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At Risk (Winston Garano #1)

3.40  ·  Rating Details  ·  9,592 Ratings  ·  590 Reviews
A Massachusetts state investigator is called home from Knoxville, Tennessee, where he is completing a course at the National Forensic Academy. His boss, the district attorney, attractive but hard-charging, is planning to run for governor, and as a showcase she's planning to use a new crime initiative called At Risk; its motto: "Any crime, any time." In particular, she's be ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 289 pages
Published April 3rd 2007 by Berkley Books (first published 2006)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Aug 18, 2007 Alcy_girl rated it did not like it
This wasn't a book in the Scarpetta series, and I had been finding those getting worse with each new novel, so I thought that something fresh may be better to read.
Nope! I honestly don't like her writing anymore. I don't know if it is the writing that has changed or whether it is me that is changing. I do know that my reading has been a lot broader now than when I first started reading PC, so maybe that is it.

In At Risk, I struggled to follow the plot line. I was confused a lot, and felt that I
Oct 22, 2007 Jessica rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people I don't like
Crap. First of all, it uses the rather unprofessional format of present tense grammar. I'm supposing the author intended this to give the story a sense of immediacy and urgency; it just made it sound like it was being related by a Valley-Girl.
The story plodded, large sections of what I would have considered important action are skipped over, scenes jump around with no sense or reason, and it was just plain not exciting.

Reminder: Just because something gets on the Best Seller's list does not mean
Mar 16, 2009 Mark rated it it was ok
At one time, her Kay Scarpetta books were some of the best mystery/thriller fiction around... and then they grew dark & nasty & mean - and I stopped reading them.

Since the "At Risk" series meant a new set of characters and a possible fresh start, I gave both of the books a try this weekend. I'm sad to report that the books read like TV pilot proposals: the sexy ice queen prosecutor with political ambitions who bosses around the good-looking African-American detective hero. The hero has r
Oct 22, 2008 Juliet rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: Not even my worst enemy
Shelves: 2008
Terrible all around! Whatever happened to Cornwell's writing and why did it get this bad? I remember reading her Scarpetta novels 7-8 years ago and they were captivating and well written. This book is just utter garbage, seriously folks don't waste your time. I actually thought that for a few chapters there, I was reading some of James Patterson's work - the flimsy characters and the short chapters with a shock factor at the end.
Charlotte (Buried in Books)
Dec 29, 2015 Charlotte (Buried in Books) rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
I don't understand what the point of this book was. I really didn't like the style of writing. It felt like the outline of a TV show or movie with sentences half constructed. It couldn't seem to make up it's mind which story it was telling, which was a shame because it held promise. But in the end the cold case wasn't much of a case (especially as the man supposed to be investigating it palmed it off onto a colleague). The DA was awful - in fact most of the characters were awful, apart from Win' ...more
Oct 15, 2009 Kimmay rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Meh. I listened to the audio version of this book. I actually have the book but never got around to reading it, i saw the audio version in the library and needed something to pass the time while driving so i grabbed it, thinking... Cool, i will finally get to see what that book is about.
Well... Meh. It was mediocre at best. if I had read it rather than listened to it I might even be more harsh in reviewing this, sorry Patricia Cornwell, but it just wasn't that good of a storyline, in was dry and
Sharon T.
Apr 17, 2014 Sharon T. rated it it was ok
Nope. Don't even go there. The main character is OK, but you don't really care about anyone else. And I kept thinking that it read like a long short story (?) Then I discovered a comment on the jacket that I had missed before saying that it was originally a 15-part series in the New Yorker magazine. Her other stuff is much better.
Feb 29, 2016 Christine rated it did not like it
This book did not feel like a Patricia Cornwell novel. I've read lots of her Scarpetta series and have always enjoyed the story. The main character, Winston Garano, is intriguing but what was happening around him either was confusing or I just didn't care about. I felt like I was missing parts of the story.
Lette le prime cinquanta pagine in inglese e abbandonato.
Ripreso dopo un anno in italiano.
La lettura è proceduta così molto più velocemente, ma non mi ha lasciato nulla.
Sicuramente in inglese mi avrebbe fornito, almeno, l'esercizio in lingua.
From IMDb:
A district attorney wants to further her political dreams by solving an old murder.

