Predator (Kay Scarpetta Series #14) [NOOK Book]


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.

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Predator (Kay Scarpetta Series #14)

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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.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
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.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781101155936
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 9/26/2006
  • Series: Kay Scarpetta Series , #14
  • Sold by: Penguin Group
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 464
  • Sales rank: 17,350
  • File size: 676 KB

Meet the Author

Patricia  Cornwell

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.”


Patricia Cornwell writes crime fiction from an unusually informed point of view. While many writers are, as she says, conjuring up "fantasy" assumptions regarding what really goes into tracking criminals and examining crime scenes, Cornwell really does walk the walk, which is why her novels ring so true.

Before becoming one of the most widely recognized, respected, and read writers in contemporary crime fiction, she worked as a police reporter for The Charlotte Observer and as a computer analyst in the chief medical examiner's office in Virginia. During this period of her life, Cornwell observed literally hundreds of autopsies. While the vast majority of people would surely regard such work unsavory beyond belief, Cornwell was acquiring valuable information that would not only help her write the groundbreaking 2002 study Portrait of a Killer: Jack the Ripper -- Case Closed but would also enrich her fiction with uncommon authenticity.

"Most of these crime scene shows... are what I call ‘Harry Potter' policing," she said in a candid, heated interview. "They're absolutely fantasy. And the problem is the general public watches these, 60 million people a week or whatever, and they think what they're seeing is true." If Cornwell comes off as a bit vehement in her criticism of television shows meant to simply entertain, that's just because she takes her work so seriously.

Not that Cornwell's novels are ever anything short of entertaining, even if their grisly details may require extra-strong stomachs of her readers. She has created a tremendously well-defined and complex character in her favorite fictional crime solver Dr. Kay Scarpetta. Cornwell introduced medical examiner Scarpetta in her first novel, Postmortem in 1990. Today, Scarpetta is still cracking cases and cracking open cadavers. (She has even inspired a cook book called Food to Die For: Secrets from Kay Scarpetta's Kitchen.) In addition, Cornwell writes more lighthearted cop capers in her Andy Brazil & Judy Hammer series.

Good To Know

Cornwell knows what its like to shatter records. Her debut, Postmortem, was the only novel by a first-time author to ever win five major mystery awards in a single year.

Cornwell may be a former crime solver, but she shudders to think that her books could actually contribute to crime. In fact, she says she has received "thank you" notes from prisoners who claim they have gleaned information from her books that might help them cover their tracks while committing future crimes.

If parody is indeed the sincerest form of flattery, then Cornwell has a fan in Chris Elliott. The professional wisenheimer published a hilarious takeoff on her true crime book Portrait of a Killer called The Shroud of the Thwacker.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Patricia Daniels Cornwell (full name)
    2. Hometown:
      Boston, MA and New York, NY
    1. Date of Birth:
      June 9, 1956
    2. Place of Birth:
      Miami, Florida
    1. Education:
      B.A. in English, Davidson College, 1979; King College
    2. Website:

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 2.5
( 214 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 214 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 7, 2012

    not so good

    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.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Fantastic but different

    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

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 25, 2012

    I don't know why there were so many negative reviews on "Pr

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 25, 2012

    Dissapointed reader

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 13, 2011

    Very Disappointed

    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!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 1, 2011

    Very Disappointed

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 15, 2011

    Complex, confusing, very hard to follow.

    I loved the Kay Scarpetta books 1 through 10. Then she changed point of view from first person to third omni, as well as switched from past tense to present tense. It bothered me. But the quality of the stories has taken a nosedive, and "Predator" is the penultimate example. There are more untied strings in this book than in a kindergarten class. New sections start with "he" or "she," leaving the reader to guess or read ahead to figure out what's going on, and often it's never clear. Clues the author inserted drift into the ether and are never explained. I am sorry, for I really loved the early books.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 14, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Jennifer Wardrip - Personal Read

    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? <BR/><BR/>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. <BR/><BR/>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. <BR/><BR/>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. <BR/><BR/>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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 6, 2007

    Gripping ... until the end...

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 7, 2013

    Bounty hunter


    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 3, 2013

    Not recommended

    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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2013


    She walked in. She looked to be in her mid twenties. "Im here. Lets do this."

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 24, 2012

    Not Bad But Cornwell Usually Does Better

    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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 23, 2012


    Grooms herself

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2012

    Very good

    Love this one!

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  • Posted July 3, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    a huge let down

    I was very disappointed in Predator. The plot did not have any substance to it at all. It did not hold my attention and I had to literally force myself to finish it.

    I have read the entire Scarpetta series and loved every book except Predator.

    I would not reccomend this book for a stand-a-lone book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 25, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    You Go Kay Scarpetta!

    Dr. Kay Scarpettta works for the National Forensic Academy in Florida. She sees all kinds of horrendous crimes and murder's, but thank goodness she has a great team to back her up and work with. Now changing the subject, what the heck is with all these one star review's? This book was great, and as Kay Scarpetta gets older so do we. If there were no changes in these books, just think how boring they would be. You go Patricia!

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  • Posted February 16, 2009

    Ms. Cornwell does it again!

    The Kay Scarpetta stories are some of my favorites of all time (I keep them all), and I am as happy with this installment as the rest.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 20, 2008

    Never again will I read her books

    I first read Isle of Dogs and couldn't understand why everyone loved Patricia Cornwell. I felt like I was tripping at a Dead concert. Everyone told me to give her another try. I must have taken the bad acid. The third person point of view doesn't really get you into the characters, everyone has a secret or a reason for something but they don't let you in on it. I thought maybe it was because I didn't read the other books but after reading the reviews I'm not alone. I didn't finish because everytime I picked up the book, I had to backtrack and then I felt angry. Her books make me ANGRY. Life's too short, pass this one up.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 13, 2008


    The book ¿Predator¿ by Patricia Cornwell takes place in modern day time. Set in the Orange State, Dr. Kay Scarpetta who works for the National Forensic Academy in Florida comes across the horrendous crimes of a crazed serial killer. Dr. Scarpetta¿s amazing team consists of Pete Marino (retired detective), Benton Wesley (psychiatrist), and her niece Lucy. They came to put together the odd collection of several horrible crimes and how the crimes are linked to one psychopathic killer. The puzzling key is the first crime set in 2 years ago at a Christmas tree shop. Once those pieces are added with the current crimes the puzzle is completed, the true murderous killer is discovered. The disturbing image of the killer is shown throughout the book as his endless torture of his captured victims and mindless rambling of an unknown purpose for his crazed actions. ¿They strike and strike. They won¿t stop until you rip them off you. If they bite you in a major artery you die. They can shoot there hairs into your eyes and blind you. It¿s very painful. Say you¿re sorry.¿ Said the killer as he tortured his victim with a black widow spider. This is a shear page turner that keeps you on the edge as the bizarre twist and the true identification of the killer is revealed. This book is highly recommended to mystery lovers.

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