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Predator (Kay Scarpetta Mysteries) Hardcover – Bargain Price, October 25, 2005


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Product Details

  • Series: Kay Scarpetta Mysteries
  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Putnam Adult (October 25, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399152830
  • ASIN: B000F5ZH3K
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.7 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 1.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (497 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #778,537 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

It's not often a crime novel offers such a smorgasbord of oddball elements, including autopsy advice, methods of combating tree blight, the use of spiders in sadomasochist torture and couples covering the sexual and psychological waterfronts. There's even a little nasty fun at the expense of television psychoanalysts. With geographic locations switching slightly faster than the speed of sound, it's to Reading's credit that she smoothes out the ultra rumpled excesses of Cornwell's mind-boggling plot and takes full advantage of the yarn's narrator-friendly present tense. Having given voice to several earlier books in the series, she's got the main characters down cold. Her Dr. Kay Scarpetta is all snarky professional reserve and personal insecurity. Self-loathing lesbian niece Lucy, sounds properly troublesome and troubled, with an added catch in the throat due to a secret she's keeping. Pete Marino, the bullet-headed, gym rat security chief of the Lucy-originated National Forensic Academy, sounds so gruff and aggressive, he should be kept on a chain leash. And Scarpetta's inamorato, Benton Wesley, whose study of mass murderers' brain patterns gives the novel its title, is, as his name suggests, the very model of a dry, annoyingly passive-aggressive personality. The joke here-intended or not-is that the novel's protagonists are almost as mentally or emotionally disturbed as its homicidal villains. Cornwell seems to have grown weary of the lot of them. But there's still a flicker of life left and Reading has the skill to make the most of it.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

'When she is this good, she is hard to beat.' New Statesman 'Forget the pretenders. Cornwell reigns.' Mirror --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

More About the Author

Patricia Cornwell was born on June 9, 1956, in Miami, Florida, and grew up in Montreat, North Carolina.

Following graduation from Davidson College in 1979, she began working at the Charlotte Observer, rapidly advancing from listing television programs to writing feature articles to covering the police beat. She won an investigative reporting award from the North Carolina Press Association for a series of articles on prostitution and crime in downtown Charlotte.

Her award-winning biography of Ruth Bell Graham, A Time for Remembering, was published in 1983. From 1984 to 1990, she worked as a technical writer and a computer analyst at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Richmond, Virginia.

Cornwell's first crime novel, Postmortem, was published by Scribner's in 1990. Initially rejected by seven major publishing houses, it became the first novel to win the Edgar, Creasey, Anthony, and Macavity Awards as well as the French Prix du Roman d'Aventure in a single year. In Postmortem, Cornwell introduced Dr. Kay Scarpetta as the intrepid Chief Medical Examiner of the Commonwealth of Virginia. In 1999, Dr. Scarpetta herself won the Sherlock Award for best detective created by an American author.

Following the success of her first novel, Cornwell has written a series of bestsellers featuring Kay Scarpetta, her detective sidekick Pete Marino and her brilliant and unpredictable niece, Lucy Farinelli, including: Body of Evidence (1991); All That Remains (1992); Cruel and Unusual (1993), which won Britain's prestigious Gold Dagger Award for the year's best crime novel; The Body Farm (1994); From Potter's Field (1995); Cause of Death (1996); Unnatural Exposure (1997); Point of Origin (1998); Black Notice (1999); The Last Precinct (2000); Blow Fly (2003); Trace (2004); Predator (2005); Book of the Dead (2007), which won the 2008 Galaxy British Book Awards' Books Direct Crime Thriller of the Year, making Cornwell the first American ever to win this award; Scarpetta (2008); The Scarpetta Factor (2009); Port Mortuary (2010); Red Mist (2011); The Bone Bed (2012); and Dust (2013). In 2011 Cornwell was awarded the Medal of Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters, one of France's most prestigious awards to honor those who have distinguished themselves in the domains of art or literature, or by their contribution to the development of culture in France and throughout the world.