Quite interesting but a not so appealing book. I am not so sure I'll put some effort to read this new series by Patricia Cornwell.
Jun 11, 2008 Lbd rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery-thriller
Granted, it's not a Kay Scarpetta novel. but I really felt cheated reading this book. It was short on plot, short on character development, double spaced and just not up to Cornwell's talent.
Feb 01, 2014 John rated it liked it
All the 1-star reviews notwithstanding, I thought AT RISK was pretty darn good. Not classic Cornwell, but a perfectly decent effort nonetheless. It feels very different from her early work: punchier and more sparsely written, but lacking in immersive detail. Also, the main character seems flat compared to Scarpetta. The story is good--albeit rather contrived in some places, especially when the hero has to rely on fortune-telling to dig up clues. It's a quick read and very hard-boiled in tone, cl ...more
Neil Collins
Jul 09, 2009 Neil Collins rated it did not like it
Patricia Cornwell was once one of my favorite authors, and I took any opportunity to purchase her books wherever I found them, certain that I would read them all, in order, over time. Sadly, she is no longer writing anywhere near the level she once had, and this is the last of her books I will ever purchase or read. In fact, I read it only because it was already on my shelf, and I hated to think I spent the money and never opened it.

At Risk is the first in Cornwell’s Winston Garano series (there
Nov 23, 2012 Karen added it
One of my worst reads EVER! The story line is stupid. The background mystery is stupid. The foreground plot is stupid. Horribly written. It was a total waste of time.

Here is my review of the #2 book, it is the same.

I read the first Garano book "At Risk" and was thoroughly disappointed, but I bought both the books online together, and I did like the character Winston Garano and thought surely she would flesh him out a little more in the second book. Unless you like reading extremely skeletal outl
Oct 02, 2008 Mum rated it did not like it
I have always enjoyed Cornwell's books. Well, that is not strictly true. In that a few years, her writing style changed. Not for the better, I think. I am not sure which novel heralded the difference. It might have been "Precinct". However, this book is so lightweight it gives the impression that it was written in peevish haste, ie she had signed a contract and the publisher was pressurising her for a product. It feels as though it is only partially written like a skeleton of the story but it do ...more
Mar 28, 2011 Penandra rated it did not like it
"....a brand-new Cornwell thriller, a book filled with all the chilling suspense, rich characters, and trademark forensics that have made her an international phenomenon. But what she does with those ingredients is a revelation."

I was unable to find any chilling suspense, rich characters or much of ANY forensics in this book. How can an author that was at one time so good at her craft create characters that the reader just does not care about?

After the last Kay Scarpetta novel, I had sworn off C
May 02, 2010 Maddy rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2006-reads
PROTAGONIST: Winston Garano, Massachusetts State Police investigator
SERIES: Standalone - originally written as a 15-part series for The New York Times Magazine
RATING: 2.25

Back in 1990, Patricia Cornwell took the mystery reading world by storm with the publication of Postmortem. That book was groundbreaking in that its lead character, Dr. Kay Scarpetta, was a medical examiner and there was a heavy focus on forensics. The detailed forensic analyses obviously appealed to the reading public; Cornwel
Doug Clark
Nov 06, 2012 Doug Clark rated it did not like it
Patricia Cornwell’s most recent paperback, At Risk, is probably a cautionary title suitable for the reader. Cornwell, who is best known for her award-winning series on the forensic scientist, Dr. Kay Scarpetta, offers a mystery involving a 20-year old murder in Tennessee and the assault of a Massachusetts’ DA, Monique Lamont. Investigating both crimes is Boston detective, Winston Garano. I am leery of saying more as I don’t want to raise any reader’s hopes that this is a good mystery.

I wish I c
Nov 12, 2008 Wendy rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, mystery, 2008
Picked this one up off the "library" shelf at the office, to take on holiday with me. Will abandon it where I finish it, in all likelihood.


