Saturday, January 17, 2015

WOMAN WITH A GUN by Phillip Margolin


It took a bit of getting used to what with the seemingly unrelated characters and number of flashbacks, but once into it couldn’t put it down.  Stacey Kim has left hearth and home for the Big Apple where she’s sure she’s going to write a bestseller.  During a lunch hour she goes into the Museum of Modern Art where she’s transfixed by a photograph of a woman in a long white dress standing on a beach, toes almost in the water and holding a six-shooter behind her back.  The photographer is Kathy Moran who lives in Palisades Heights, Oregon where the photo was taken.

Since Stacey has made no progress on a book since coming to NYC she decides to go to Palisades Heights and find out more about the woman in the photo.  Now, flashback to 2005 when Kathy took the picture.  She was walking along the beach at about 2 a.m. when she saw just married Megan Cahill standing there in her wedding dress.  Of course, she takes out her camera which she just so happened to have along and takes the photo which will later make her famous.  It seems that Megan’s terribly wealthy husband, Raymond, was shot to death just hours after their wedding.  An outside prosecutor, Jack Booth, is called in to help investigate Raymond’s death.  And, another one of those “it so happens” - Jack has quite a history with Kathy, a history to which he wants to add more chapters.

Return again to the present when Stacey arrives in Palisades Height and there’s another murder.  She has decided that in order to solve the new case, and discover the real story behind the photograph, she must solve Raymond’s 10-year-old murder.  And all the time we thought she was a budding novelist.

Despite a convoluted plot, some less than real characters I found myself turning pages late into the night to find out who did what and why.  Thus, either a four minus or three plus for this Margolin and hoping for better next time (I know he can do it!)

- Gail Cooke

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