walkitout (walkitout) wrote,

Complaining about _Shadow Woman_

I knew this was likely, but it's been fun for the first half. This romantic suspense novel, however, is rapidly falling apart. The viewpoint character is some sort of brainwashed ex-government agent, and yet she thinks a big floppy hat and sunglasses are not adequate for beating facial recognition. Ha!

"Public transportation would be under surveillance. Considering the number of cameras in the Metro, her hat and sunglasses wouldn't be a sufficient disguise. Bus? Maybe. That was a possibility. She could pay cash and hope she could change her appearance enough not to raise any alarm." Hint, Lizzy: you're in DC. Wear hijab. "But still, the idea gave her the heebie-jeebies." Yeah, not enough adrenaline involved in veiling and riding the bus to Ohio. "Her car -- which wasn't a safe option anyway, obviously -- was out of the picture. And she couldn't very well walk out of D.C."

Oh for fuck's sake. DC proper is tiny. Even _I_ could walk out of DC, in a few hours. This is a woman who supposedly used to run 30K at a time. DC metro is, obvs, bigger, but just go steal a bike sweetie. Put on a bike helmet, and I can almost guarantee that helmet and a pair of sunglasses is all you need to defeat any camera out there. (R. knows that bike helmets are involved in some of the test images, and facial rec has trouble with bike helmets. And I don't mean motorcycle helmets.) On a bike, you can get 50 miles out, and from there, anything is possible.

Instead, she contemplates hot wiring a car. She does know this isn't going to work with a modern car, but imagines she could somehow find "something older, maybe with a really kick-ass engine: a gas guzzler, an engine that roared. Why did that thought give her a bit of a thrill?" Because that is the thought of Linda Howard, not Lizette Henry or Lizzy whoever. And Howington was born in 1950, a member of a cohort that thinks muscle cars are cool. Lizzy is in her 30s, max, probably born well after 1980 and she doesn't think that way. This kind of thing happens in Jayne Ann Krentz novels, too. It is very frustrating. A muscle car being driven like a bat out of hell in the DC area is Not Subtle. This is Not an Escape Plan.

A couple paragraphs later, she "used her one towel to dry both her body and her hair". This is something worth pointing out, apparently. Which reminds me of another novel I read a long while back, possibly by Howard (maybe my sister remembers?) involving a woman with a big suitcase that carried, among other things, a tent, and a guy who crashed a plane with her and the suitcase into a pocket canyon in order to find out what she was hiding in the suitcase. While there, she contaminates the only water source, and nearly dies attempting to climb the canyon walls. Howard's books are awesomely fun -- except when they are just weirdly screwy.

ETA: She cuts the spark plug wires on a motorcycle to disable it. The person on the cycle apparently thinks he would need "tools" to fix this? (I don't really know anything about this, but you say a wire gets cut, I immediately think electrical tape and splice and you are good to go.) She does eventually buy a bicycle, so that's progress. I'm a little confused about why she thinks she needs to go all the way to Charlottesville to get on a bus? Also, I'm confused why she doesn't call a taxi or hire a car service or whatever. They usually take cash and she had a stolen phone for a while.

Oh geez:

"He was impressed by her thinking. No ID was required to buy a bicycle, no registration to worry about, she had enough cash on her to afford one, and she wouldn't have to worry about driving a stolen car or hitchhiking and being picked up by a nutcase."

Seriously, given the training she is supposed to have? I have difficulty imagining the nutcase that would present her with a problem. She's not a muscle-free teenaged girl. "And who would think to look for her on a bicycle?" Er. "She'd surprised even him. That was part of the fluidity of her thinking, because absolutely no one would expect her to escape on a bicycle. With a helmet and sunglasses on, she'd also have a damn good disguise. No one would look twice at her."

Here's hoping our _actual_ special ops agents are better at their job than Xavier.
Tags: not-a-book-review

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