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Woman with a Gun


Woman with a Gun

Stacey Kim is a writer stuck in a dead-end job at a law firm in New York City. She has come to the Big Apple for inspiration, something that has continued to elude her ever since her arrival. But one fateful lunch hour, Stacey sees a photograph by West Coaster Kathy Moran at an art exhibit and knows she has found her story. A barefoot woman in a wedding dress stands facing the ocean at night. She’s just inches from the foamy surf and holding a gun behind her back. Stacey’s creative juices are instantly running. What happened in the moments before this picture was shot?

Kathy lives in a town called Palisades Heights, an upscale Oregon beach community. The night she snapped the picture that made her famous, the bride, Megan Cahill, became a widow within mere hours of her wedding. In their home overlooking the Pacific, her husband lay dead in a pool of blood. Megan has lapsed into a state of spotty amnesia. What she remembers of that night is slow to come back to her and never sounds fully believable. Many holes have left gaps, and a number of questions have gone unanswered.

"WOMAN WITH A GUN is instantly engaging from page one and thoroughly entertaining.... [T]here’s the stunning Oregon coast as the setting, a baffling murder, a cunning killer and some romance thrown in for added dimension."

Despite the best efforts of the police and the district attorney’s office, the case has remained unsolved for 10 years. Now, Stacey’s poking around is about to stir a hornet’s nest. The peace Palisades Heights has enjoyed for the last decade will be a distant memory soon, as its past is about to come back to haunt it. And the violence the town saw that night might be about to return, too.

Jack Booth worked with the Department of Justice back then, and he came running at the request of the local district attorney, who immediately realized he was in over his head with a murder of this caliber. Assuming Megan inherited her dead husband’s vast fortune, she would be able to bring in high-powered attorneys to defend her in the event she was accused. And, well, she had opportunity, motive and the smoking gun. Literally. Besides, Jack always had a soft spot for Kathy, so he didn’t mind having a good excuse to hang around Palisades Heights. Maybe things would be different this time. With Kathy, one never knew what might happen.

Stacey wants background on all the players from the night Cahill was murdered for her book. The more she knows about the people involved, the better her novel will be. At least to her way of thinking. But as she’s digging around, Stacey discovers that, more and more, she wants to actually solve the case. She believes she’s on to something when she stumbles into a connection between two unlikely characters. How had everyone overlooked that in the first go-around? One thing she didn’t take into account, though: unlike the fiction she writes, this murder was real. And killers don’t like to be found out.

WOMAN WITH A GUN is instantly engaging from page one and thoroughly entertaining. Along with the intrigue of the cover photograph, the one that sparked author Phillip Margolin’s imagination and the one that sparked his character Stacey’s inspiration, there’s the stunning Oregon coast as the setting, a baffling murder, a cunning killer and some romance thrown in for added dimension. Mystery lovers can’t go wrong with Margolin’s latest superb effort.

Reviewed by Kate Ayers on December 5, 2014

Woman with a Gun
by Phillip Margolin

  • Publication Date: August 25, 2015
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Paperbacks
  • ISBN-10: 0062399586
  • ISBN-13: 9780062399588