Apologies, I am still recovering from being sick and all I feel right now is ire towards this book. The book totally muffs the ending and that lost all of my goodwill towards it at that point. Question for you ladies? Would you go out to eat with your stalker even if he somehow saved you from being killed? Yeah, yeah, I have to say that this is actually something that occurs during this insane book. And I have to actually use spoilers, because I am too tired to talk around how problematic I found this whole thing from beginning to end.
In Deaver's third Kathryn Dance book "XO", Dance takes a mini-vacation and goes to a concert of a friend of hers, Kayleigh Towne. Kayleigh is in her 20s and is coming up the country music charts. She also has a stalker. Kayleigh who always signs her emails and pictures of her with an "xo" has a man that determines that Kayleigh is just speaking directly to him and she is in love with him. When an accident and then a murder occur around Kayleigh days before her concert, Dance gets involved and hopes she can do what is necessary in order to prevent Kayleigh from being killed.
I have been reading this series and I can count now only in one book where we really truly get to see Dance use her body language skills from beginning to end. She doesn't really use them here, and I have to say that Dance for being so great at her job once again just ignores what's right in front of her. That's three times now she actually got lied to and played by the real bad guy. I just don't know if I have energy for a fourth book or should I cut my losses.
Dance also goes back and forth about what is going on with her relationship with a dude that does not sound attractive at all that we meet from the last book. But she's still thinking about her work colleague and then kisses him, but you know, feels torn.
It has now been three books and in all three books she is still obsessing about her work colleague Mike, whose wife has left him and their kids. At this point, if I were Mike, I would be done with her, but I have a bad feeling that some more mess will occur in the fourth book.
We get appearances by Rhyme and Sachs in this one. It didn't help. I honestly wish Deaver had shown them at Dance's home interacting with her family instead of them popping in to help her with this case.
The truly aggravating part though is that Deaver doesn't seem to know what to do with Kayleigh. We get a ridiculous reveal about her that didn't add up at all. And then even though she has been stalked by a man who shows up in town and won't leave her alone. She somehow stupidly agrees to go to lunch with the guy after the fact because he saved her (she thinks) from being murdered and going up in a fire. I mean I would be all yes thanks dude, but you still stalked me so stay the hell away. But you know, this book goes bygones. Another thing that doesn't work is that Deaver at the end has it that you think maybe though Kayleigh will finally be strong enough to break away from her bullying father who made her lie and took away so much from her, but nope. she's right back there again to deal with him.
The writing was not that tight in this one. We have Dance dealing with locals who don't want her butting in. But of course we get to see how not prepared they are to deal with the man who they identify as Kayleigh's stalker. Everything about the guy pushed my spidey sense. So when we find out in the end he was responsible for some murders and used other people to finally kidnap Kayleigh and "marry" her (ie had plans to rape her and make her love him) I was fresh out of patience for everyone involved.
And the lyrics to the songs was terrible. I was sick of re-reading them over and over again while getting through this book. Deaver tries a whole thing that Kayleigh's stalker or other people are using the lyrics to plan murders, but you don't need to keep reprinting them all through the book.
The ending was a mess and then Deaver just goes and publishes the "songs" for this book and after glancing at them quickly I just put this book aside.