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.
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 words, Kayleigh now reflected.
I’ll be your shadow. Forever…
Back to 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 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.
The man who had written her hundreds of emails and letters, intimate, delusional, speaking of the like 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.
Copyright © 2012 by Jeffery Deaver
Kayleigh Towne is country music’s latest darling, riding high on the charts with her crossover hit “Your Shadow”. But danger lurks in her shadow: Obsessive fan Edwin Sharp is convinced that her biggest hit was written just for him—and he interprets the “XO” in her autograph as a profession of love.
Over three terrifying days, a string of accidents, threatening calls and mysterious deaths follows the singer. Her team—tough, athletic personal assistant Alicia Sessions; hulking ex-cop bodyguard Darthur Morgan; and besotted head roadie Bobby Prescott—tries to shield her from the stalker, but he never seems to disappear for long.
Fortunately, Kayleigh has a friend in her corner: special agent Kathryn Dance is a music buff through and through, and she’s determined to protect her only celebrity friend. But in her pursuit of Sharp, Dance learns that a stalker’s aptitude for collecting information about his target is equal to her own. And, more troubling, her gift for interpreting body language leads her to suspect that Sharp isn’t the only threat to Kayleigh.
Jeffery Deaver’s latest mystery delves into the dark side of fame, exploring what happens when “everyone’s wanting a piece of your soul.”
Hardcover Book : 448 pages
Publisher: Simon And Schuster, Inc. ( June 12, 2012 )
Item #: 13-546322
Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.25 x 0.875inches
Product Weight: 14.0 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
Never again will pick up anything written by Jeffery Deaver. Flat, uninteresting characters combined with a flat, politically correct. I don't remember ever disliking a book more.
Not one of his best novels. Toomuch blah blah blah details. The story was basically good but he draws it out so much. He couldhave written the book in a hundred pages less. He tried to add twists, but they really didn't work really well in this book.
Reviewer: willaim a
After spending a long hot week in Fresno this summer I picked up this book and thought "the author obviously has NEVER spent any time in Fresno." From there it went down hill. I lost interest and didn't even finish. I couldn't relate to the characters or the story. Did I care that they were interested in Folk Music? Maybe in another book but not this one. Was I feeling sorry for a young singer with a stalker. Not at all. And SPOILER ALERT from the start it was way too obvious something awful would happen to all that beautiful hair. Please it was too much Brittany Spears to ring true. Jeffery Deaver is usually one of my favorite authors. I don't know what happened with this one. Don't waste your time.
I had to force myself to read this book. Boring plot of obsessed fan of a celebrity! Major disappointment.
I gave X O as a gift and I had to wait in line to get it back. Well worth the rave notices and the plot was so realistic. I'm from Fresno and Deaver has the location perfect. Even the supporting characters are real folks. I was spellbound by the telling. I hope there are more stories to return to the San Joaquin Valley.
Reviewer: Suzy R