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Predator (Kay Scarpetta Series #14)

Predator (Kay Scarpetta Series #14)

2.6 216
by Patricia Cornwell

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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.


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.

Editorial Reviews

Dr. Kay Scarpetta never gets a real vacation: Good news for us; bad news for her. In Predator, this ever-alert investigator is in tropical Florida, freelancing for the National Forensic Academy. But Kay doesn't have time to catch any rays. A series of teasing psychological clues drives her and her team to snowbound Boston to track down a serial killer who always manages to stay one corpse ahead of the competition. Superlative sleuthing.
Marilyn Stasio
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. But Cornwell opens up a fascinating new field for Scarpetta when she involves her in the study that her lover, a forensic psychologist, is conducting up in Boston with compulsive murderers—terminology he considers more scientifically exact than "serial killers." Whatever you call them, they have the author's attention here, and when she isn't too busy doling out bits of business to Scarpetta's posse of co-sleuths, Cornwell brings them to full, frightening life.
—The New York Times
Library Journal
Now at Florida's National Forensic Academy, Dr. Kay Scarpetta is too busy to enjoy the sun: a nasty villain has burst forth. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher
“Sensationally plotted, with a twist at the end that will leave you gasping for breath.”—The Daily Express (U.K.)

“A fine psychological thriller…recalls the work of writers like Minette Walters or Thomas Harris.”—The Denver Post

“[Readers] will find themselves entertained and surprised by the ending.”—The Stuart News/Port St. Lucie News (Stuart, FL)

“There is a steely authority to the prose.”—The Independent (London)

“Cornwell and her original heroine Kay Scarpetta are both back in top form.”—Birmingham Post

Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
Kay Scarpetta Series , #14
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Sales rank:
File size:
744 KB
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher
“Sensationally plotted, with a twist at the end that will leave you gasping for breath.”—The Daily Express (U.K.)

“A fine psychological thriller…recalls the work of writers like Minette Walters or Thomas Harris.”—The Denver Post

“[Readers] will find themselves entertained and surprised by the ending.”—The Stuart News/Port St. Lucie News (Stuart, FL)

“There is a steely authority to the prose.”—The Independent (London)

“Cornwell and her original heroine Kay Scarpetta are both back in top form.”—Birmingham Post

Meet the Author

Patricia Cornwell was born on June 9, 1956, in Miami, Florida, and grew up in Montreat, North Carolina.

Following graduation from Davidson College in 1979, she began working at the Charlotte Observer, rapidly advancing from listing television programs to writing feature articles to covering the police beat. She won an investigative reporting award from the North Carolina Press Association for a series of articles on prostitution and crime in downtown Charlotte.

Her award-winning biography of Ruth Bell Graham, A Time for Remembering, was published in 1983. From 1984 to 1990 she worked as a technical writer and a computer analyst at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Richmond, Virginia.

Her first crime novel, Postmortem, was published by Scribner’s in 1990. Initially rejected by seven major publishing houses, it became the first novel to win the Edgar, Creasey, Anthony, and Macavity awards as well as the French Prix du Roman d’Aventure in a single year. In Postmortem, Cornwell introduced Dr. Kay Scarpetta as the intrepid Chief Medical Examiner of the Commonwealth of Virginia. In 1999, Dr. Scarpetta herself won the Sherlock Award for best detective created by an American author.

Following the success of her first novel, Cornwell has written a series of bestsellers featuring Kay Scarpetta, her detective sidekick Pete Marino, and her brilliant and unpredictable niece, Lucy Farinelli: Body of Evidence (1991), All That Remains (1992), Cruel and Unusual (1993) [which won Britain’s prestigious Gold Dagger Award for the year’s best crime novel], The Body Farm (1994), From Potter’s Field (1995), Cause of Death (1996), Unnatural Exposure (1997), Point of Origin (1998), Black Notice (1999), The Last Precinct (2000), Blow Fly (2003), Trace (2004), Predator (2005), Book of the Dead (2007) [which won the 2008 Galaxy British Book Awards’ Books Direct Crime Thriller of the year; she is the first American ever to win this award], Scarpetta (2008), and The Scarpetta Factor (2009).

