I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for the opportunity to read and review!
Woman With a Gun starts with the story of Stacey Kim, a talented writer, who is having trouble with ideas for her first novel. She dropped everything to move to New York and become successful, only she hasn’t been able to do that yet. One day, on her lunch break she goes to the Museum of Modern Art and stumbles upon the photo, “Woman with a Gun” by famous photographer Kathy Moran. Stacey is immediately intrigued and inspired to write a novel loosely based on the story behind the photo – the only problem is that no one knows the story. Stacey eventually finds out that the photo is of Megan Cahill, the wife of Raymond Cahill who was brutally murdered in their home on the night of their wedding. So begins her journey to learn more – Stacey interviews the lead detective on the Cahill murder, Jack Booth, and the story quickly jumps back to the Kilbride case, which happened several years before the Cahill murder, and explains Kathy Moran’s background and Jack’s connection to her. As Stacey is uncovering the truth about these cases, she begins to put the puzzle together that no one has been able to before and ends up finding herself in danger also.
So we have three main plots: the present where Stacey is investigating the photo, the Cahill case, and the Kilbride case. However, unlike a lot of books with subplots in different timelines, Woman with a Gun does not jump back and forth incessantly. For this reason, I loved it. The fact that each story is told almost independently adds a lot of suspense and keeps you guessing who the Cahill killer is until the end.
I’ve seen other reviews that say this book was difficult to get into and that it didn’t keep the reviewers attention since it is difficult to see how the different crimes are connected until the very end. Yes, the connections are not there in the beginning, but the stories are written without fluff, almost like a detective is presenting you the facts. So, in my opinion, the writing style is perfect for this story.
Throughout the entire book, I was prepared to give a 5-star rating – The premise of the story being based on a photo is amazing; the story keeps your attention; the characters are developed just enough to make you interested in all of their outcomes but not too much to detract from the actual whodunit plot. I did slightly lower my rating at the end though because I’m a snob when it comes to mystery and I don’t like when I am able to guess who the killer is. Although, I only guessed in the last couple of chapters.
If you want a quick mystery (this book literally took me less than one day to read), then I highly recommend Woman with a Gun. This was my first time to read Phillip Margolin, and I was definitely not disappointed.