Friday, 2 August 2013

XO by Jeffery Deaver

I am doing the A to Z Reading Challenge and Crime Fiction Alphabet this year, and there aren't really many choices for a book that starts with X, let alone a Crime book. Last year I read XPD, though I never got around reviewing it. So this year it is XO.

Kayleigh Towne, a country pop-star, is plagued by a stalker, Edwin Sharp, a guy who had taken the XO in her email seriously, and becomes her shadow like her song "Your Shadow". When people associated with her start dying, Special Agent Kathryn Dance, a friend of Kayleigh Townie, who is also an expert in kinesics, starts looking for the killer. Is the stalker the killer? The killer is using one of Kayleigh's songs as a reference for his killings.

The story started off as a decent thriller. Either the stalker is the killer or he is not. And at one point Kathryn Dance catches the killer and the case is closed. It happens all of a sudden without any build-up. That was the point when I went 'What?!'. This is not even halfway through the book, we know that there is more to come, but from that point I was glued to the book and more such jaw-dropping twists follow. I do love the twists and turns and surprises even if there are too many coincidences.

I wonder if the kinesics, analysis of body-language thing, is bit of an inside joke. Kathryn Dance for all her kinesics is not only able to judge if the stalker is telling the truth, but misses other signals too. She is not much of a judge in her own personal life too. The reason being that while in professional life she uses kinesics all the time, in her personal life she switches it off. Can you switch off something you are so attuned to?

Kayleigh Towne is a singer songwriter, so the author does not just give a glimpse into one or two of her songs, not just the song the killer is using to kill, but writes the lyrics for the whole lot of songs in context of her life. The songs give a glimpse to the kind of girl Kayleigh is, what is important to her and what is not and what she is. Music plays a major role in this book also because the protagonists is a singer-songwriter, Special Agent Kathryn Dance not just hunts killers but also constantly on the lookout for unknown folk singers and hosts a website where some of her new finds are featured. Lincoln Rhyme who I believe is one of Deaver's regulars makes a brief appearance giving some interesting insight into forensics.

This is the first book by Jeffery Deaver I read, and I do look forward to read his other books if the twists and turns keep coming. Musical thriller with plenty of twists and turns! Oh! Never sign your email with XO, you never know who is going to literally interpret it and start stalking you!

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