate died. The "gimmick" has been used before, but Cornwell keeps it tightly wound until the end of the book. It's
3.5 Stars

Chief medical examiner, Kay Scarpetta, gets embroiled in another murder case when she is called in to perform an autopsy on a convicted killer named Ronnie Waddell who has just been executed on death row.

Things get complicated soon after when another unthinkable crime is committed, leaving a young boy dead and brutalized in the same fashion as Ronnie's previous victim. It seems to imply a copy-cat is on the loose - either that or the wrong man was just executed for a crime he may not h
Aug 18, 2012 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

26/3 - One of my favourite Scarpetta mysteries and another that gets to keep its five star rating. It sets up a long-running battle between Scarpetta and Gault and her continuing problems with the politicians/her bosses. I had forgotten the way things, big things, happen 'off screen' so to speak and was practically having a heart attack when Mark's death was casually brought up which left me thinking I'd somehow missed a book. Then I remembered, things happen in the time that pass
This book made me feel like I'd missed a book between this one and the last one. I actually stopped and double checked because some very major things in Kay's life seemed to have happened between books and they are just sort of unceremoniously dropped in our laps. I hope these events at least happened to make way for other potential things to happen. (view spoiler) ...more
aPriL does feral sometimes
'Cruel & Unusual' is incredibly exciting! I couldn't put it down. I passed the last three days being tremendously entertained by book 4 in the Dr. Kay Scarpetta series!

Scarpetta is slowly recovering from the death of her unrequited love, Mark James, FBI agent, who was killed in a terrorist bombing in London in the previous book. She is going about her duties as Virginia's Chief Medical Examiner emotionally numbed. However, several cases of murder begin to interest her, especially since they
Dec 20, 2012 Matt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
Cornwell’s fourth novel presents some of her best work yet. With twists and turns throughout, the storyline, Scarpetta goes through a gamut of emotions before the reader’s eyes. With the execution of a child killer, Scarpetta’s autopsy seems to be a foregoing conclusion. When called to help with the discovery of a murdered teenager, Scarpetta begins to probe deeper and discovers things are not what they seem. Could the executed man be someone other than the convicted killer? With added deaths, t ...more
There was something slightly off-putting about this fourth novel in the Kay Scarpetta series. While key personal details were skimmed over, trivialized, and told post the actual events in past novels, in Cruel and Unusual, Cornwell killed off an important if not often seen character between books, dropping the news in an offhand manner and never actually dealing with it or its implications for her heroine. Granted, the focus of the series is not on Dr. Scarpetta's personal life, but, when said p ...more
I’ve recently finished reading Patricia Cornwell’s “Cruel & Unusual”, the 4th installment (but only my second reading) of her Dr. Kay Scarpetta series, and I have to say that I enjoyed it, quite a bit. This was actually my third book by Cornwell, having originally “discovered” her by reading “Isle of the Dogs”; she has an interesting voice and sense of place in her writing, and I find Dr. Scarpetta to be a believable and very sympathetic character. While I haven’t read every installment, I a ...more
Sherri F.
#4 of Dr. Kay Scarpetta series and 4th I've read just not in order and some I liked more than others. Very intelligent medical, forensics & computer sci language, but still good stuff. This one did remind me a lot of #1 in not only there were multiple murders happening, but that (1) KS was eventually being targeted or set up to look like she may have done 1 or some of them or was somehow involved; (2) someone broke into the medical examiner's database (UNIX system?) for confidential info or ...more
Feb 28, 2012 Daniel rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Dr. Kay Scarpetta is in it up to her neck this time. A death row inmate, Waddle, is executed, but before his body is even cool, murdered corpses start piling up with Waddle's fingerprints found at the scene of the crime. Next thing you know, people are dropping like flies, some of them close to Dr. Kay, and she is publicly implicated in the deaths.

