By: Jeffery Deaver
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: June 2012
Reviewed by: Ellen Feld
Review Date: June 2012
Kayleigh Towne is a young woman who seems to have it all; she's beautiful, talented, and a popular country singer whose concerts sell out in a nanosecond. Oh, yes, she also has her very own stalker, Edwin Sharp.
Edwin is an obsessed fan who is convinced that Kayleigh loves and needs him just as much as he wants the singer. He believes the form emails he's received from the star's marketing machine are actually personal emails written by her and is sure that her songs, particularly one called "Your Shadow" are written for him. While her lawyers have warned Edwin to stay away, he continues to follow Kayleigh. Meanwhile, the young singer has grown progressively more nervous about her obsessed fan.
As the story opens, Kayleigh is in Fresno, California, checking out the stage of the Conference Center where her concert will be later in the week. Unfortunately, she can't get Edwin out of her mind and when she thinks she sees something, or someone, moving around in the shadows at the back of the hall, she grows fearful that it might be Edwin. When a stage light falls and just misses the young woman, she, and several members of her road crew, wonder if it was a freak accident or if Edwin somehow caused the light to fall.
Kayleigh is thrilled when her old friend, Kathryn Dance, an agent with the California Bureau of Investigation with a specialty in body language analysis, comes to town. They meet at a local cafe, along with several members of the road crew. Unfortunately, Edwin also shows up and, while not acting aggressive, he knows far too much about each and every person at the singer's table. Edwin is escorted out of the restaurant and Kayleigh tries to get on with her life and prep for her concert. But when her good friend, Bobby Prescott, is burned to death in a grisly "accident" that involves the same light that fell near Kayleigh, things go into overdrive.
Kathryn suspects Edwin is behind the murder but because the man is rather "unbalanced," her body language skills prove somewhat useless. She looks for clues while trying her best to protect Kayleigh and others close to the singer. But the body count continues to climb and Kathryn appears no closer to solving the murders. At points she is convinced that Edwin is the deranged murderer and then there are other times when he appears to be the victim of somebody else's evil plot. Which is it?
This is the third of Jeffery Deaver's novels to feature Kathryn Dance and it doesn't disappoint. There are plenty of plot twists and turns and just when you think you've figured out who the murderer is, Deaver fools you once again. The dialogue is tight and believable, the story flows well, and the suspense continues to build. If you love suspense novels that keep you guessing throughout, then check out XO, and see if you can figure out who is after the beautiful country singer before you get to that last page.
Quill says: Edwin is the killer, he isn't the killer, he is, he isn't... you'll be going back and forth trying to figure it out. And chances are, you won't figure it out!