Author: Linda Howard
Genre: Romantic Suspense
My Copy: ARC via LibraryThing’s Early Reviewers Program
Add to: Goodreads
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.
I’ve always wanted to read Linda Howard’s books, but I’ve never had the chance to do so. When the opportunity came to review Shadow Woman via LibraryThing’s Early Reviewers Program, I couldn’t pass up the chance to finally read an author I’ve been wanting to. Unfortunately, Howard’s Shadow Woman falls short.
Character development is a little weak. We have Lizette Henry who pretty much lives a predictable life. For the past three years she’s never done anything out of character until she’s forced to call in sick. Even when we find out who Lizzy is, we aren’t given much information regarding her past. I wanted a little more to fully understand her. Despite this, she’s a likeable character and you care about her fate. Then we have Xavier, he’s a bit of mystery, but it’s pretty easy to understand what type of man he is. He’s one who takes his job to protect very seriously. We have several secondary characters that are important including a neighbor of Lizzy’s who may or may not be working on behalf of Xavier.
Narration is third person and a quick note on it: there’s hardly any conversation between the characters for a good chunk of the book. At times, it was boring and you can’t skip or skim any of the text because if you do, you’ll easily miss a vital fact. I understand why Howard did this because otherwise there is no suspense or mystery to uncovering Lizzy’s past and as readers we are on the journey to find out alongside Lizzy. I give Howard props for setting things up this way; however, it falls short because as I mentioned it can get boring at times. And as for the actual conversation, when it’s held, not many clues are given and we have to keep on reading to find out what is going on.
I debated with the rating between a two and three and in the end, decided on a two because while there’s nothing with the writing (it’s solid and Howard doesn’t leave anything unanswered), my problem with the book is that for about 75% of the novel, it’s all narrative with very few conversations taking place among the characters. By the time we get answers as to why Lizzie is a central target, I pretty much stopped caring. In fact, it was painful to finish the final pages because of this. Furthermore, it’s difficult to believe someone’s entire memory could be wiped out without anticipating the consequences.
Overall, Linda Howard’s Shadow Woman was a miss for me and I’m not sure if I’m willing to try her backlist. If you’re a fan of Howard’s books, you might want to skip this one.