Cornwell has written a workably entertaining mystery here. The plot is engaging and bubbling with intrigue, and the writing isn't hampered by too much
I only really read this as I was sick the other day at work and needed some way to keep awake in the evening of my long day with nothing to do. With the small choice available in the staff room it was either that, James Patterson or the Twilight books. Tough choice. I'm very rarely without a book or two on my person so more fool me.

In the interests of disclosure I actually used to read the Scarpetta novels when younger (probably read about the first 6 or 7) but eventually gave up when I realised
Claire - The Coffeeholic Bookworm
Kay Scarpetta steps up her game in this series. She confronted the most bizarre of the many investigations she had uncovered in her body of work yet. Everyone wonders how Ronnie Joe Waddell's unique fingerprint appears at the murder scene of Eddie Heath a few hours after Waddell was executed. Dr. Scarpetta, together with her expert team consisting of the charismatic Pete Marino, Benton Wesley and her niece Lucy, they went to great lengths to investigate and expose the murderer, but not without h ...more
Jan 19, 2015 Donna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-mystery
This was 3.5 stars, but I will round up because I read another book today, that I absolutely hated so this one gets elevated by comparison.

I like the main character in this series. She is flawed but strong. The author describes her well including her struggles and disappointments. The other characters were also well thought out. The story moved along quickly. I have read three other book by this author, and I either really liked them or I really didn't. There doesn't seem to be a middle road.
Marko Radosavljevic
Odlično štivo da malo odmorite od teških tema. Lično volim tematiku, radnja je kao iz epizode serije Body of proof... Karpetina sestričina je malo bacila u zasenak glavnu protagonistkinju, od čijeg sam lika očekivao malo više dubine i slojevitosti. Rado ću se vraćati dogodovštinama Kej Skarpete
May 08, 2016 Ellen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Scarpetta is such a cool cat. Enjoy her strolling through morgues dropping truth bombs and dodging murder raps in this latest outing.
Lindsay Foster
Jan 14, 2012 Lindsay Foster rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Brandon Cardona
Mar 05, 2013 Brandon Cardona rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have to admit that I am now hooked on this series by Patricia Cornwell. This is the 4th one in the Scarpetta series, and they all move along really well. However, I do have a small complaint or two with the 4 I have read so far. The first problem? They are sorta "Who-Dunnit" type novels, yet I see no way to guess who the killer actually is, since Cornwell likes to bring the actual killer in to the story in the last 50 pages or so. Prior to that, you don't meet that character. One of the things ...more
Jun 15, 2012 J rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

This is early (no. 4) in the saga of Kay Scarpetta, medical examiner, M.D. and J.D., cook and friend extraordinaire!

Book starts out with the execution of a man on state death row.

But Scarpetta et al. soon have reason to wonder who, exactly, was executed.

Turns out someone's done something nefarious with the fingerprints of the dead inmate (switching the fingerprints of the deceased to someon
Brendan Nicholls
This novel reminds me why I don't like committing to crime thrillers, this cliché ridden and poor storytelling is really frustrating. Kay is the main suspect in this book, what is it with crime thrillers doing this? I think this novel ruined the franchise for me, and to think they are setting up ties with Quantico for the next books. I liked the Kay character but having her in the midst of trial and investigation is poor novel writing. I hate cliché writing, every detective seems to encounter th ...more
Shawn Byrnes
Jul 08, 2009 Shawn Byrnes rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was a bit skeptical over whether or not I should have picked this book up. This is due to the fact that I hated how the previous one ended. However, I must admit that I was really wrong. This book was great and my new favorite of Cornwell (who I think is the master at this genre) This book was totally creepy, and I loved every page, and the fact that the killer runs at the end, really intrigues me to keep up on these novels. The thing I love about Cornwell, is that she makes getting from point ...more
Mar 04, 2017 Leyla rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've finally started taking notes when I read complex books. I won't delete them yet because I have a feeling characters will resurface in The Body Farm. Bring it on!
Paul Wardman
The fourth book in Patricia Cornwell's Kay Scarpetta series and the first to make me question whether I want to go on reading.

