AUTHOR: JEFFREY DEAVER
Details: no. 3 Kathryn Dance
Kayleigh Towne is a young and successful singer song-writer getting ready for a concert in her home town of Fresno. Kathryn Dance is off duty and in Fresno to record some Mexican musicians as part of her song-catching project. She is also there to see her friend Kayleigh perform. But, what should have been a nice week of music and relaxing soon turns into a nightmare when Kayleigh receives an anonymous phone call, playing the first verse of “Your Shadow”, one of her songs. When shortly afterwards one of Kayleigh’s entourage is found dead in the theatre were they had been practicing, killed in a way that closely resembles the lyrics of that verse, the local authorities start an investigation. And Kathryn Dance, while not in Fresno in her professional capacity, worms her way into the investigation.
Soon it becomes clear that Kayleigh has a stalker, Edwin Sharp, who is in Fresno as well. And while Edwin does nothing to disguise his interest in Kayleigh, there is absolutely no evidence to suggest that he had anything to do with the death of the sound technician. And then a second message comes, containing the second verse of “Your Shadow” and a race is on, not only to try and prevent more deaths, but also to discover who is behind the messages and the violence.
Kathryn Dance is up against it though. She may be an expert when it comes to reading body language and behaviour, she is also well aware that people with a stalker mentality are notoriously hard, if not impossible, to read.
And is Edwin really the one behind the murders, or is somebody using his obsession with Kayleigh to set him up while pursuing their own agenda?
What can I possibly say about a Jeffrey Deaver thriller that I haven’t said at least ten times before? As always Deaver has written a thrilling page-turner that keeps the reader guessing almost until the very last page. Every time we think that we know what is going on, what exactly is happening and who is responsible, a new twist is introduced and suddenly nothing is as it seemed. And, more importantly, all the twists are plausible. Deaver doesn’t trick the reader by suddenly introducing new characters or revelations that the reader could never have guessed at. Quite the opposite; every twist is not only believable, it is, at the time of introduction, apparently the only possible and logical conclusion.
What I really enjoyed about this book was the combination of music and mystery. Since I have a singer-songwriter daughter of my own, be it nowhere near as successful as Kayleigh in the story, as well as a sound technician husband, I recognised all the musical references. And, again because of that daughter, the whole stalker theme sent shivers up my spine. This story hit very close to home.
I like the character of Kathryn Dance. I’m fascinated her specialisation, Kinesics – body language analysis. It brings a whole new dynamic to the mystery genre. I also enjoy the way Deaver brings Lincoln Rhyme and Amelia Sachs into the Kathryn Dance mysteries. They may only be cameo appearances, but for me they do give added value to the stories.
Jeffrey Deaver not only tells a good story, he also writes it very well. His writing is so smooth and engaging that I find myself flying through the pages without being aware of time passing. I start reading one of his stories and when I next look up I discover that I’m more than half way through the book and nowhere near ready to put it down. Now that I’m all caught up with Deaver’s books again I find myself almost counting the days until the next Lincoln Rhyme’s mystery will be published.