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Predator (Kay Scarpetta #14)

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3.63 of 5 stars 3.63  ·  rating details  ·  18,462 ratings  ·  666 reviews
Scarpetta, now freelancing with the National Forensic Academy in Florida, digs into a case more bizarre than any she has ever faced, one that has produced not only unusual physical evidence, but also tantalizing clues about the inner workings of an extremely cunning and criminal mind.

She and her team --- Pete Marino, Benton Wesley, and her niece, Lucy --- track the odd con
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Paperback, 453 pages
Published September 26th 2006 by Berkley (first published 2005)
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Best Books of the Decade: 2000s
468th out of 4,890 books — 23,537 voters
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12th out of 20 books — 38 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Erin
I've read every single one of Cornwell's K. Scarpetta series, and they've gotten progressively worse. I used to love these books, they were so GOOD, but now it's like she's just writing anything to get another book out there. Sad, b/c these really were some of my favorites back when she first started writing them. I don't even know if I can bear to read another one, the characters have gotten so bitter and unpleasant.
Terri
Okay - this was the worst Scarpetta book. I wanted to like it but it seems all the characters have become annoying caricatures. And in addition to that, the story was incredibly confusing. We have an evil criminal called HOG - The Hand of God, suicides that were actually murders, a scientific study Benton is running on the brains of serial killers, problems at the forensic center in FL.... Which is tied up in the end, but not in a satisfying way.

And my biggest gripe = Scarpetta is attacked (not
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Sharon
*******SPOILERS AHEAD******


I was horrendously disappointed with this book, though not for obvious reasons. I found the author a very competent one - and if that sounds like an underhanded insult, I don't mean it that way. She's a fine author, and the majority of her characters have subtleties and nuance, especially the older ones, who I became attached to almost instantly.

The problem was the specific story was horrendous. It was a mash-up of every bad crime novel I've ever read, and even the int
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Jane
Feb 17, 2010 Jane rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: no one
I used to love the Kay Scarpetta series! In an attempt to revisit an old friend I picked up Predator. I was sad to see my "old friends" had been replaced by a poor resemblance of themselves. I hardly recognized the characters as the story was told in a confusing third party narrative making the people dark, depressing and very impersonal. The constant shift in storyline was difficult to follow. I'm only half-way through the book and I can honestly say I'm not sure what the story line is! For the ...more
Bev
I've been a Cornwell fan since I read her first book. I've had some complaints about her recent books ("Blow Fly" was probably the worst). This is getting back to her roots, but still the magic of her earlier books isn't there. I hate what she has done with the character of Marino. In earlier works, I kind of pictured Marino as an Ed Asner type, but now he's buff and bald and riding motorcycles and I've lost my picture of him. I also loved the working relationship they had, and now it seems non- ...more
Roderick Hart
Although well into the series of books featuring Dr Kay Scarpetta, this one is genuinely stand-alone, so if the reader has read none of the previous titles there will not be a problem. (This is not the case with all of them. For example, the Last Precinct takes up where a previous title finished and having read the previous book helps a lot).

Continuing the comparison with The Last Precinct, Predator moves much more rapidly and contains several narrative strands woven together with uncommon skill
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Liz
It's difficult for me to even grasp what a mess this book was. Some things were so incredibly obvious to the reader (or at least, to this reader) that they could be discerned 200 pages before the characters realized them, and yet other things that readers were curious about for the entire book were never even revealed at all. Plot threads were dropped at random and not picked up again for 100 or 200 pages, and other threads were just dropped altogether for no apparent reason. Personally, I start ...more
Amy
For many years I was a HUGE fan of Patricia Cornwell. And then by the time I read Blow Fly, I found myself increasingly disturbed and disgusted with her books and the self-wallowing of her characters. Gone was the brilliancy and left was the bizarre. I often wondered what was happening in Cornwell's own life and if she was putting her own issues into the emotional and pyschological pitfalls of her characters. I couldn't imagine that she would choose to make them become so unlikeable. Gone were t ...more
Robin Ripley
Remember when you could actually read and enjoy the Kay Scarpetta books from Patricia Cornwell?

Back when the series started, Kay was human, had a sense of humor, enjoyed cooking, did things normal people do. As the series has gone on, it has gotten darker, weirder (not a word, I know), more ominous, just...horrid.

