COUNTRY-POP INGÉNUE Kayleigh Towne’s career is just reaching new heights with her huge hit single “Your Shadow”—but increased fame is also bringing unwanted attention. An innocent exchange with one of her fans, signed with an “XO,” leads Kayleigh into the dangerous and terrifying realm of obsession.
Edwin Sharp thinks Kayleigh’s songs contain messages that speak directly to him. Despite her clear rejection and threats from lawyers and law enforcers, he remains convinced that “Your Shadow” was written just for him, and he announces he’s coming for Kayleigh. Then a potentially fatal accident occurs at the concert hall where Kayleigh is rehearsing for a triumphant hometown performance, and she is convinced that someone—maybe Edwin—was there watching her from the darkness.
True to his word, Edwin Sharp soon makes an ominous appearance in town, and California Bureau of Investigation Agent Kathryn Dance, a friend and fan of Kayleigh’s on vacation in Fresno to attend the show, intervenes on her behalf, drawing Sharp’s frightening attention to herself. That night a member of the road crew whom Kayleigh had once dated is murdered in an eerie echo of an image from her chart-topping song. As more deaths loom on the horizon, Kathryn Dance must use her considerable skills at investigation and body-language analysis to stop the stalker and save more innocent victims. But before long she learns that, like many celebrities, Kayleigh has more than one fan with a mission . . .
There are good mystery writers, there are even great mystery writers but Mr. Deaver is head and shoulders above the great mystery writers. You could call him the master of mystery writers and that’s still not good enough!!
I started reading Mr. Deaver’s Lincoln Rhyme series several years ago and became an addict. He has now added another series starring Kathryn Dance. She works for the California Bureau of Investigations. She’s a mom and a widow whose husband was killed in the line of duty as a police officer. Prior to joining the Bureau, she was a jury consultant. Kathryn has a unique honed talent. She’s a human lie detector. She studies body language to get a read on the individuals being interviewed in connection with her investigations.
This story takes place over three days as Kathryn is on vacation in Fresno, CA. Her hobby and love is recording unknown artists and loading them to a website (with their permission of course). Kathryn decides to pay a visit to her friend and rising country star Kayleigh Towne (who to me sounds suspiciously like Taylor Swift). Kayleigh is preparing for a concert in her hometown and is being relentlessly pursued by a crazed fan. Yes, a stalker.
Mr. Deaver is a wonderful writer and he can turn his stories on a dime. I’ve yet to figure out who the real bad guy is in the novels I’ve read thus far. I always think I have it figured out but darn it if he doesn’t change directions and I’m left hanging. The mystery aspect is there in XO, the descriptions are great, the storyline is okay. This novel just felt like it was missing a spark or something.
Usually when reading a Jeffrey Deaver novel, I can’t put it down. It’s entrancing. This one not so much. It felt too contained and scripted. Surprises, yes but you could feel them coming. I like the unpredictability of his novels and this one just didn’t do it for me. I found myself skimming through several areas. Never done that before with one of his novels. I always buy his books in hardback but after this installment of Kathryn Dance, I might get future novels in this series in the Kindle edition. At this point I’m not sure if Kathryn is a character who should have her own series. I’m not giving up on her though.
My rating: 3.75 Stars
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