Top positive review
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Ms Howard has re-entered the building after a short absence. BUT, please update your bio!
on 27 January 2013
In recent years, LH books such as Up Close And Dangerous (which mentions 'an increasing body count', yet not one person died in the book, LOL!), Ice (which mentioned 'a killer in the woods', when there were at least 2), Burn (I wish the book, and the leads, had), Prey (where we found out about not only a Grizzly's meals, but his thoughts about the hiker that he'd spotted and planned on making dessert from!), have been nothing but - pardon the pun - a shadow of this once-great author, but with this one, I'm hoping we'll be seeing a return of the LH I loved. I'm still not sure about buying her books, as 1) they're overpriced and 2) my library has her on auto-buy, but this is kind of making me waver a bit.
It is a fast moving tale, featuring one single character for pretty much all of the tale, with 2/3 side characters who we get to know about, but who also seem as shadowy as the Shadow Woman of the title. Interestingly, the latter has barely any interaction with any other living being, and is on the run for most of the book, and for someone with a past like hers, the 'total recall' thing was perhaps a bit too much in too short a space to buy, but I did like the tale. And once again, the US is not the urbane, open, friendly place as it would rather be portrayed...and the author dealt in a subject in a particular character, that many Americans would consider blasphemy, but which I thought was pretty brave and novel, and which was perfect for this tale.
Interestingly, this is the first LH book that my library hasn't categorised as a Romantic Suspense novel, but as a Thriller. I personally wouldn't call either of those, but just a suspense novel. Any romance there was - for most of the book there were some sensual dream/subconscious scenes translating into dreams scenes - came in the last 40 or so pages of the novel. Yes, the I Love You came fast, but you know what? I bought it.
This book could have been a 5* read had LH been able to write it in such a way that the leads found themselves before the last 40 pages from the end. I think there could have been scope for a bit more 'them time' for the leads and I sort of think there needed to be more in the way of explanations and there needed to be more angst between them. Saying that, when Lizzy/Lizette realised what had been done to her, LH introduced a very simple twist/delivered a seemingly insignificant line that entirely made things OK, and which had L/L had any, would have taken the wind out of her sails. I can't elaborate more on this point or on the plot, as it would spoil the tale, but let's just say that LH has taken a leaf out of JD Robb's recent releases, when she reveals the fait-accompli and then works the 'what lead to this' bit. It worked, as by page 42 I had totally sussed out what had happened, and knew where the tale was going, but I didn't expect the complexity that the author delivered.
A very decent return to form for LH, which I hope to see continue. But, editors and Ms H, please update your official bio page, which hasn't changed for at least 15 years. In that, LH apparently lives with her husband and golden retriever, and with her picture not having aged a day, it does make me wonder if she's a descendant of Dorian Gray, and if said golden retriever has the gift of extended life/immortality, but on the last couple of pages of the book, there's mention of her living with her husband and two doggies. Which is right??