Title: Shadow Woman
Author: Linda Howard
Publisher: Piatkus, 2013
Lizzy's life is so boring and ordinary it borders on being freakishly weird because of its plainness. She has a run-of-the-mill office job, and is such a slave to routine that she appears to be more a placeholder than a person.
That’s until she looks in the mirror one morning and doesn’t recognise the face that gazes back at her. And so it begins. Slowly, Lizzy’s memories begin seeping back, and she realises that her entire life for the past two years has been a lie and that she has massive blanks in her memory. The only thing she’s sure of is that she’s had training in evasive driving and weapons, and has a suspicion that her life must have been very different from what it is now.
Bourne Identity much?
We’re introduced to Xavier, the male protagonist. He clearly knows what went on in Lizzy’s life before the amnesia. But I was frustrated whenever I dipped into his point of view, because I felt the author wrote the character in such a way to be deliberately mysterious and evasive – a bit of a cheap trick to create suspense.
Granted, there’s a hint in the prologue, but it’s not enough. Pacing for Shadow Woman was an issue. Most of the novel is spent with Lizzy involved in rather mundane acts. I understand that the author wished to show a gradual unfolding of her character’s self-discovery.
But by the time the real action started, the book was almost finished. I almost gain the impression that she rushed the ending as she was chasing a word count rather than developing a suitably fabulous climax. Which I expected. But didn’t get.
The plot tied up too conveniently, and I feel the characters did not develop their story arcs completely. I expected a showdown with a big bang and all I got was a whimper.
Another aspect that bothered me was the premise. I struggled to suspend disbelief as to why Lizzy was placed in her situation when a bullet would have provided a simpler, tidier (though less pleasing) option. But if you can look past the flawed premise, this novel is still a fun read in the romantic suspense genre.