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 . . .
This nail-biting thriller from suspense master Jeffery Deaver speeds along over just three short days, filled with terrifying twists that will keep readers held in rapt suspense until the final shocking revelation.
About Jeffery Deaver
Jeffery Deaver is the international, #1 bestselling author of more than twenty-seven suspense novels, including The Bone Collector, which was made into a film starring Denzel Washington. He lives in North Carolina.
Edwin Sharp really likes Kayleigh Towne. Since receiving the computer-generated email thanking him for his interest in her, he’s written back 50 times, effortlessly dodging the attempts of her protective staff to throw him off her scent. He knows everything about her and her entourage—her father and mentor, Bishop Towne; her assistant, Alicia Sessions; her producer, Barry Zeigler; and her chief roadie Bobby Prescott—so of course he’s on hand, all courtesy and insinuating smiles, when she returns to her hometown of Fresno for a concert. Kayleigh’s old friend Kathryn Dance (Roadside Crosses, 2009, etc.), who also happens to be on hand, can’t read Edwin’s body language: He’s either completely honest or completely delusional. But she can’t resist elbowing her way into the investigation bullheaded sheriff’s deputy P.K. Madigan launches when a heavy lighting fixture just happens to brain Bobby late one night. Kathryn soon sets Madigan straight about what happened to that errant light and how to conduct a proper interrogation. In the absence of any hard evidence against Edwin, however, the sheriff’s office has to let him go, and the violence escalates. Fans of Deaver’s celebrated sleuthing marathons will wait with bated breath as this onion is peeled to disclose multiple layers of deception, betrayal and triple crosses. This time, though, the surprises, driven by Deaver’s constant determination to outdo himself, seem both over-galvanized and uninspired. Deaver has to call in his main man, quadriplegic criminalist Lincoln Rhyme (The Burning Wire, 2010, etc.), to run the forensics that yield a crucial clue. The bevy of criminals working independently and at serious cross-purposes is not to be believed. And the ending is his most conventional in years. – Kirkus Reviews
Hopelessly Devoted - ‘XO,’ by Jeffery Deaver, and More
The New York Times Book Review – June 29, 2012 (Excerpt)
Jeffery Deaver is a man of many skills. And XO (Simon & Schuster, $26.99), a heart-in-mouth thriller about a country-pop star being stalked by an obsessive fan, owes a great deal to one of them — his previous career as a folk musician, a vocation Deaver hasn’t entirely given up. He wrote the lyrics to the country-western songs that figure in the story, and he’s given his informed passion for country music to many of his characters.
Deaver’s personal avatar in the novel is Kayleigh Towne, a successful if unassuming singer-songwriter who has attracted the attention of a stalker named Edwin Sharp. “Your Shadow,” the featured track on Kayleigh’s new album, was, he believes, written especially for him. “I’ll be your shadow,” he writes in one of his mash notes. “Forever.”
As if that sick devotion weren’t creepy enough, Sharp has the unnerving ability to see through walls and read minds. Or so it seems when he turns up in Fresno, where Kayleigh is due to give a special concert for her hometown fans. Somehow, he manages to anticipate her every move, showing up at her home, at closed rehearsals backstage at the theater — even at her favorite bar.
Celebrity stalkers like Sharp are delusional, but rarely violent. So when the chief techie in Kayleigh’s road crew is killed in a horrific onstage “accident,” the singer turns to her friend Kathryn Dance, an agent with the California Bureau of Investigation and a dedicated “songcatcher” who travels to rural areas recording the local folk music. [Read the full article...]
THE BLEEDING HILLS A Novel by Wilfried F. Voss
I have fought a good fight,
I have finished my course,
I have kept the faith. - 2 Timothy iv. 7
The Irish War is officially a part of history, but not for Finnean Whelan, an IRA veteran of almost 40 years. British Intelligence has produced evidence that he is the mastermind behind a conspiracy to assassinate the First Minister of Northern Ireland. For Whelan this is not only a mission of revenge, but marks the beginning of a journey into the past and the return to the one true love: Ireland. [More...]
We are the only country that makes guns, including military-style assault weapons, available to anyone who wants to buy them. This is not freedom. It is a tyranny of death and destruction — a tyranny of which the National Rifle Association is proud. The Washington Post
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