In addition to the Scarpetta novels, she has written three best-selling books featuring Andy Brazil: Hornet's Nest (1996), Southern Cross (1998) and Isle of Dogs (2001); two cook books: Scarpetta's Winter Table (1998) and Food to Die For (2001); and a children's book: Life's Little Fable (1999). In 1997, Cornwell updated A Time for Remembering, which was reissued as Ruth, A Portrait: The Story of Ruth Bell Graham. Intrigued by Scotland Yard's John Grieve's observation that no one had ever tried to use modern forensic evidence to solve the murders committed by Jack the Ripper, Cornwell began her own investigation of the serial killer's crimes. In Portrait of a Killer: Jack the Ripper--Case Closed (2002), she narrates her discovery of compelling evidence to indict the famous artist Walter Sickert as the Ripper.

In January 2006, the New York Times Magazine began a 15-week serialization of At Risk, featuring Massachusetts State Police investigator Win Garano and his boss, district attorney Monique Lamont. Its sequel, The Front, was serialized in the London Times in the spring of 2008. Both novellas were subsequently published as books and promptly optioned for adaptation by Lifetime Television Network, starring Daniel Sunjata and Andie MacDowell. The films made their debut in April 2010.

In April 2009, Fox acquired the film rights to the Scarpetta novels, featuring Angelina Jolie as Dr. Kay Scarpetta. Cornwell herself wrote and co-produced the movie ATF for ABC.

Often interviewed on national television as a forensic consultant, Cornwell is a founder of the Virginia Institute of Forensic Science and Medicine, a founding member of the National Forensic Academy, a member of the Advisory Board for the Forensic Sciences Training Program at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, NYC, and a member of the Harvard-affiliated McLean Hospital's National Council, where she is an advocate for psychiatric research. She is also well known for her philanthropic contributions to animal rescue and criminal justice, as well as endowing college scholarships and promoting the cause of literacy on the national scene. Some of her projects include the establishment of an ICU at Cornell's Animal Hospital, the archaeological excavation of Jamestown and the scientific study of the Confederacy's submarine H.L. Hunley. Most recently, she donated a million dollars to Harvard's Fogg Museum to establish a chair in inorganic science.

Cornwell's books have been translated into 36 languages across more than 50 countries, and she is regarded as one of the major international best-selling authors. Her novels are praised for their meticulous research and an insistence on accuracy in every detail, especially in forensic medicine and police procedures. She is so committed to verisimilitude that, among other accomplishments, she became a helicopter pilot and a certified scuba diver, and qualified for a motorcycle license because she was writing about characters who were doing these things. "It is important to me to live in the world I write about," she often says. "If I want a character to do or know something, I want to do or know the same thing."

Visit the author's website at: www.patriciacornwell.com

Customer Reviews

The book didn't seem to have a plot, a poor beginning and an abrupt ending.
Marilyn J. Root
As a loyal Patricia Cornwell fan, I have been greatly disappointed in her last several novels; especially the Kay Scarpetta series.
TropicMD
The plot leaves many questions unanswered, but sadly, I don't really need them answered to leave this book behind.
Jennifer Lichtenfeld

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

501 of 521 people found the following review helpful By Marc Ruby™ HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on November 2, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I've been reading Patricia Cornwell's Scarpetta novels on and off for some time now. There was a time when these stories were innovative, and even groundbreaking in their introduction of the strong female lead into the serial killer, suspense genre. But something happened along the way. I don't know if Cornwell changed her story lines for her own reasons or due to bad advice, but rather than forensic suspense the stories turned into adventures in dysfunctional families. Scarpetta became a flaming codependent trying to mother Lucy, whose goal in life was staying in trouble. And Pete Marino, never the most likeable of characters became increasingly large, loud and obnoxious. To put it bluntly, the killers were often the most attractive characters in the stories.

Cornwell long ago fell off my 'buy in hardback' list. But when I picked up Predator the blurb sounded pretty good, and I decided to give Cornwell another try. The story finds Kay Scarpetta, Pete Marino, and a whole cast of crimestoppers working at the National Forensic Academy, the institute Lucy created so that she could work as a free agent. All isn't well at the Academy, strange events and thefts are interspersed with intense personality conflicts and mistrust until it is obvious that a crisis is brewing.