The characters have degenerated into caricatures of their worst selves. The world has become sinister and evil. Honestly, there isn't anything enjoyable about reading these books. Who
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Jennifer
The Scarpetta books, once so wonderful, have been steadily declining in quality and excitement. I could hardly stay awake.
Kelly
This is the second Scarpetta book I've read, and while there were some interesting aspects to it - especially a multi-city, multi-character weaving of the narrative together - I found the characters to be colder than I was expecting, and more remote. Part of this certainly stems from reading the books out of order, and thus missing what I presume is a natural character development path - but in general, characters should be somewhat likable, or compelling, if I'm going to continue picking up a s ...more
Hali Sowle
I was totally unprepared for how terrible this book was. It seems that Patricia Cornwell took everything she had written in the past book and books and thrown it away. The venue for this book is Charleston, Kay moves around more than a military family! Where, as usual it seems she's unwanted. The first thing that gets me is Lucy, sitting a bar getting drunk and picking up, or getting picked up, by a beautiful woman. Whoa... this is the same Lucy who gave up drinking in the last novel because she ...more
Kellie
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
LA Carlson
Nov 03, 2013 LA Carlson rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommended to LA by: reading the entire series
Shelves: fiction
Even the revised introductions by the author and her acknowledgements to specific physicians/scientists ;including her lover/partner can't seem to help this series; number 14 is as disjointed and disappointing as ever. A fine psychological thriller about serial killers it is not. How established places like the New York Times are giving this any attention is beyond comprehension. The main characters have gone off the deep end and realistically did not follow the pattern established in the earlie ...more
J
BEWARE. I DON'T HIDE MY REVIEWS EVEN IF THEY HAVE SPOILERS. BUT I DON'T PUT THEM ON A FEED, EITHER. I INCLUDE SPOILERS TO HELP ME REMEMBER THE PLOT, SO I DON'T RE-READ A BOOK (From the title alone, I often can't recall if I've read the book.)

I have to say I did not read this novel as closely as I do most Cornwell titles. Sort of chicken or the egg ... I can't tell whether I was indifferent to it because I didn't pay enough attention, or I failed to pay as much attention as usual because the book
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Jim
I finally finished "Predator" by Patricia Cornwall today and gosh darn if that wasn't a hard book to finish.

It's about Kay Scarpetta (a former Virginia pathologist) and her merry band of sidekicks (an FBI officer, a brainiac computer nerd niece, and a former cop) and it just about irritated me as much as a book can.

Cornwall has a tendency to pitch Sarpetta against the world and make the chaos in her life an element of the story. In addition, there always seems to be someone trying to do her down
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Amanda Davies
Not very interesting. These books are popular, so I thought I'd give them a try, but from the looks of the other reviews I chose the wrong book to start on. Hopefully the others in this series are better, but I must admit that I don't think I'm likely to give them a try. There just wasn't really anything in this that I liked.

Don't get me wrong, it wasn't the worst book I've ever read. The plot was decent, the twists were all right, and it was interesting enough that I finished it (though that do
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Michele
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Matt
Scarpetta returns in another explosive novel with a new life, new job, but same old passions. While working on a secret, scientific study into the minds of serial murders, Scarpetta is pushed into the middle of an abduction case with potential dire consequences. While working with Marino, her colleague at the National Forensic Center, they begin to dig deeper into a case and a mysterious 'HOG' calling in tips. With Lucy's help, Scarpetta soon discovers the case is closer to home than she thinks ...more
Maria Cox
I really enjoy the Kay Scarpetta series. Back when I began reading Kay was a relatable character, enjoyed cooking, and doing things normal people do, but as the series progressed her character appears to have gotten darker and so have the supporting characters. Evil lurks at every turn for Kay.

I’m somewhat annoyed at the conflicting personalities of the supporting characters too: Lucy and Marino. Why is Marino even describing Lucy’s physical appearance, like “She’s really pretty. Got nice breas
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Wilfred
I have read some other Patricia Cornwell books and did not remember them being this bad.
First the writing style was awkward for me. The omniscient point of view was not enjoyable.

Second she tried to hard to create mystery and suspense. "Look I found something?"
"What is it?"
"Let's have a talk about our relationship first and I will tell you what I found."
"BLAH, BLAH, BLAH. Oh yeah that thing I found, I don't know what it means. Hopefully I will figure it out at the end of the book."

