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When a murder occurs one of the pieces of evidence is a photo shot just after the fact. The photo depicts a space in time where imagination sets the scene.

Book Review: ‘Woman with a Gun,’ A Romantic Murder Mystery by Phillip Margolin

20869868Images evoke thoughts and feelings, both good and bad. Art through the ages has been collected, stolen and forged in an effort to hold a piece of that vision. Photography is also a venue that evokes meanings and memories, and each photo or piece of work you see creates a visual resonance, either good or bad. The beauty, the subject, or even just the colors are sure to set the tone on your imagination.

In Woman with a Gun by Phillip Margolin, we follow the mystery of an unsolved murder. One of the pieces of evidence is a photo shot just after the murder occurs. The new wife of the man murdered walked into the scene unprepared.  At some point she picked up the murder weapon and in her grief headed out to the beach, unaware of her actions. It was there that a visiting photographer spied the vision and shot a photo that helped to make her famous.

Years later during a gallery showing, a young aspiring writer is riveted and intrigued by the photo of a woman with a gun that hangs in the gallery. Finally something sparks within her, giving her the inner voice crying out for a story. And what a story she thinks it will be. Unhappy in her daily grind, she decides to move to the West coast to follow up on the story and interview some of those involved in order to write a fiction that feels real.

The fact that the crime had never been solved only adds another layer of mystery that shadows what is shown in the photo itself. Stacey Kim is determined to write a best seller, and its veracity will depend on how thorough her interviews are. Yet when another murder occurs she gets more then she bargained for as the killer becomes determined to stop her questions. Who does she turn to as the danger heats up and the varying agendas create a lack of trust?

Margolin has given us a picture of murder. His story is ingenious, and the interaction of his characters is both interesting and exciting. The insertion of romance into the work makes the flow smoother and helps to give credence to the viability of Stacey Kim’s interviews. The connections of the love interest as well as his own account of the killing add to the mystery as well as making the witnesses more visible to an outsider. The authenticity seems to come from the very essence of the photo itself.

If you enjoy suspense and romance you will want this for your library. The mystery is solid, and the ingenuity of the events leading up to it keep you guessing.

[amazon asin=B00IZOZQIE&template=iframe image]

About Leslie Wright

Leslie Wright is an author and blogger in the Northwest.

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