Cruel and Unusual Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Cruel and Unusual

Virginia's Chief Medical Examiner, Kay Scarpetta, must autopsy a convicted murderer after the execution. Afterwards, a murder occured with the executed inmate's signature all over it. More murdered victims were discovered, yet all were mysteriously connected to the dead man. When one of Kay's own assistants is added to the dead man's killing spree, fear pushes the investigation even harder. Knowing a dead man cannot be responsible for this, Kay and crime fighting team, FBI Agent Benton Wesley, and Detective Pete Marino, work overtime to solve these puzzling murders and bring this killer to justice. As time races on, however, the murders become more intense. Time is of the essence.
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The review of this Book prepared by Tracey Ray

Convicted murderer Ronnie Waddell is put to death, and it is up to Chief Medical Examiner Kay Scarpetta to perform his autopsy when the body is still warm. During a seemingly unrelated murder investigation, a young boy is found murdered, propped up much like one of Waddell's early victims. And when one of Waddell's prints shows up near the body, Scarpetta must unconver how a dead inmate could have possibly committed another murder AFTER his death...
The review of this Book prepared by LaPierre

Once again Dr Kay earns the respect and admiration of all concerned by saving the day, despite not actually figuring anything out herself or doing much besides performing an autopsy and, of course, cooking gourmet meals (for which she never shops) in her perfect house (which she never does anything to maintain). The basic premise (that a well-respected public figure would arrange for the release of a violent criminal to retrieve a briefcase for him) is so preposterous that genuine relief mingles with disgust as the final page is turned.
The review of this Book prepared by Andrew Clitheroe

Chapter Analysis of Cruel and Unusual

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book descript. of violence and chases 13.3%Planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 50%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 26.7%How society works & physical descript. (people, objects, places) 10% Tone of story    -   suspenseful (sophisticated fear) How difficult to spot villain?    -   Very difficult--no foreshadowing/clues Time/era of story:    -   1980's-1999    -   2000+ (Present) What % of story relates directly to the mystery, not the subplot?    -   70% Special suspect?    -   chronically deranged person Misc. Murder Plotlets    -   local police w/ IQ of a houseplant    -   Big focus on forensic evidence    -   Big focus on autopsies    -   Killer purposely leaves clues Kind of investigator    -   skilled citizen investigator Kid or adult book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Any non-mystery subplot?    -   food/cooking Crime Thriller    -   Yes Murder Mystery (killer unknown)    -   Yes

Main Character

Gender    -   Female Profession/status:    -   doctor Age:    -   40's-50's Ethnicity/Race    -   White/American


United States    -   Yes The US:    -   Northeast    -   Mid-Atlantic states Misc setting    -   scientific labs

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   very gorey descriptions deaths/dead bodies A lot of techno jargon?    -   Yes Kind of jargon?    -   biology/medical Unusual forms of death    -   perforation--bullets Unusual form of death?    -   Yes Amount of dialog    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog

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Patricia Cornwell Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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