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Insolito e crudele (Kay Scarpetta #4)

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4.10  ·  Rating Details  ·  81,019 Ratings  ·  581 Reviews
Mentre Ronnie Joe Waddell sta per salire sulla sedia elettrica, la dottoressa Kay Scarpetta, capo dell'ufficio di medicina legale della Virginia, 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 c ...more
Paperback, Oscar Bestsellers #744, 341 pages
Published January 1st 1996 by A. 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)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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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... :)
Sarah
Mar 26, 2016 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
SPOILERS!!!!!

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
...more
Tara
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
Matt
Dec 12, 2013 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
Charlynn
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
Maurean
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
Daniel
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
...more
Ellen
May 11, 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.
Donna
Jan 28, 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.
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
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
Andy
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
...more
J
Jun 15, 2012 J rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
BEWARE. I DON'T HIDE, OR FEED, MY REVIEWS WHETHER THEY HAVE SPOILERS OR NOT. I JOURNAL FOR MYSELF, NOT YOU.

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
...more
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
Ed
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
...more
Simone
May 05, 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
...more
Lani
Oct 14, 2013 Lani rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
(spoilers)

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
...more
Emily
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
...more
Elle
Feb 02, 2012 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
...more
Lindsay Foster
Jan 20, 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.
LJ
CRUEL AND UNUSUAL - VG
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
...more
John
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
Gina Rheault
Apparently unrelated crimes, including an execution that doesn't really happen, converge on the Virginia medical examiners office, and lead to strange places, meanwhile plunging the heroine into a public relations debacle of false accusation. I loved the smart women leads: medical examiner Kay, and niece Lucy. Characters are good, but not great, and the writing is okay, but not great, the technical detail delivered tediously, and the pre-denouement seems artless: this happens then that happens, ...more
Beth
Feb 15, 2012 Beth rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
Thanks Meghan for letting me borrow this book and recommending the Kay Scarpetta series to me! I definitely enjoy Patricia Cornwell's writing and evolution of the mystery. This wasn't my favorite of her books - I just felt that there was a lot of computer talk about systems that are irrelevant and unrelatable to regular life and it was hard to follow. One of the things I love about Cornwell is it is difficult to figure out who did it, but sometimes it's so random, you question how you arrived at ...more
Edward Beavers
Oct 09, 2014 Edward Beavers rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cruel and very unusual.

I don't know what I was expecting when I began reading this book but, I was expecting about 1/2 way through to learn the convict was not who they thought he was. Msg. Cromwell continues a great ability with. the story and her characters..
Nicol
Mar 26, 2012 Nicol rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
This is the beginning of a good mystery and hunt, and in this book I was wondering who was dead or alive, who killed who,an who was released or still in prison and generally what the hell was going on, which makes a perfect page turner. But I think the real shocker about this book is that Cornwell just kills off a character in between books and just causally mentions it at the beginning - again making you feel like you must have missed a book somewhere and I am not sure why she did this! If she ...more
Kim
Dec 02, 2010 Kim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This has been my favorite so far! Loved this one all the way through....she (Patricia Cornwell) can get a bit too "clinical" for me sometimes...but I forgive her. The only other thing that bugs me...is all the drinking they do...do real people really drink that much? Since I don't drink, well, I drink water and soda and juice, but you know, since I don't drink alcoholic beverages I just wonder if all the drinking they do is "normal".... anyone? I'm looking forward to the next one....I'm LOVING t ...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
Melissa
Nov 12, 2015 Melissa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
I was intrigued with this book. It showed how corruption in our govt can really happen. Started out a kid got murdered and a prisoners fingerprints was found at the scene. The thing is this prisoner was suppose to have been executed by the electric chair. Kay's assistant Susan is found murdered and Kay gets the blame. Turns out Susan is in on trying to make it look like the prisoner was not dead. someone went to great links into covering a lot of things up.

My opinion of this book is it kept me g
...more
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1025097
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
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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