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XO: A Kathryn Dance Novel

XO: A Kathryn Dance Novel by Jeffery Deaver

Internationally bestselling author Jeffery Deaver delivers the latest sensational thriller in his wildly popular Kathryn Dance seriesNewsweek calls Jeffery Deaver a “suspense superstar,” and in his new novel, he lives up to the accolades once again as he sets his heroine Kathryn Dance on a quest to stop an obsessive stalker from destroying a beautiful young country singer.     Kayleigh Towne is gorgeous with a voice that is taking her to the heights of the country pop charts. Her hit single “Your Shadow” puts her happily in the spotlight, until an innocent exchange with one of her fans leads Kayleigh into a dark and terrifying realm. The fan warns, “I’m coming for you,” and soon accidents happen and people close to Kayleigh die. Special Agent Kathryn Dance must use her considerable skills at investigation and body language analysis to stop the stalker—but before long she learns that, like many celebrities, Kayleigh has more than just one fan with a mission. A former folksinger, Deaver has written the actual song, “Your Shadow.” Readers will be able to download it from his website,

About the Author

Jeffery Deaver was born outside of Chicago in 1950. His father was an advertising copywriter and his mother was a homemaker. He has one younger sister who writes novels for teenagers ‘ Julie Reece Deaver.

Deaver wrote his first book ‘ which consisted of two entire chapters ‘ when he was eleven, and he’s been writing ever since. An award-winning poet and journalist, he has also written and performed his own songs around the country. After receiving a Bachelor of Journalism degree from the University of Missouri, Deaver worked as a magazine writer, then, to gain the background needed to become a legal correspondent for The New York Times or Wall Street Journal, he enrolled at Fordham Law School. After graduation he decided to practice law for a time and worked for several years as an attorney for a large Wall Street firm. It was during his long commute to and from the office that he began writing the type of fiction he enjoyed reading: suspense novels. In 1990 he started to write full time.


Deaver tackles the world of celebrity in XO, his protagonist, cross-over country singer Kayleigh Towne stalked by Edwin Sharp, who believes he and Kayleigh are meant for each other, the lyrics of her songs written especially for him. On her home turf in Fresno, Kayleigh runs into Edwin at a diner. Unfortunately, Edwin happens to be acutely conscious of his legal status as a fan, absent any threat to Kayleigh, whom he greets with a smile and warm words of encouragement. When a bandmate is murdered at the Fresno show’s venue after a falling stage light nearly misses the star, Kayleigh and her entourage are certain Edwin is behind the tragedy. Local police rush to the scene, as does California Bureau of Investigation Agent Kathryn Dance, who happens to be a friend of Kayleigh’s and was planning on attending the upcoming concert. Rejected by the local authorities, Dance, and expert in kinesics, finds it impossible to remain outside the investigation, her concern for the young star too great to worry over clashing law enforcement egos.

Against a background rich in the history of country music, Deaver unfolds a plot that consists of more than one murder- each new one unique and tied to a verse of Kayleigh’s most famous hit song- and a number of interlocking suspects with devious motives, including an ambitious California politician, Kayleigh Towne’s father/manager, once a star and now directing every phase of Kayleigh’s career; then there is the matter of Kathryn’s current romantic dilemma and the detailed and chilling explanation of the evolution of a stalker, complemented by the ugly underbelly of an internet grown more sophisticated in breaching the personal details of individuals. From one horrifying murder scene or shootout to another, the menace grows more palpable. And while Edwin Sharp seems the most logical suspect, Dance and the locals begin to think he may be a decoy for the real killer.

Although the too-sweet-to-be-true Kayleigh Towne is a bit too perfect as the innocent victim and far too easy to set up regardless of the culprit behind the activities, Deaver provides a surprising number of unexpected twists and turns, maybes and misdirection to deliver a powerful reckoning when the real villain is unmasked. The sparkling world of celebrity is unveiled, quickly tarnished by the complete lack of privacy in the name of fame, the object of public affection always vulnerable to betrayal or the fickle public’s change of heart when somebody new comes along. Luan Gaines/2012.

-By Luan Gaines

Edwin Sharp likes country music singer and songwriter Kayleigh Towne. He sends her an email, which her email system automatically responds to like it does all her fans. His like turns into a dangerous attraction as he begins sending her tons of emails which gets past her staff in spite of their diligence to stop him. He also knows more about her than seemingly she knows about herself and likewise her key staffers especially her father Bishop Towne; her personal assistant Alicia Sessions; her producer Barry Zeigler and her chief roadie Bobby Prescott.

Kayleigh returns to her hometown Fresno to perform. Attending the concert is Edwin and her friend CBI Agent Kathryn Dance. When a light fixture falls on the head of Prescott, sheriff’s deputy P.K. Madigan leads the investigation that Kathryn Dance joins over the local’s objection. Her efforts to kinetically read Edwin’s body language prove impossible, which means he is innocent of the Prescott incident or insane. She figures out what happens but lacks evidence, enables the stalker to remain free while other dangerous events occur.

The latest Kathryn Dance police procedural (see Roadside Crosses) is an exciting thriller filled with duplicity, double-crosses (too many) and Rhyme and Sachs making brief appearances. The storyline is fast-paced as Dance mentors Madigan on the proper way to investigate while also using her kinetic reading skill. However, there is too many perfidious villains that overwhelm the tale though some may be deceitful and they prove to be red herrings. Overall this is a solid mystery with too many crooks in the kitchen.

-By Harriet Klausner

Amazon Link –


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This entry was posted on June 12, 2012 by in Thriller & Suspense and tagged , , .
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