Lastly, th
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Marva
I'll never pick up another Cornwell book. I read the whole damn thing waiting for something to happen or a likeable protagonist or ??? Well, anything to make this the best seller that it is.

Nada, nil, nyet, nothing. Stupid to the nth degree.

Now, I love mysteries, which is why I picked up this book. Huge disappointment. Scarpetta (the preseumed MC) doesn't factor in much. She's not very likable anyway, so I didn't care. Who else? That insecure motorcyle guy (I already forget his Italian name)? Wh
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Becca
May 17, 2009 Becca rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommended to Becca by: Sam
Shelves: mystery
Credit where credit is due: I hate books written in the present tense AND I went into this book expecting a forensic mystery.

That being said, the pacing was terrible, the book was so overstuffed that at one point, in the middle of discussing a crime scene we get step by step details of the main character cooking a risotto and the most minute of characters (characters who were mentioned on less than two pages) were given names and personalities. The ending was the most trite thing imaginable and
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Michelle
Another book on tape that makes me feel like I'm cheating by not actuallt reading. But honestly I'm not sure if I could actually read a Cornwell book.
Cornwell has a great talent for creating seemingly independant story lines that eventually knit together in a natural and uncontrived way.
This story floats back and forth between Boston and Florida. I learned more about Morino this time and also about Lucy. We're still not given a lot of detail about Scarpetta and wesley's relationship but then ma
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Sham
The reason why people fell in love with the Scarpetta series was the science and the solving of shocking homicides through the use of analysis and technology. Same premise as CSI. The characters are terrible, CONSTANTLY being unfairly treated by every external figure (press, colleagues, government, etc.) that the interactions are frustrating and annoying. 300 pages and unbelievably fantastical situations for a series that is supposed to be grounded in fact. I was genuine annoyed when the wrap up ...more
Lain
This book was like half a book -- something Cornwell sat down and spewed out over a long weekend or so. In general, authors would then go back and edit their work, but it appears in this case that her half-baked manuscript somehow made it past all the editorial gatekeepers, straight to hard copy.

I hate how everyone in Scarpetta's life is so dysfunctional, grumpy, and repetitive. And I hate how Cornwell left us hanging with so many unanswered questions and incomplete plot points (what the heck h
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Denise Clark
For some reason, it took me longer to get through this book than usual. I am not sure if it was my life schedule interfering with my reading or if I just wasn't as into this book as I was the others. I think it was a combination of both. While it was good, I thought it was also a bit confusing -- probably because I went days between readings and I would forget things.

I felt the characters are not as deep as I would like them to be. . . there doesn't seem to be time to really bring the character
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Alesia
I would have liked to have given this book three stars but the writing at the end was very disjointed. I thought the premise was more interesting than in the previous book Trace but there were some odd jumps between passages at the end especially between chapters 63 and 64. The last chapter seemed to just plop in out of nowhere like Cornwell decided to just hurry up and get the book over with. Also, I think Lucy's illness and Scarpetta's reaction to it and to Wesley's involvement was way over dr ...more
Simon
This is huge for me. I have been reading my way through the Scarpettas, and I have finally bumped into one that was a genuinely decent mystery with a plot that made sense!

That being said, does anyone else get the feeling that Cornwell is working through her own issues with her characters? I mention this only because my chief complaint with her depictions of Kay, Lucy, Benton and above all, oh my God above all Marino is that she treats the reader as though their actions and reactions make sense
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Hazel
I read her earlier books and they were interesting and fluid. This one was a drag I literally had to force myself to finish it. I couldn't connect with the characters. ( When I read the earlier books I was introduced to the characters and then was able to connect with them) She should have done that this time as well. Overall the plot was automatic and just jumbled. This book was a bore and a waste if time.
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The Women's Myste...: #14 Predator 1 4 Aug 09, 2013 10:43PM  
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Patricia Cornwell sold her first novel, Postmortem, while working as a computer analyst at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Richmond, Virginia. At her first signing, held during a lunch break from the morgue, Patricia sold no copies of Postmortem and fielded exactly one question – an elderly woman asked her where she could find the cookbooks.

Postmortem would go on to win the Edgar, Cre
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More about Patricia Cornwell...
Postmortem (Kay Scarpetta, #1) Cruel & Unusual (Kay Scarpetta, #4) The Body Farm (Kay Scarpetta, #5) Body of Evidence (Kay Scarpetta, #2) Point of Origin (Kay Scarpetta, #9)

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