In addition to the Scarpetta novels, she has written three best-selling novels featuring Andy Brazil: Hornet’s Nest (1996), Southern Cross (1998), and Isle of Dogs (2001); two cook books: Scarpetta’s Winter Table (1998) and Food to Die For (2001); and a children’s book: Life’s Little Fable (1999). In 1997, she updated A Time for Remembering, and it was reissued as Ruth, A Portrait: The Story of Ruth Bell Graham. Intrigued by Scotland Yard’s John Grieve’s observation that no one had ever tried to use modern forensic evidence to solve the murders committed by Jack the Ripper, Cornwell began her own investigation of the serial killer’s crimes. In Portrait of a Killer: Jack the Ripper—Case Closed (2002), she narrates her discovery of compelling evidence to indict the famous artist Walter Sickert as the Ripper.

In January 2006, the New York Times Magazine began a 15-week serialization of At Risk, featuring Massachusetts State Police investigator Win Garano and his boss, District Attorney Monique Lamont. Its sequel, The Front, was serialized in the London Times in the spring of 2008.

Both novellas were subsequently published as books and promptly optioned for adaptation by Lifetime Television Network, starring Daniel Sunjata and Andie MacDowell. In April 2009, Fox acquired the film rights to the Scarpetta novels, featuring Angelina Jolie as Dr.Kay Scarpetta. Cornwell herself wrote and co-produced the movie ATF for ABC.

Often interviewed on national television as a forensic consultant, Cornwell is a founder of the Virginia Institute of Forensic Science and Medicine; a founding member of the National Forensic Academy; a member of the Advisory Board for the Forensic Sciences Training Program at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, NYC; and a member of the Harvard-affiliated McLean Hospital’s National Council, where she is an advocate for psychiatric research. She is also well known for her philanthropic contributions to animal rescue and criminal justice as well as endowing college scholarships and promoting the cause of literacy on the national scene. Some of her projects include the establishment of an ICU at Cornell’s Animal Hospital, the archaeological excavation of Jamestown, and the scientific study of the Confederacy’s submarine H.L. Hunley. Most recently she donated a million dollars to Harvard’s Fogg Museum to establish a chair in inorganic science.

Her books are translated into thirty-six languages across more than fifty countries, and she is regarded as one of the major international best-selling authors. Her novels are praised for their meticulous research and an insistence on accuracy in every detail, especially in forensic medicine and police procedures. She is so committed to verisimilitude that, among other accomplishments, she became a helicopter pilot and a certified scuba diver and qualified for a motorcycle license because she was writing about characters who were doing these things. “It is important to me to live in the world I write about,” she often says. “If I want a character to do or know something, I want to do or know the same thing.”

Brief Biography

Boston, MA and New York, NY
Date of Birth:
June 9, 1956
Place of Birth:
Miami, Florida
B.A. in English, Davidson College, 1979; King College

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Predator (Kay Scarpetta Series #14) 2.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 216 reviews.
kat5900 More than 1 year ago
In the past I have really liked the Patricia Cornwell books, but this book spends way to much time on how personally scarred this group of people are. While I like some back story about the characters there was too much time spent on things other than the "predator" in the story. I would try to get it from the library or from a friend and don't spend your money on it. I hope her other books are better.
Marged04 More than 1 year ago
I don't know why there were so many negative reviews on "Predator"! I am half way thru & it's great! Perhaps the readers who dissed it were reading the books out of order. Because of the poor reviews from readers, I got the book from the library first. When I realized it was good, I went ahead & bought it for my Nook. I will take readers' reviews less seriously in future.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read many of Cornwells books but did not like this book at all. I wish I would have read the reviews before I ordered this book. I will never order another nook before reading the reviews. I'm sure I will never read another Cornwell book.
smorton17 More than 1 year ago
I have been an avid Patricia Cornwell/Kay Scarpetta reader and fan for many years, but this book was truly disappointing. The book itself was a horribly slow read, whereas with most of this series I haven't wanted to put them down once I started reading. I also feel like the main characters (Scarpetta, Benton, Lucy and Marino) are changing, and not in a positive way. Bring back the old characters!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I too have really enjoyed the Kay Scarpetta books, but this one stinks! I wish I had trusted the bad reviews, but I really hoped they were wrong. I won't waste my time on characters that I no longer even like. I won't try another Scarpetta book and that is sad.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
I wanted to love this book. I've always enjoyed the stories of Kay Scarpetta, Marino, Benton Wesley, and Lucy. Even the premise of PREDATOR intrigued me-- Benton is heading a new program where he studies the brains of volunteer test subjects, mostly convicted felons of heinous crimes. He hopes to find a scientific and physical reason for why people do the things they do, and sets out to find if the molecular make-up or abnormalities of the brain cause people to commit vicious crimes against each other. Sounds good, right?

