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Insolito e crudele (Kay Scarpetta #4)

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4.12  ·  Rating details ·  90,798 Ratings  ·  793 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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James
Jan 07, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Review
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
...more
Tea Jovanović
May 06, 2013 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... :)
Meags
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
...more
Sarah
Aug 18, 2012 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
Rob
Apr 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: serial-thrillers
Number four in the Dr. Scarpetta series and for me the best to date.
I found this book to be a bit more of an on the edge of your seat type thriller that the other three.
I found the whole premise of the book intriguing. A death row prisoner is executed and the Dr. Scarpetta is called on to do the autopsy. Everything seems to be straight forward until fingerprints start turning up at the scene of recent murders that belong to the executed prisoner.
When the police investigate they find a lot of mis
...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
Jenn
Apr 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Scarpetta reminds me somewhat of Bones. But s more likable version. A little more human. I enjoyed this and the relationships she has was everyone, including her niece Lucy.
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
...more
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
Matt
Dec 20, 2012 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 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
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
Shawn Byrnes
Jul 08, 2009 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
Donna
Jan 19, 2015 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
Ellen
May 08, 2016 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.
Brent Soderstrum
Jul 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is book #4 of Cornwell's Kay Scarpetta series. A pattern seems to be in place with these books. Great intense story with a murder being unexplained with all of it coming rushing together at the end leaving me a little disappointed with the ending. Great read that led me to expect a great ending. Instead I am left shrugging me shoulders. Still a good read...just not a great one.

Kay is set to do her examination of Ronnie Joe Waddell who was a death row prisoner who was killed with the electri
...more
Mark Harrison
Mar 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Blood, death, politics, intrigue, red herrings and lots of bodies. Excellent Scarpetta novel - really, really like this series and this was a great read.
Lindsay Foster
Jan 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Emily
May 31, 2012 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
J
Jun 15, 2012 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
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
Katherine Coble
I read this when it was first released in the mid 1990s. I was in my twenties and I really enjoyed the mystery and the details. Back then I considered it a five-star book.

Revisiting this in my late forties has been an interesting experience. The current me would give this 2.5 stars.

The forensic details regarding trace evidence are tired, now, after decades of CSI:Everywhere and Law & Order:SVU. The UNIX details were like reading about the early days of telephony, woefully out of date.

But
...more
Sarah Campbell
Oct 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2017
Dr Kay Scarpetta is an interesting but very private woman. She’s not emotional but logical. Sometimes it’s hard to understand her even when it’s written in first person. I don’t even know her age. This book had a lot of information on computer systems that left me quite confused but other than that the story was good. I didn’t see how the murders linked it and the defence going after Scarpetta was an interesting turn.
There also felt like a Book should have been in between this and the last book
...more
Susan Molloy
I read this in college for an English class, and I didn’t like it as much as I expected I would. It dragged and was too gruesome in parts. When I find my notes, I’ll write a full review.

Or, I’ll re-read it and see if I like it better than I did then. 🤷♀
...more
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USA Geography Cha...: Cruel & Unusual by Patricia Cornwell 1 2 Dec 29, 2014 09:51PM  
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11,069 followers
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 25 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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“being in love brings out both the best and the worst in us. One day we’re generous and sensitive to a fault, and the next we’re not fit to shoot. Our lives become lessons in extremes.” 3 likes
“It is disheartening when a thinking person is forced to admit that many clichés are true. There is no justice on this earth.” 2 likes
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