Synopses & Reviews
With high-tension suspense and cutting-edge technology, Patricia Cornwell—the world’s #1 bestselling crime writer—once again proves her exceptional ability to entertain and enthrall in this remarkable novel featuring chief medical examiner Dr. Kay Scarpetta.
On her quest to find out exactly what happened to her former deputy chief, Jack Fielding, murdered six months before, Scarpetta drives to the Georgia Prison for Women to meet a convicted sex offender and the mother of a vicious and diabolically brilliant killer. Against the advice of her FBI criminal intelligence agent husband, Benton Wesley, Scarpetta is determined to hear this woman out.
Scarpetta has both personal and professional reasons to learn more about a string of grisly killings: the murder of a Savannah family years earlier, a young woman on death row, and then other inexplicable deaths that begin to occur at a breathtaking pace. Driven by inner forces, Scarpetta discovers connections that compel her to conclude that what she thought ended with Fielding’s death and an attempt on her own life is only the beginning of something far more destructive: a terrifying terrain of conspiracy and potential terrorism on an international scale.
And she is the only one who can stop it.
"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." Publishers Weekly (Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc.)
"The contrived plot that drags Scarpetta out of the classroom and onto the killing fields in pursuit of a madman
plays out in too fragmented a form to sustain much suspense." New York Times
"[A] solid and insightful psychological thriller that sports a nice little twist." Denver Post
"Cornwell is able to deliver a highly charged, rather spooky novel with her usual panache....[R]eaders will agree that Predator is one of Patricia Cornwell's best works to date." Bookreporter.com
Dr. Kay Scarpetta, freelancing with the National Forensic Academy in Florida, takes charge of a case that stretches from steamy Florida to snowbound Boston. The teasing psychological clues lead Scarpetta and her team to suspect that they are hunting someone with a cunning and malevolent mind.
Now a Director of the National Forensic Academy, Dr Kay Scarpetta is able to use her formidable skills on myriad investigations. But someone is aware of her every move, manipulating her towards a situation where she would become the prey.
Florida is full of human predators, and they all give Dr Kay Scarpetta the opportunity and the means to do what she does best - persuading the dead to speak to her. And in Boston, Benton Wesley is working on a secret case involving convicted killers. It is a project which gives Scarpetta deep disquiet, as does the behaviour of her niece, Lucy, who is spending too much time in cheap bars looking for casual pick-ups. The Academy is called when a woman's body is found in Boston. She has been tortured, sexually abused, her body tattooed with handprints. The same sort of handprints Lucy had seen on the flesh of her latest pick-up. Meanwhile, Scarpetta and Marino are investigating the disappearance of a family in Florida, called in by a concerned neighbour, but as they search and find the tell-tale signs of abduction rather than disappearance, they also discover that someone had assumed the identity of the caller, and she is now dead. They've been set up, and it becomes clear that someone is tracking their every move.
Investigating the disappearance of two sisters in Florida, Dr. Kay Scarpetta follows clues that twist and turn, leading her into the psychopathic depths of a jailed serial killer's mind.
Scarpetta, now freelancing with the National Forensic Academy in Florida, digs into a case more bizarre than any she has ever faced, one that has produced not only unusual physical evidence but tantalizing clues about the inner workings of an extremely cunning and criminal mind.
She and her team—Pete Marino, Benton Wesley, and her niece, Lucy—track the odd connections between several horrific crimes and the people who are the likely suspects. As one psychopath, safely behind bars and the subject of a classified scientific study at a Harvard-affiliated psychiatric hospital, teases Scarpetta with tips that could be fact—or fantasy—the number of killers on the loose seems to multiply. Are these events related or merely random? And what can the study of one man’s brain tell them about the methods of a psychopath still lurking in the shadows?
About the Author
Patricia Cornwell is currently Director of Applied Forensic Science at the National Forensic Academy.