Dr. Kay Scarpetta, now freelancing with the National Forensic Academy in Florida, takes charge of a case that stretches from steamy Florida to snowbound Boston; one that at first appears as unnerving as any she has ever faced. The teasing psychological clues lead Scarpetta and her team--Pete Marino, Benton Wesley, and Lucy Farinelli--to suspect that they are hunting someone with a cunning and malevolent mind whose secrets have kept them in the shadows, until now. Predator is proof once again that Patricia Cornwell has few peers with her extraordinary ability to entertain and enthrall.
kay scarpetta round up
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.
Reviewed on: 10/31/2005
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October 25, 2005
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