Okay, I've read it now. And meh. We got off to a bad start together with the narrative written in present tense irritating me. I got over that, and was initially intrigued by the protagonist and his situation, and the premise of using new technology to solve an old case. But then the storyline diverged, and the protagonist was in one city working a new,
Jun 17, 2008 Rose added it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2008
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 03, 2008 Steve rated it did not like it
It's not often that a serial author gets to introduce a new character to her fanbase, so I had high hopes when I picked up this book. Unfortunately, much like the Andy Brazil series, Patricia Cornwell fires off a panoply of shallow, one-dimensional characters with seemingly little motivation in the actions they take.

The worst offense of this book, however, isn't the character development - it's the lack of an actual story. We're expected to believe that two detectives in different states with di
Dec 05, 2009 Jeane rated it really liked it
The first book of the new Patricia Cornwell serie gives mixed feelings. The new character Win, is interesting and well described but after years of Scarpetta, also very very diferent. Not the familiar Kay anymore to lead you through te story.

So thinking as a story on its own I think she did very well. Win gets the task to solve an old murder mystery. His first thoughts seem to be correct, it isn't a simple PR task, there is more behind. When politics get into it, it becomes even more complicated
Aug 25, 2012 Andrew rated it liked it
Well so begins my introduction to Patricia Cornwell - I will admit I am not sure if there is a "starting point" in her work or even if this is part of a larger series - I should really do some research but as a randomly picked book to try I did enjoy this - I did feel in places, especially the start that I was watching a story unfold I was not necessarily invited to watch - and that I was in fact as a result only seeing snippets of what was really going on. However as confusing as it felt at tim ...more
Mar 31, 2010 Kathleen rated it did not like it
I LOVE the Kay Scarpetta Novels so when I saw this book on the Bargain shelf at BN I thought o0o0o Let's Try it!! I should have left it. :(
It was difficult to read. I never felt the characters were fully established, the pictures in my head kept changing the more I read and I never felt the connection I normally get with the main characters. Honestly, I couldn’t care less what happens to any of these people... well, maybe Miss Dog.
When I finished the book, it felt incomplete. Like this really
Katie Robinson
Mar 19, 2015 Katie Robinson rated it it was ok
If I didn't know Cornwell wrote this book, I would have never guessed that she was the author. It didn't seem like her kind of writing at all, I've read the two books in this series and I still hate every single character. Well, except Garanos nana, but that's it.
Valerie Penny
Apr 14, 2015 Valerie Penny rated it liked it
I really enjoyed this Patricia Cornwell book, At Risk. Although it is a lot shorter than many of her books and her famous character, Dr Kay Scarpetta does not appear. Nevertheless, “At Risk” is another of the author’s successes, although its brevity will disappoint some.

The book is based on a story of the same name serialised in The New York Times: Cornwell introduces a new central character in this book. She has a charismatic male police investigator at the centre of the narrative. The story ta
Oct 13, 2014 Jan rated it liked it
Second read, must have brought it years ago.

Story line. State Investigator with a very bossy female boss, who happens to be the District Attorney is going to run for governor. She needs a case that makes her look good, therefor she pushes the Investigator to another state to open up a old case. His friends are not his friends, and murder is afoot, double dealings all around. Files go missing and lies are told.

Fast read, but not as good as the Scarpetta series,(in my opinion)
Dec 21, 2009 Jim rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-thriller
This book is a compilation of a serial story written for the New York Times Magazine....and it shows. I felt like I was reading that first draft. In these days of ghost written franchises (Robert Ludlum, Lawrence Saunders) At Risk doesn't read quite like a Cornwell work; I found myself re-reading sentences that didn't make sense the first time through. Makes me wonder.
Well. I cannot believe I listened to it all.

I don't know if it was just badly written, or if the narration was bad. But sometimes I had no idea who was talking. And the narrator had two options for any of the non main characters, white trash southern (even though these people were in Massachusetts) and.... one other that I can't remember at the moment. But they were seriously only those voices.

I had no idea what was going on in the story for 90% of the book, even the last few minutes I just real
Peggy Walker
Feb 04, 2013 Peggy Walker rated it did not like it
I that this book was a major disappointment. Patricia Cornwell has certainly written much better books in the past. Everything felt very unfinished. It felt like this might have been a few chapters of another book and was discarded....and now published later. Don't bother.
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  • The Complete Patricia Cornwell Companion
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  • The Conspiracy Club
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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

Winston Garano (2 books)
  • The Front (Winston Garano, #2)

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