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XO: A Kathryn Dance Novel Mass Market Paperback – December 26, 2012
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Country-pop ingénue Kayleigh Towne's career is jus reaching new heights with her huge hit single "Your Shadow"- but fame is also bringing unwanted attention. An innocent exchange with a fan leads Kaleigh into the dangerous and terrifying realm of obsession, and when California Bureau of Investigation gent Kathryn Dance intervenes on the singer's behalf, she draws the admirer's ominous attention to herself. Then a member of Kayleigh's road crew is murdered in an eerie echo f her chart-topping song. As Kathryn Dance races to stop the stalker wit her considerable skills of investigation and body-language analysis, she son discovers that Kayleigh has more than one frightening fan with a mission...
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The story takes us into the world of country music in a changing distribution/production environment and, as always, Jeffery Deaver is filled with interesting information to flesh out the background. He knows this world and he knows music and the technical details of instrumentation and public performance.
The problem (for me, at least) is that this is primarily a Kayleigh Towne novel rather than a Kathryn Dance novel. Kathryn is on the fringes of the case and the putative stalker is so skilled that she can make little use of the kinesics which are at the heart of her skills as an investigator.
There are some complications with her personal life which add interest to the story and there is a cameo appearance by Lincoln Rhyme, Amelia Sachs and Lincoln's caregiver, Thom. These help sustain our attention. There is also the standard triple-reverse, 90-degree turn-filled ending.
There is no such thing as a bad Jeffery Deaver novel, but this one begins a bit slowly and belabors the country music dimension. (The perp is repeating lyrics from Kayleigh's songs and shaping his actions by them; the novel includes the lyrics from all of the songs on her new album, including the cover art.) The success of the novel turns, in part, on the reader's interest in Kayleigh, her experience, her music and the ways in which her personal life has become intertwined with her art. That story is told well. I simply wanted more Kathryn.
For country music fans, however: check out[...] for information on the XO album and the free download.
XO had plenty of surprises and plot twists, it was just such a disappointment to have a detective from whom you don't get to learn the secrets of their "specialty" (such as kinesics).
The story is basically about a young and very successful country music star who is being stalked...people around her are being murdered. Before each murder, there is a warning using lyrics from one of her songs. I do recommend this book.
As for XO, it was a typical Deaver book with twist after twist which is the thing that I like most about his novels. Some of his past ones have been too difficult to figure out but this one was more on a level playing field. I am not a fan of country music which was a big part of this book but it didn't stop me from enjoying it. Along with the perp mystery, I do like how he has a created a side story that ties to Kathryn's personal life.
I see that the reviews for the book are not so good. This wasn't his best from a 'gotcha' standpoint but if there wasn't an author's name on the cover then I would immediately say this is a Jeffery Deaver novel. I recommend this book for anybody who has enjoyed his twist-filled books of the past.
Anyway, getting back to XO, it's just an enjoyable, entertaining and quick read - perfect summertime entertainment.