a Gun, the latest by New York Times
Bestselling author Phillip Margolin is a very unique crime
novel. What inspired this riveting thriller is the photograph
seen on the cover of the book, which works as the focal point
for this mystery.
This book is really a story within a story
as Margolin takes his personal experience and transfers it
to Stacey Kim. She wants to become a writer and sees this
Pulitzer Prize winning photograph at an art museum that inspires
her to find the history behind it. Deciding to travel to Oregon,
the setting for the photo, she discovers there was a Cold
Case murder associated with it. The other piece of the plot
has readers trying to unravel the killing of Raymond Cahill
that occurred the night of his wedding. That evening, amateur
photographer Kathy Moran took a stunning photograph of newlywed
Megan Cahill standing on the beach, facing the sea, in her
wedding gown, holding a western six-shooter. Moments later,
Kathy discovered the body of Raymond Cahill, Megan’s
millionaire husband, in their beach house.
Margolin commented, “In Georgia. I
was keynoting a writing conference. In a restaurant restroom
over the toilet was the photograph seen on the cover of the
book. I was blown away with the many possible scenarios that
were running through my mind. Has the woman killed her husband
on their wedding night? Is she going to commit suicide? Is
she waiting for someone she plans to kill? I knew then I had
the name of the book and the cover. The real story behind
the photograph is not romantic and is actually bland. I asked
the photographer, Leslie Jeter, because I was really curious.
She was a commercial photographer at this wedding rehearsal.
Everyone there were gun enthusiasts and had her take pictures,
each one holding a different type of gun.”
The two main characters are very compelling,
complex, and well developed. Kathy Moran was a defense attorney
that went up against a young prosecutor, on the fast track
to success. After her drug dealer client was found not guilty,
she appeared to have everything at her fingertips. That is
until she was disbarred for possessing drugs. She quits law
and finds peace in Palisades Heights, a town on the Oregon
Coast, while pursuing her dream career as a photographer.
Margolin is able to have this character that uses sex as a
way to get ahead, appear at times sympathetic, and alternately
between being good and bad.
The male lead is Jack Booth who was demoted
after being humiliated by losing to Moran and is now a special
prosecutor. He is a womanizer, and someone who drinks and
smokes way too much. He also is obsessed with Kathy Moran
and allows this ten-year-long infatuation to influence how
he handles his job.
Margolin thinks that readers will appreciate
“that the tone of the book became decidedly noir. I
realized I was writing a story that could have been filmed
in black and white in the 1940s starring Humphrey Bogart and
Lauren Bacall as Jack and Kathy respectively.”
Woman with a Gun is fueled by a
very intriguing picture and well developed characters. Margolin
has a straightforward and natural style with his many twists
and turns throughout the plot. Readers are kept off balance,
suspecting many different characters as the killer, as they
engage in this page-turner story.