I’ve never read a Corwell novel, but I see them everywhere in the supermarket, airport, bookstores. I understand that she is extremely popular and though I enjoy mysteries, I’ve never felt compelled to read her stuff. Cruel and Unusual came from bin of free books that my little brother dropped off for me. I will be upfront and say I might have enjoyed this book if I hadn’t just finished my first Kathy Reichs’ book whose plot and main character were very similar. As it was, I found this book not to MY particular tastes.
This is the fourth book in the Scarpetta series, which apparently ends up with tons more books. I can only assume they get better… In Cruel and Unusual, Scarpetta is called on to autopsy the body of a murderer, Ronnie Joe Waddell, who has just been executed by the electric chair. After the execution, the body of a young teenager is found with many of the signatures of Waddell’s murder. To make matters just a bit more complicated, Scarpetta’s niece, Lucy, comes for an overdue visit full of teenage drama and attitude. Scarpetta’s friend (and policeman) Pete Marino is also heavily involved with the case that eventually encompasses a potential suicide as well. Unfortunately, a fingerprint at the crime scene leads investigators to a man who’d just been executed. In the midst of this, it seems that someone is also attacking Scarpetta professionally.
There were a lot of things going on with this book, and not all of them made sense together. I don’t like the Scarpetta character, she doesn’t feel authentic. I also was thrown off by some of the plot points and having never read any other Scarpetta books, I was wondering if she is either always a) in peril or b) her career is in jeopardy. I am sure people appreciate the descriptions of autopsy procedure, but it didn’t to much for me. I see there is an audience for this book, but it just wasn’t me.