XO: Book 3 (Kathryn Dance Thrillers)

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9780340937310: XO: Book 3 (Kathryn Dance Thrillers)

From the international #1 bestselling author—a sensational thriller in which a beautiful young star is stalked by an obsessive fan who thinks her big hit song was written just for him.

Kayleigh Towne’s music 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.

Speeding along over just three short days, this nail-biting thriller is filled with terrifying twists that will hold readers in rapt suspense until the final shocking revelation.

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About the Author:

Jeffery Deaver, a former attorney, is the New York Times bestselling author of two collections of short stories and dozens of previous suspense novels. He is best known for his Kathryn Dance and Lincoln Rhyme thrillers, most notably The Bone Collector, which was made into a feature starring Denzel Washington and Angelina Jolie. His many awards include the Novel of the Year at the International Thriller Writers’ Awards in 2009 for his standalone novel The Bodies Left Behind. The latest entries in the Lincoln Rhyme series are The Cold Moon, The Broken Window, and The Burning Wire. Visit the author on Facebook or go to JefferyDeaver.com.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Chapter 1

THE HEART OF a concert hall is people.

And when the vast space is dim and empty, as this one was at the moment, a venue can bristle with impatience, indifference.

Even hostility.

Okay, rein in that imagination, Kayleigh Towne told herself. Stop acting like a kid. Standing on the wide, scuffed stage of the Fresno Conference Center’s main hall, she surveyed the place once more, bringing her typically hypercritical eye to the task of preparing for Friday’s concert, considering and reconsidering lighting and stage movements and where the members of the band should stand and sit. Where best to walk out near, though not into, the crowd and touch hands and blow kisses. Where best acoustically to place the foldback speakers—the monitors that were pointed toward the band so they could hear themselves without echoes or distortion. Many performers now used earbuds for this; Kayleigh liked the immediacy of traditional foldbacks.

There were a hundred other details to think about. She believed that every performance should be perfect, more than perfect. Every audience deserved the best. One hundred ten percent.

She had, after all, grown up in Bishop Towne’s shadow.

An unfortunate choice of word, Kayleigh now reflected.

I’ll be your shadow. Forever....

Back to the planning. This show had to be different from the previous one here, about eight months ago. A retooled program was especially important since many of the fans would have regularly attended her hometown concerts and she wanted to make sure they got something unexpected. That was one thing about Kayleigh Towne’s music; her audiences weren’t as big as some but were loyal as golden retrievers. They knew her lyrics cold, knew her guitar licks, knew her moves onstage and laughed at her shtick before she finished the lines. They lived and breathed her performances, hung on her words, knew her bio and likes and dislikes.

And some wanted to know much more ...

With that thought, her heart and gut clenched as if she’d stepped into Hensley Lake in January.

Thinking about him, of course.

Then she froze, gasping. Yes, someone was watching her from the far end of the hall! Where none of the crew would be.

Shadows were moving.

Or was it her imagination? Or maybe her eyesight? Kayleigh had been given perfect pitch and an angelic voice but God had decided enough was enough and skimped big-time on the vision. She squinted, adjusted her glasses. She was sure that someone was hiding, rocking back and forth in the doorway that led to the storage area for the concession stands.

Then the movement stopped.

She decided it wasn’t movement at all and never had been. Just a hint of light, a suggestion of shading.

Though still, she heard a series of troubling clicks and snaps and groans—from where, she couldn’t tell—and felt a chill of panic bubble up her spine.

Him ...

The man who had written her hundreds of emails and letters, intimate, delusional, speaking of the life they could share together, asking for a strand of hair, a fingernail clipping. The man who had somehow gotten near enough at a dozen shows to take close-up pictures of Kayleigh, without anyone ever seeing him. The man who had possibly—though it had never been proven—slipped into the band buses or motor homes on the road and stolen articles of her clothing, underwear included.

The man who had sent her dozen of pictures of himself: shaggy hair, fat, in clothing that looked unwashed. Never obscene but, curiously, the images were all the more disturbing for their familiarity. They were the shots a boyfriend would text her from a trip.

Him ...

Her father had recently hired a personal bodyguard, a huge man with a round, bullet-shaped head and an occasional curly wire sprouting from his ear to make clear what his job was. But Darthur Morgan was outside at the moment, making the rounds and checking cars. His security plan also included a nice touch: simply being visible so that potential stalkers would turn around and leave rather than risk a confrontation with a 250-pound man who looked like a rapper with an attitude (which, sure enough, he’d been in his teen years).

She scanned the recesses of the hall again—the best place he might stand and watch her. Then gritting her teeth in anger at her fear and mostly at her failure to tame the uneasiness and distraction, she thought, Get. Back. To. Work.

And what’re you worried about? You’re not alone. The band wasn’t in town yet—they were finishing some studio work in Nashville—but Bobby was at the huge Midas XL8 mixing console dominating the control deck in the back of the hall, two hundred feet away. Alicia was getting the rehearsal rooms in order. A couple of the beefy guys in Bobby’s road crew were unpacking the truck in the back, assembling and organizing the hundreds of cases and tools and props and plywood sheets and stands and wires and amps and instruments and computers and tuners—the tons of gear that even modest touring bands like Kayleigh’s needed.

She supposed one of them could get to her in a hurry if the source of the shadow had been him.

Dammit, quit making him more than he is! Him, him, him, like you’re even afraid to say his name. As if to utter it would conjure up his presence.

