In honor of St-Valentine’s day, this month’s Book Review focuses on a story about love. Though not a romance, this mystery novel does take a look at adoration taken to the point of obsession. The book is called simply XO, and is written by suspense master Jeffery Deaver.
February snuck up on me this year, so I had few options for a book I felt would fit the month’s most popular holiday. However, while looking through my box of books, I came across the title XO (as in ‘’hugs and kisses’’). The stories theme seemed to work for my purposes, so I chose it for my next book review.
The story features Agent Kathryn Dance from the California Bureau of Investigation, on a mission to stop obsessive stalker Edwin Sharp from attacking Kayleigh Towne, a beautiful young country/pop singer. Despite Towne’s clear rejection, Edwin remains convinced that Kayleigh’s song “Your Shadow” contains a message that speak directly to him. Just as Sharp makes an ominous appearance in town, a fatal accident occurs at the concert hall where Kayleigh Towns is rehearsing, killing a member of the country star’s road crew. Agent Kathryn Dance, a personal friend of Kayleigh’s, uses her skills at investigation and body-language analysis to stop the stalker and prevent further murders.
Back of the Book:
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, and when California Bureau of Investigation Agent Kathryn Dance intervenes on the singer’s behalf, she draws the admirer’s ominous attention herself. Then a member of Kayleigh’s road crew is murdered in an eerie echo of her chant-topping song. As Kathryn Dance races to stop the stalker with her considerable skills of investigation and body-language analysis, she soon discovers that Kayleigh has more than one frightening fan with a mission...
What I learned:
- To be or not to be: The story’s antagonist, Edwin Sharp, was suspected of the crime since the very beginning. Normally this would defeat the purpose of a mystery, but the author still managed to get his audience to question Sharp’s innocence throughout. The simple fact Edwin had been pointed out as the main suspect at the beginning of the story, made me think he couldn't possibly be the killer as it would remove any mystery.
- Smoke and mirrors: To further help put Edwin’s innocence into question, the author placed other suspects into play, which were only revealed much later in the story. This timing leads the readers to believe that these are much likelier candidates for the crime.
- Frame game: Finding clues that point to a suspect is the fun part of any mystery, but being lead on a wild goose chase is even more challenging. In this instance, not once, but two times are people framed by another suspect. I must admit, I was taken off guard by the tactics the author used to hide his true antagonist.
Jeffery Deaver is an American mystery/crime writer, and has novels that appeared on bestseller lists around the world, including The New York Times, The Times, and The Los Angeles Times. Before becoming a best-selling novelist, his other professions included journalist, practicing law folksinger/lyricist.
For those interested in reading more books from Jeffery Deaver, please check out his website and wiki description, where you can find a complete listing of his published works and all other pertinent information:
In closing, I would like to thank my readers for all encouragement they have shown me since the beginning. Their support is truly appreciated.
Until next time!