Shadow Woman: A Novel

Shadow Woman - Linda Howard From the moment Lizette Henry looks in the mirror one morning and doesn't recognize her face, this story begins a rather odd and bizarre journey to distinguish between her current existence and an alternate reality. Every time Lizette has thoughts of another point in time that is inconsistent with her present lifestyle, she gets intense, debilitating pains in her head that level her. She can remember beyond three years ago, can remember her childhood up to five years ago, but cannot account for that two-year gap. There's an interesting prologue that provides a clue as to what she may have been involved in but it's still murky. As Lizette starts to remember more things about what was obviously a former self, things start getting dicey and she realizes her life is now at risk. Meanwhile, a black ops agent named Xavier is monitoring the people monitoring Lizette and clearly has her back. I was really engaged in this story, intrigued by this strange puzzle and followed Lizette's thought process as she struggled to figure out what was going on and what happened to those two missing years and why she now has a new face. She was clearly a project being overseen by those in the covert world but typical of those agencies, it wasn't always clear who the good and bad guys were. What detracted from the story was part of what made it interesting in the beginning. It just continued for too long without interaction between the characters. Almost 80% of the story plays out in the heads of Lizette and Xavier, separately, and it took too long for the central scheme to be revealed in the story. I found myself just wishing someone would tell me, even considered jumping to the end to put me out of my misery. By the time Xavier and Lizette connect, the story's almost over, not leaving a whole lot of time for any credible romance between the two. The story is interesting, the intrigue compelling, but the lack of character interplay and a weak romance bog it down somewhat. I would still recommend the book because it kept me engaged and the ending was a bit clever, if not terribly exciting. (I received an ARC from NetGalley)