Monday, June 25, 2012

Book Review: XO by Jeffery Deaver

I will start by saying that XO is so far the best installment in the Kathryn Dance series.

I’m sure everybody knows what XO means so I’d better cut to the chase. Kinesics behavior specialist and traditional music enthusiast Kathryn Dance takes a few days off from her job at the California Bureau of Investigation and heads out into the countryside to record the work of some not so famous musicians from Mexico.

At first everything seems to work out fine for her. She finds her musicians, she records their songs and starts going through them to decide which ones will end up on her website, from which users worldwide can download them for a fee, most of which ends up in the pockets of the musicians themselves.

However, as one would expect, where Dance goes trouble follows, or in this case precedes her. As she arrives in Fresno where she’s scheduled to meet her good friend and country-pop music idol, Kayleigh Towne, she finds out that the latter is in trouble.

A man that goes by the name of Edwin Sharp, and who’s been stalking her for a long time, is in town and the woman feels really scared. Things get even worse when one of her technicians turns up dead, in what at first looks like an accident but is later ruled as a homicide.

Dance is fast to the scene of the crime, but the locals don’t really make her feel welcome there. Kayleigh is the little town’s star and they are willing to do anything to help her out, but that doesn’t include enlisting Dance’s services.

The main suspect for the crime is of course Sharp, whom they call in for a friendly chat, which doesn’t really help their case. The latter is not only sharp by name and at the point where they think they can break him they achieve nothing. Even Kathryn, who’s observing uninvited from behind the mirrored wall, cannot get a read on the man. He’s either extremely clever and has the situation under control or, unlikely as it may sound, he’s innocent.

The local cops really don’t know what to do with the situation, but there’s at least one thing they are certain about: they don’t want anyone messing with their case and with their town’s most precious child.

As one would expect sooner rather than later things will start getting ugly and they’ll mess up big, time and again; so, like to or not, they’ll have to ask for some help. By that time though things will become so complicated that no one, including Dance, will be able to tell for sure what’s really going on.

All the leads they have show Sharp is the perp, but there’s no real evidence to back up their suspicions. What if more than one person is involved in the case? And who would be clever enough to pull it off without raising any red alerts?

As the questions accumulate the answers become all the harder to find. And that’s exactly when the helper decides that she also needs some help so, in comes the cavalry, in the faces of Lincoln Rhyme and Amelia Sachs.

This a very good thriller that comes along with the lyrics of a whole album written by the author, who, right now, as I’m reading in the web, is on tour performing with singer Treva Blomquist.

If there wasn’t a twist too many I would have given this five stars, but it’s a great read anyway.

No comments: