Author: Patricia Cornwell
Published: Sphere, 2010 (first published 1993)
Series: Book 4, Kay Scarpetta
Summary: When convicted killer Ronnie Joe Waddell is executed in Virginia's electric chair, he becomes what should be a routine postmortem case for Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Kay Scarpetta. But after Waddell's execution, the murders continue, as everyone connected to him begins to die -- including a member of Scarpetta's staff.
Then, when crucial records disappear from her files, Scarpetta comes under fire for incompetence. Caught in a web of political intrigue, betrayed by those she trusted, Scarpetta must fight to free herself from murderous insinuations-- and threats to her own life.
To save her career, Scarpetta soon finds herself retracing Waddell's bloody footprints, following a trail that might lead to long-hidden secrets deep within the state government. Either the truth will set her free -- or unleash upon her a punishment both cruel and unusual. (Taken from Goodreads)
Thoughts: As soon as I started reading Cruel and Unusual I felt that this book had a much more sombre tone than the previous three books.
There is also quite a large jump between books and reading the books back to back it’s hard to figure out how much time has passed by in the books and things that happened between books are casually mentioned and sometimes they’re HUGE things. I mention this because in Cruel and Unusual this happened in regards to a character featured in book 2 and 3 and their fate was just casually mentioned. It was a bit of a shock in all honesty.
I found myself getting really annoyed with Kay towards the end of this book, she just kept fighting against everyone and just wouldn’t do what people told her to do so that things would be better for her. I just wanted to yell at her and tell her to listen to what her friends and the people trying to help her were saying.
A lot of details in this book were mysterious and things were eluded to but not stated outright and they were only talked about later on. Some of the details got a little confusing after a while but I got the gist of everything that was happening in the end.
I felt that things were only loosely tied up at the end which is more realistic than stories that tie everything up in a neat little package so it wasn’t too bad.
Overall, I really enjoyed reading Cruel and Unusual. It was exciting and a fantastic addition to the Kay Scarpetta series, I’ll admit that it isn’t my favourite of the series so far, but it has still made me keen to read the next book in the series.