In the meantime a subtle series of deaths and disappearances come to light that seem to link Basil Jenrette, an imprisoned serial killer who has become the subject of Benton Wesley's research into the deviant mind, with killers down in Florida where the academy is. The connections surface painstakingly slowly after in depth forensic work. This is the formula which made Cornwell a success, and I hoped for a return to the Scarpetta of the early stories.

Unfortunately, that was not to be.
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259 of 281 people found the following review helpful By ellen VINE VOICE on October 30, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Any Cornwell work is better than some other books, but...

I have NEVER liked the way Marino has been handled in the entire series - now he is like a caricature- before he was street wise liasion to Scarpetta, then he blew up to a large smoking drinking person who had health problems, and now he is aloof big muscle bound biker guy who is at odds with Scarpetta and knows something funny is going on with the misinformation -

The series and this novel does not have the BITE it did - if you would reread the first books that made a wave in the thriller genre you will understand what I mean.

We've gone through a lot with the regulars of this series - they have not progressed in the way the folks who pay hardback prices would like. Not so sure I will pay hardback prices again for this series again. and that's sad.
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61 of 63 people found the following review helpful By LBC on May 7, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Do you long for the days when Scarpetta lived in a gorgeous house, which she designed and which was described in intimate detail to the reader? Do you miss imagining the smells of the fabulous meals she would prepare in her gourmet kitchen? Ever think back fondly to the time when Lucy was a totally kick ass cop, who just happened to be a lesbian but that was really a side story and not very important? And it was only mentioned when the story required an explanation of how she came to shoot her first lover? And she had normal love relationships like most people do, they just happened to be with women? And Benton was dashing and a workaholic like Scarpetta, and Marino was a salvagable sad sack but basically a good guy? And there could be animals that could walk through scenes and not be gratuitously tortured and killed just to show us that sociopaths pick animal victims as well as human victims?

Oh, yes. Yes I do.

You don't want to read her books if you miss that stuff. If, on the other hand, you like to see the world as a place where nobody can be trusted and people in power dream of necrophilia and everybody argues and makes bad choices in their lives and the descriptions of Italian food cooking are replaced by detailed accounts of the smells of bloated dead bodies, have I got a book for you...

It's just too much. I'm no stranger to the world that Scarpetta lives in. After 19 years in paramedicine I've seen alot of that stuff, but even I am sick of reading about it.

It's almost enough to make a person turn to Harlequin romances.

This book was more uneven than the others, with subplots that fizzled out and so much jumping from scene to scene that I lost track of who was who. Yuck.
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44 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Reviewer on June 6, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I remember loving the early Scarpetta books. Flanked by an array of interesting characters, she was definitely front and center in every story (as was proven by the fact that the books were written in the first person). She was a capable medical examiner, but also a skilled cook (Cornwell's delicious descriptions of Kay's Italian recipes in her gourmet kitchen were so vivid, you could almost smell the food), and a woman with a sense of humor. She and her sidekicks (Marino, Lucy, Benton, etc.), though surrounded by tragedy and death, did have happy moments, and were capable of being happy at times.

Then something happened a couple of books ago: after a tired plotline about a European "werewolf" which spanned a couple of books, the point of view changed to third person, the story became much more of an ensemble cast with Scarpetta as one of the characters, and everything became permeated by a depressing, unhappy, dreary atmosphere that sucked the happiness out of the characters, and turned them into automatons who did nothing else but work, argue, and deal with death. Gone was any "off-time", sense of humor, or even sense of hope. Gone was also any sense of realism, as every new books showed Lucy's fortune more and more outlandish with mansions, academies, motorcycles, helicopters, improbable stunts and toys of all kinds.

This time we're asked to believe Lucy's fortune has started a private "academy" that supports police investigation. But what happened to Lucy's previous endeavors, The Last Precinct? What about other characters present in the previous book that have been dropped without so much as a mention?
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