Saturday, September 7, 2013

Shadow Woman by Linda Howard

Synopsis: Lizette Henry wakes up one morning and makes a terrifying discovery: She doesn’t recognize the face she sees in the mirror. She remembers what she looks like, but her reflection is someone else’s. To add to the shock, two years seem to have disappeared from her life. Someone has gone to great and inexplicable lengths to keep those missing years hidden forever. But the past always finds a way to return.

Strange memories soon begin to surface and, along with them, some unusual skills and talents that Lizette hasn’t a clue about acquiring. Sensing that she’s being monitored, Lizette suddenly knows how to search for bugs in her house and tracking devices in her car. What’s more, she can elude surveillance—like a trained agent.

Enter a mysterious and seductive stranger named Xavier, who claims he wants to help—but who triggers disturbing images of an unspeakable crime of which Lizette may or may not be the perpetrator. With memories returning, she suddenly becomes a target of anonymous assassins. On the run with nowhere to hide, Lizette has no choice but to rely on Xavier, a strong and magnetic man she doesn’t trust, with a powerful attraction she cannot resist. As murky waters become clear, Lizette confronts a conspiracy that is treacherous and far-reaching and a truth that, once revealed, may silence her and Xavier once and for all.

My Thoughts: While I was a little disappointed in the lack of romance I found myself completely involved in Lizzy's newly discovered memories. The more she remembered the more I enjoyed her.

What Worked: The prologue did an excellent job of opening up the book and setting a nice pace for the book. Although political intrigues do not interest me much I was pleasantly surprised that even though the setting is Washington DC and the prologue has the president and first lady in it, the book itself is not about politics but about Lizzy who is trying to figure out why she is missing 2 years worth of memories.

As Lizzy remembers more and more it becomes evident that she is a woman who can certainly take care of herself. In addition the scenes depicting Xavier make him as interesting if not more so than Lizzy herself.

Although the book does tend to lag while Lizzy works out her memory loss once the book got to the half way mark it was no holds bar and took off like a shot. We have multiple teams sent in to kill our heroine and hero and we have a couple secondary characters that could be the bad guys but maybe not. For all Lizzy knows she is actually a bad guy herself. 

What Didn't Work: The prologue set a nice pace but the book came almost to a screeching halt while Lizzy battled with physical ailments to her returning memory. So the first half of the book's pacing was just slow, interesting, but slow.

The book also had a serious lack of romance. Sure there was sex but the characters weren't even together through most of the book and Lizzy's memories are so spotty that it was hard to accept Lizzy and Xavier's romance. This book would have worked just as well without the romantic element to it.

Carrying on that train of thought, the lack of interaction between the characters worked against the book. Since they were not together at all through the first 3/4 of the book I'd expect that they would spend the last quarter of the book together conquering evil or whatever. Yet, this is not what happens and we find the couple separated once again (although briefly) while Xavier goes about his super secret self appointed missions regarding Al and Felice.

Another thing that comes up a bit murky as how Lizzy's memory was wiped. The book mentions chemically altering memories but it does not explain the procedure only that Lizzy was the third person to have it done.

In a Nutshell: Howard did manage to keep my interest throughout the book because I really liked Lizzy and her change from a mousy girl to a kick butt woman. I was intrigued by Xavier also but wished he would have had more interaction with Lizzy. However, a believable romantic storyline would have been nice.


Berls said...

I hadn't heard of this one, but I'm curious now. It sounds like the MC is my kind of character, but the lack of romance is disappointing. I'll have to put in on my tbr to see what I think sometime. Great review.

Christina said...

I thought she grew into a very worthy character Berls and if you go into the book knowing that the first half drags and there isn't a great romance you might enjoy it. Thanks for reading the review and commenting.