Friday, March 11, 2016

Cruel and Unusual by Patricia Cornwell (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

“Killing me won’t kill the beast” are the last words of rapist-murderer Ronnie Joe Waddell, written four days before his execution. But they can’t explain how medical examiner Dr. Kay Scarpetta finds Waddell’s fingerprints on another crime scene—after she’d performed his autopsy. If this is some sort of game, Scarpetta seems to be the target. And if the next victim is someone she knows, the punishment will be cruel and unusual..."

My Thoughts:

How does she do it?!?  How does Patricia Cornwell take me on breathless and heart pounding rides with each of her books?  I read her books at a frantic pace trying my best to figure out what is going to happen next.  Even when I think that I have figured it out...usually I am completely wrong and am left blown away by the ending.  I pulled this own off of my own shelves as I was craving some Scarpetta adventures and this book didn't disappoint.  Last year I managed to read three books in this series (out of order on two of them) and I'm hoping on reading many more this year.  How could I not want to after enjoying each of the books in this series so much?  

In this book Scarpetta does the autopsy for Ronnie Joe Waddell who was a death row inmate and recently executed.  From the very beginning things seem off with both Scarpetta's findings and everything relating to Ronnie's recent demise.  Before long Scarpetta is drawn deep into an investigation where there are more secrets than answers.  Sigh!  This book just about threw me into a bookish hangover.  If every book was as good as this one I would get nothing done ever and my house would be in shambles.  That is the plain and simple truth!  I did nothing while reading this book other than read it.  I had a three day weekend and while usually I would have worked around the know, accomplished stuff but instead I sat curled up with this book all day long.  It was completely worth it though!  If you want fast-paced intense read then you should really give this series a try!

One of the things that I liked most about this book was how this author took what seemed to be an impossible scenario and really made me believe it.  I spent the majority of my time trying to figure out what the heck was going on while reading this one.  It was so crazy and every time that I thought maybe I had some of it figured out, the author managed to turn the tables around on me so that I was lost once again.  Kay gets wrapped up in these cases and especially with this book it felt like there was a target on her head.  It added another layer of tension that made me want to read even faster.  I love how we are getting to know these characters more and more in each book.  What surprised me was how much Lucy had changed and grown from the earlier three books.  I also really found it interesting as I have read the most recent two books in this series to see how elements in regards to her character were now coming to play in this one.  I love how authors do things like that!  The ending of this book was the only thing that made me slightly frustrated.  I guess I just expected more (trying not to spoil anything here) and didn't quite get what I was looking for.  Overall though I found this to be yet another amazing addition to this series!

Final thoughts are basically this in a nutshell:  read this series!  Patricia Cornwell has basically cemented herself and this series on to my favorite must read list.  I will read all of the books in this series and the sooner the better in my opinion.  I have nothing but good things to say about this series and this book.  A very intense ride but so completely worth it!  I would recommend these books (I do think you should read them in order if I'm being honest to enjoy the characters and their relationships more) to mystery and thriller fans alike.  Highly, highly recommend!

Bottom Line:  Yet another amazing addition to this mystery series!  I need more!

Disclosure:  I purchased my copy of this book at my local used bookstore. 


  1. OK, Sam, don't hate me - but....I left off reading this author's books a long time back. And I can't remember which book I left off on. I do remember why, but I don't think that you've gotten that far yet, so my lips are zipped. So glad you are enjoying them though. I do remember that when I read the first book, POST MORTEM, I was totally fascinated. That was in the 90's and way before I knew anything about pathologists and autopsies. In fact, this series was my introduction to those things. Patricia Cornwell certainly led the way in that regard. And now we know all about these things from other books and TV and movies. As I said, enjoy your reading. Your enthusiasm is always infectious - LOL!

  2. Like you Kay, I absolutely loved all things Kay Scarpetta. I think I may have made it to book 10. I am going to recommend you slow down Sam, I won't say why :-) definitely enjoy this phase though.

    I have heard better things about the later books in the series and have considered giving them another chance.

  3. I used to read her books as well and then I stopped although I don't remember why. I definitely loved reading her books at one time.

  4. Happy Saturday, Sam! It sounds like you didn't like this book very much. I'm kidding, of course! I have not read Patricia Cornwell's work, but I hope to. Excellent, enthusiastic review!


Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment. I appreciate each and every one of them :)