First of all I do commend Cornwell for having Kay's life continue to run between the fiction we receive as I'm sure mundane life wouldn't make for fascinating reading. However, the decision to kill off a character who is important to her life, during this period between books, was a strange one and left me confused as to whether I'd missed a book.

The story itself moved
Oct 14, 2013 Lani rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

I'm starting to notice a trend. First, all bad guys die at the end with the exception of the serial killer in this book. He conveniently disappears. So, we don't get to enter the mind of the criminal during police interviews, or watch the legal system in action during the criminal trials. There's also always at least one politically powerful man who HATES Kay and wants bad things to happen to her. He always ends up getting fucked over by some mix of his misfortune and Kay's luck.

I also
May 31, 2012 Emily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
WARNING: If you intend to read this as a part of the Scarpetta series and haven't read the previous three books, you might not want to read this review.

Chief Medical Examiner Kay Scarpetta's duties include autopsies of inmates executed by the state of Virginia. Her latest proves to be a little unusual. Then, when other people connected to the case start dying and the fingerprint of the executed man shows up at the scene, Kay's office is called into question. She's trying to solve several murders
Cornwell, Patricia - 4th in series

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 hysteric
May 03, 2015 Simone rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is another novel true to form for Kay Scarpetta. I found the manner of the initial incident very interesting, it worked to set into motion a set of possibilities that didn't seem possible at first, but tied together in a very nice pattern.

In fact, my main critique for the novel is not the plot, or the science involved, it is actually Kay's relationship with her niece Lucy, and moreover, the niece herself. Lucy is meant to be an early teen at this point, I'm not sure exactly what age, I prob
Sep 11, 2011 Elle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 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
May 31, 2016 Ed rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
#4 in the Kay Scarpetta series. 1993 Gold Dagger Award.

Kay Scarpetta 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 yea
It may not be Silence of the Lambs or Gorky Park, but still Cruel and Unusual has pretty much everything you could possibly want from a forensic science thriller--minus a really solid ending. This is probably the best Cornwell book I've read so far. She does a great job of allowing her main character, Kay Scarpetta, to do some old-school detective work, and, thankfully, not all the elements of the mystery are solved within the confines of a laboratory. Like in most great detective stories, Scarp ...more
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USA Geography Cha...: Cruel & Unusual by Patricia Cornwell 1 2 Dec 29, 2014 09:51PM  
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  • J is for Judgment (Kinsey Millhone, #10)
  • Fatal Voyage (Temperance Brennan, #4)
  • Silent Partner (Alex Delaware, #4)
  • Winter Prey (Lucas Davenport, #5)
  • The Coffin Dancer (Lincoln Rhyme, #2)
  • Bones of Betrayal (Body Farm #4)
  • The Third Victim (Quincy & Rainie, #2)
  • Body Double (Rizzoli & Isles, #4)
  • Ashes to Ashes (Kovac and Liska, #1)
  • Blood Shot (V.I. Warshawski, #5)
Patricia Cornwell sold her first novel, Postmortem, in 1990 while working as a computer analyst at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Richmond, Virginia. Postmortem, was the first bona fide forensic thriller. It paved the way for an explosion of entertainment featuring in all things forensic across film, television and literature.

Postmortem would go on to win the Edgar, Creasey, Anthony,
More about Patricia Cornwell...

Other Books in the Series

Kay Scarpetta (1 - 10 of 24 books)
  • Postmortem (Kay Scarpetta, #1)
  • Body of Evidence (Kay Scarpetta, #2)
  • All That Remains (Kay Scarpetta, #3)
  • The Body Farm (Kay Scarpetta, #5)
  • From Potter's Field (Kay Scarpetta, #6)
  • Cause of Death (Kay Scarpetta, #7)
  • Unnatural Exposure (Kay Scarpetta, #8)
  • Point of Origin (Kay Scarpetta, #9)
  • Black Notice (Kay Scarpetta, #10)
  • The Last Precinct (Kay Scarpetta, #11)

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