She’d had other obsessed fans, plenty of them—what gorgeous singer-songwriter with a voice from heaven wouldn’t collect a few inappropriate admirers? She’d had twelve marriage proposals from men she’d never met, three from women. A dozen couples wanted to adopt her, thirty or so teen girls wanted to be her best friend, a thousand men wanted to buy her a drink or dinner at Bob Evans or the Mandarin Oriental ... and there’d been plenty of invitations to enjoy a wedding night without the inconvenience of a wedding. Hey Kayleigh think on it cause Ill show you a good time better than you ever had and by the by heres a picture of what you can expect yah its really me not bad huh???

(Very stupid idea to send a picture like that to a seventeen-year-old, Kayleigh’s age at the time. By the by.)

Usually she was cautiously amused by the attention. But not always and definitely not now. Kayleigh found herself snagging her denim jacket from a nearby chair and pulling it on to cover her T-shirt, providing another barrier to any prying eyes. This, despite the characteristic September heat in Fresno, which filled the murky venue like thin stew.

And more of those clicks and taps from nowhere.

“Kayleigh?”

She turned quickly, trying to hide her slight jump, even though she recognized the voice.

A solidly built woman of around thirty paused halfway across the stage. She had cropped red hair and some subdued inking on arms, shoulders and spine, partly visible thanks to her trim tank top and tight, hip-hugging black jeans. Fancy cowboy boots. “Didn’t mean to scare you. You okay?”

“You didn’t. What’s up?” she asked Alicia Sessions.

A nod toward the iPad she carried. “These just came in. Proofs for the new posters? If we get them to the printer today we’ll definitely have them by the show. They look okay to you?”

Kayleigh bent over the screen and examined them. Music nowadays is only partly about music, of course. Probably always has been, she supposed, but it seemed that as her popularity had grown, the business side of her career took up a lot more time than it used to. She didn’t have much interest in these matters but she generally didn’t need to. Her father was her manager, Alicia handled the day-to-day paperwork and scheduling, the lawyers read the contracts, the record company made arrangements with the recording studios and the CD production companies and the retail and download outlets; her longtime producer and friend at BHRC Records, Barry Zeigler, handled the technical side of arranging and production, and Bobby and the crew set up and ran the shows.

All so that Kayleigh Towne could do what she did best: write songs and sing them.

Still, one business matter of interest to her was making sure fans—many of them young or without much money—could buy cheap but decent memorabilia to make the night of the concert that much more special. Posters like this one, T-shirts, key chains, bracelets, charms, guitar chord books, headbands, backpacks ... and mugs, for the moms and dads driving the youngsters to and from the shows and, of course, often buying the tickets, as well.

She studied the proofs. The image was of Kayleigh and her favorite Martin guitar—not a big dreadnought-size but a smaller, 000-18, ancient, with a crisp yellowing spruce top and a voice of its own. The photo was the inside picture from her latest album, Your Shadow.

Him ...

No, don’t.

Eyes scanning the doors again.

“You sure you’re okay?” Alicia asked, voice buzzing with a faint Texas twang.

“Yeah.” Kayleigh returned to the poster proofs, which all featured the same photo though with different type, messages and background. Her picture was a straight-on shot, depicting her much as she saw herself: at five-two, shorter than she would have liked, her face a bit long, but with stunning blue eyes, lashes that wouldn’t quit and lips that had some reporters talking collagen. As if ... Her trademark golden hair, four feet long—and no, not cut, only trimmed, in ten years and four months—flowed in the fake gentle breeze from the photographer’s electric fan. Designer jeans and high-collared dark-red blouse. A small diamond crucifix.

“You gotta give the fans the package,” Bishop Towne always said. “That’s visual too, I’m talking. And the standards’re different...

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Book Description Hodder Stoughton General Division, United Kingdom, 2012. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. The third Kathryn Dance novel from Number One bestseller Jeffery Deaver.Kayleigh Towne is a beautiful and successful singer-songwriter, and Edwin Sharp is her biggest fan. When she replies to one of his fan letters with XO , Edwin is convinced she loves him, and that her latest hit song Your Shadow was written for him. Nothing Kayleigh or her lawyers can say persuades him otherwise.Then the singer gets an anonymous phone call; it s the first verse of Your Shadow playing. Soon after, one of the crew is horribly murdered. Kayleigh s friend Kathryn Dance, a special agent with the California Bureau of Investigation, knows that stalking crimes are not one-off occurrences, and, sure enough, more verses of the song are played as warnings of death to follow. With a little help from forensic criminalist Lincolyn Rhyme, Dance must use her kinesic and investigative skills in an attempt to find the killer before more people die.Deaver has written the actual song, Your Shadow . Readers will be able to download it from. Bookseller Inventory # AA69780340937310

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Book Description Hodder Stoughton General Division, United Kingdom, 2012. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. The third Kathryn Dance novel from Number One bestseller Jeffery Deaver.Kayleigh Towne is a beautiful and successful singer-songwriter, and Edwin Sharp is her biggest fan. When she replies to one of his fan letters with XO , Edwin is convinced she loves him, and that her latest hit song Your Shadow was written for him. Nothing Kayleigh or her lawyers can say persuades him otherwise.Then the singer gets an anonymous phone call; it s the first verse of Your Shadow playing. Soon after, one of the crew is horribly murdered. Kayleigh s friend Kathryn Dance, a special agent with the California Bureau of Investigation, knows that stalking crimes are not one-off occurrences, and, sure enough, more verses of the song are played as warnings of death to follow. With a little help from forensic criminalist Lincolyn Rhyme, Dance must use her kinesic and investigative skills in an attempt to find the killer before more people die.Deaver has written the actual song, Your Shadow . Readers will be able to download it from. Bookseller Inventory # AA69780340937310

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