Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Linda Howard: Shadow Woman

Linda Howard is back with another romantic thriller, where one woman wakes up and realizes that the face in the mirror is not hers:

Lizette Henry wakes up one morning, looks in the mirror and sees a face that is not hers. She remembers what her face should look like and the person staring back at her is someone else’s reflection. To make matters worse she finds that her memory is off and she is missing at least two years of her life and no matter how hard she tries to remember or search for evidence of that time there is nothing about those years. Everything starts just three years prior. Lizette feels like she is only half of herself, they have taken everything away from her, who they is has yet to be determined, but Lizette knows that she is not just being paranoid that she is actually being watched and followed, and all she can think of is that is not my face, what happened to my face. As events happen Lizette is convinced more and more that she is being watched, as she struggles to determine what is true and what is a fabrication? One thing is for sure the past always finds a way to return, even if it something that people will kill to keep hidden.

It has been sometime since I have read a novel by Howard. She used to be on of my go to authors when I really started to become an avid reader, however, I gave up her novels when they became more about sex than actual story. I thought I would give this one a try as I thought the premise sound interesting almost like Howard was trying to do a woman's version of the Bourne Identity and I think in some aspects Howard did succeed but there was a major flaw in the novel for me; Too Much Sex. I was really hoping that Howard's writing style had changed since the last time I read a book by her, but I was sad to discover that this was not the case. Howard start off the book great, the opening prologue would get any reader interested to find out more and where the story is going to lead. However, I do not think that Howard was able to maintain this forward motion because there were too many dream sex and sex scenes, which is what the story became about. They were not short scenes either they were at least 4-6 pages, with minimum of 6-8 sex scenes in the book and when a book is only 300 pages this takes up a lot of room that could have been dedicated to other aspects within the story. Additionally, even outside of the sex scenes all Lizette could think of was the mysterious X and this just added to the overall romance theme within the book, not the suspense/thriller that is promised in the premise.

It was really interesting seeing Lizette discover/rediscover her past and the missing two year and I think that Howard really excelled at showing this process. I liked how Howard gave the reader insight to what was occurring to Lizette mentally as she questions the thoughts that would pop into her head and not understand why her thought process had all of a sudden changed. It was also interesting to see with as the memories came back but also certain acts became second nature to her as well, even though she could not remember ever doing them. Although I did not agree with the amount of sex that Howard put within Lizette’s dreams, I thought this was an interesting way to show the fragmentation of Lizette’s mind as it allowed the reader additional access to be a part of what Lizette was going through.

I did find the ending a little bit strange, the book felt a little incomplete for a stand alone novel. I felt that there were certain issues and characters that went unresolved for some reason, unless Howard was planning on their being a sequel or using the same characters again. It just felt a little bit off to me, but who knows Howard could very well revive some of the characters in come capacity.

I think those who like their romance novels with a side of mystery and thrills will enjoy this book and probably others that have been written by Howard. But if you are looking for a just a mystery or thriller book I would not recommend this book for you. While the premise was interesting and the deconstruction of Lizette and the reconstruction of Lizzy was very interesting this was overshadowed by the constant sex scenes, therefore, the book overall was just not for me.

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