It could have been a great story. There's a plot, of course, where people are dying, strange events are taking place with related murders that seem random, and where an inmate might hold the key to solving the deaths.

The problem is I wanted to shoot almost each and every character that I've grown to love over the years. Benton Wesley is his same, staid self, and I don't have too many complaints about his behavior in PREDATOR. After all, the guy is back from the dead, and I'm happy about that. Kay Scarpetta, on the other hand, has turned into an alternately brooding/b***y whiner. Marino is a bad-boy-wannabe who now talks in monosyllables such as "mmm" and "mmm-hmm". And Lucy. Sigh. What the HECK has happened to Lucy? As if it wasn't bad enough that in Cornwell's last book, TRACE, Lucy was involved with a psycho-woman, in PREDATOR she's doing all the stupid things she did last time, except this time her involvement with a physcho-woman might get her killed.

What has happened to my favorite characters? I was eagerly anticipating the release of PREDATOR, only to be so let down that I've decided to wait and rent each new Patricia Cornwell release from the library.

I gave the book three stars for the basic plot, which was interesting. If I had to rate the behavior of the characters, it would be in the negatives.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I've read all of the Kay Scarpetta books ... this one was by far the most difficult to follow. I couldn't put the book down until the last few chapters. I became so confused by the plot that I had to scan through the other chapters to see if I missed something. It is an interesting book ... but she could have explained everything in more detail.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Dr. Kay Scarpetta is now working at the Natural Forensic Academy where she is the director of forensic science and a consulting forensic pathologist for the Broward County Medical Examiner¿s office. Pete Marino works there as the head of investigations and a part-time death investigator for the Broward County¿s Medical Examiner¿s office. Benton Wesley is at Harvard working on PREDATOR, a study using cutting edge technology to discover whether the brains of mass murderers are different than the average person................ Hog calls Pete Marino who asks Scarpetta to look into the Johnny Swift case. Johnny¿s twin brother discovered him dead. Evidence at first suggested suicide but now the theory is murder might have occurred. Lucy Farinelli,, Kay¿s niece is tracking Johnny¿s last days in the hopes of getting some answers because he was special to her. She picks up Stevie for a one night stand and notices tattoos on her breasts and buttocks. Benton, who is asked to examine a body sees the same tattoos that were on Stevie¿s body. A thug is keeping track of Benton while Kay needs to find the key that will unlock the answers they all seek................. This is a very different book then all the other Kay Scarpetta novels as this is told in the third person and is a stand alone book meaning that it doesn¿t require reading previous novels in the series. The key protagonists go their way as if the previous events in their life didn¿t really change them. This crime thriller is a fantastic work with equal parts of action and character development, but as always the research done on the book is scientifically correct and meticulously researched.................... Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved this! Keeps you thinking,.
tashak911 More than 1 year ago
We have bought all of Patricia Cornwell's Kay Scarpetta books, We have to say we love all all of them. My husband is a Vietnam vet who flew helicopters in the Vietnam War. The book Predator page 383 Vince is sixty -five and flew Black Hawks in Vietnam and then went to work for ATF. My husband pointed out that Black Hawks never flew in Vietnam, that they didn't become operational until well after the war.The most common helicopter in Vietnam was the Huey UH-1. It is a very minor point in an otherwise excellent book. Regards, Tasha.
lvhmlr More than 1 year ago
Another good one, a bit difficult to follow, but still a great read.
SuzeQ18 More than 1 year ago
This is my favorite of Patricia's Cornwall's novels about Dr. Kay Scarpetta.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
DevynQ0 More than 1 year ago
Awful and nonsensical 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A warrior starts a hive
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was long and tedious. The story did not unfold to the point it made sense until the last 25 pages. Too much psychological babble, too much Benton, Lucy and Marino and not enough of Dr. Scarpetta.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've read the series up to this point, of course. In general, I have enjoyed them very much although certainly some have been better than others. The problem with this segment is that plot development becomes confusing as the author attempts to build suspense by jumping from story line to story line. This is a common technique used by many/most writers of this genre but sometimes it is difficult to determine which story line I'm reading, and therefore I found the book confusing at times. If you are reading the series, you must read this segment because there are what appear to be important character developments that I suspect will affect future books in the series. But unlike some other Kay Scarpetta episodes that I found hard to put down, this one at times seems like a chore to get through because of confusing plot development.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love this one!
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