Friday, December 28, 2012

Shadow Woman by Linda Howard: A Review

Shadow Woman
ARC Provided by Publisher
Shadow Woman: A Novel   by Linda Howard

Hardcover, 336 pages
Expected publication: January 1st 2013 by Ballantine Books

Lizette Henry wakes up one morning and doesn't recognise the reflection staring back at her in the mirror. She isn't suffering from amnesia; she remembers who she is, what she did the day before, her parents, where she grew up - everything. But who she is, is not who she sees. Alarmed, she begins searching her house for something - anything - that will match what she remembers. There is nothing. And yet there is nothing in her life that seems abnormal, except herself. She could be crazy, but her instincts are telling her this isn't the case. Some women might make an appointment with a psychiatrist, but Zette isn't 'some women.' Deep inside she knows she isn't the face in the mirror, and that she has to find out the truth, before it's too late.

When Lizette looks in the mirror one day and thinks who is that woman staring back at me, the carefully crafted exsistence she's been living for the past 3 years begins to crumble piece by piece.  She's been living a very dull life ~ the mundane of work every day, no men, no pets, same routine, and suddenly she's beginning to remember a life very unlike the one she's now living.  A life where she knew how to shoot, how to to hunt people like those that are hunting her.  And she knows THEY are, even though she doesn't know who they are.  Is she crazy?  Paranoid? She begins to look everywhere for suspcious people, and begins to plot and plan to escape...from what, she's not sure, but she knows she must.  The shooting pain and nausea that comes with the flashes of memory are debillatating, so she must over come that and act as if nothing out of the ordinary is going on...and then she see's him.  Mr X.  At Walgreen's, of all places.  But he triggers fantasies and dreams...or are they memories?  WAS there a time when she knew him? 
When she is the victim of an attempted drive by shooting, she knows her paranoia is actually vindicated ~ she SHOULD be scared, and THEY are after her.  As she begins to truly go on the run for her very life, and piece together exactly what it IS she's running from, she wonders where her Mr. X falls into all of this...
OK.  I had to ponder, mull this over and spit it back out a few times before I wrote this.  I LOVE Linda Howard.  I've totally said that before, oh, a dozen or so times.  That said, you have to know the woman's writing is always a hit with me.  She just WRITES so amazingly well.  BUT...and this is a big but here.  With her last few single titles she's gotten further and further away from the romance...yeah, you can't say entirely, because the ELEMENTS are there, but not that amazing feeling she used to give me with her interacting between hero and heroine.  I read this on my Kindle Fire ~ hero and heroine didn't get face time until 71%.  Yup, that's right.  Yes, they knew each other in the past.  Yes, they were lovers...BUT she didn't remember that.  She was scared to death, literally, of him up to the second she boinked his brains out after running across a field in fear for her life from him.  Sigh.  This one gave me shades of Son of The Morning.  Not the plot, but the whole dreamscape and no face time...I liked the story.  I love LH's writing.  I WANT romance from her books ~ it's totally why I love her.  This wasn't it.  She could have just as easily left the relationship out entirely and the story would have stood as a damn good story on it's own. 
I know there were plot holes, but heh, it's fiction, and I thought it was edge of your seat great for the damn lack of romance.  I long for the days of Dream Man or Open Season.  Maybe!!  One can the mean time, if you love suspense, you'll love this one!  Just don't go in hoping for that trademark sizzle, spark and magic between hero and heroine, because even if it WAS there, you wouldn't have enough time to revel in it! 


  1. Thanks for the review. Maybe I'll skip this one.

  2. Thanks for the review - I've noticed that Linda's books are really becoming more romantic suspense with less romance than in the past - you think Dream Man and I think Mackenzie's's still a very gifted writer so I'll give this one a chance and see what I feel