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Woman with a Gun

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  2,050 ratings  ·  311 reviews
Visiting an art museum exhibiting a retrospective of the work of acclaimed photographer Kathy Moran, aspiring novelist Stacey Kim is stunned by the picture at the center of the show—the famous Woman with a Gun, which won a Pulitzer Prize and launched the artist's career. Shot from behind, the enigmatic black-and-white image depicts a woman in a wedding dress standing on th ...more
Hardcover, 291 pages
Published December 2nd 2014 by Harper
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Average rating 3.67  · 
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 ·  2,050 ratings  ·  311 reviews

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Aug 28, 2019 rated it liked it

Aspiring writer Stacy Kim is working as a receptionist in a Manhattan law firm while she mulls over ideas for the great American novel.

When Stacy sees a prize-winning photo at an art gallery, lightning strikes. The picture - a shot of a bride on a beach holding a gun - triggers the idea for a story.

When Stacy researches the photo she learns that the picture was taken near Portland, Oregon ten years ago. The bride, Megan Cahill, was widowed on her wedding day when her wealthy husband Raymond C
Carole (Carole's Random Life in Books)
Now Available!

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life.

I received an advance reader edition of this book from Harper via Edelweiss for the purpose of providing an honest review.

3 Stars

When I saw that I had a chance to read Phillip Margolin's newest book prior to its official release, I jumped at the chance. I have read several books by Phillip Margolin and have really enjoyed every one of them. I liked this book but found myself feeling somewhat underwhelmed by the story. I think t
Dec 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
Margolin's latest crime novel branches into some interesting directions to keep the reader highly entertained. Stacey Kim seeks inspiration for her next writing project, seeking to find the 'next great novel'. On her lunch break, Stacey visits MoMA and stumbles upon a photo exhibit featuring Kathy Moran's "Woman with a Gun". The highly provocative photo portrays a woman in a wedding dress, staring out on a beach with an antique pistol behind her back. While Kim begins to dig around into the real ...more
Darcia Helle
I have been a fan of Phillip Margolin's writing for many years. I normally find his characters and their stories compelling. This time, though, I just didn't get that connection. Something was lacking here for me.

This book is really a story within a story. We start off with Stacey Kim, a young wannabe writer stuck in a job she dislikes. She comes across the Woman With A Gun photograph at an art gallery and is immediately consumed. Her part just didn't feel believable. She's young and in debt, wi
Nov 07, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery-thriller
I have read several of Margolin’s mysteries over the years and this latest book displays a different sort of approach from his earlier novels. The book encompasses fifteen years with several different storylines all brought together by one arresting photograph (there is room for a joke here...). The main character of the 2015 plot is Stacey Kim, a girl from an unnamed Midwestern state who moves to New York hoping to finish her novel. On a lunch break she visits a special exhibit at the MoMA whic ...more
Nov 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Another great book by the extremely talented, Mr. Margolin. This is my third book that I have read by this author. Every book that he comes out with is a must read for me. I can't wait to get my hands on his books. Mr. Margolin infuses his characters with such life and makes the stories that he is writing so personal that I just fall for the characters and their story. Just like Mr. Margolin I too was very intrigued by the title of this book and the book cover. I wanted to know more about the my ...more
Jul 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2018
I am a big fan of true crime so I knew I was going to like this book, I just didn't know I was going to like it this much. This book kept me on the edge of my seat for the longest time, even though it kind of started out a little slow. I was truly surprised by the end of the book but I love when that happens. I listen and watch so much true crime shows that it's very rare to be put on the edge of my sit anymore but this book did that and more.

Longer review to come soon!
Feb 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
Woman with a Gun by Phillip Margolin is one of those books that will leave you, as a reviewer, torn by your sense of writing and your sense of story. And yes they are two separate things.

Budding and frustrated young novelist Stacey Kim, takes lunch from her mundane job as a legal assistant to visit an art museum which is featuring work by the famed photographer, Kathy Moran. It is there she sees and becomes obsessed with one of the photographs on display. It is a black and white, rear view shot
Lauren Henderson
Nov 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery-suspense
Surprisingly great. Dropped to 4 instead of 5 stars because it ended up being ever so slightly predictable.

Running my complete review on my blog on Dec. 10 for TLC Book Tours. Check it out!!

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
Jul 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
Overall rating = 3 & 1/2 stars

OVERVIEW/ANALYSIS: Phillip Margolin is one of my favorite authors, his previous series books starring Amanda Jaffe & Dana Cutler are some of the best thrillers I've read. While the books primarily focussed on legal aspects (Amanda Jaffe) and political aspects (Dana Cutler), they also mixed a large cast of characters along with a lot of twists. This is classic Margolin as he lays out the story in different time periods as he introduces all the main characters before
Nov 24, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2014
I think that once again I am going to be in the minority in how I feel about this book. Woman with a Gun has gotten rave reviews, but it was just an OK read for me. I didn't find the story to be a compelling thriller. It was more of a plot driven mystery that just kind of plodded along until the solution was revealed. I also had the killer figured out way before the end, I just didn't know the why. To me, the author made it pretty obvious into which direction he was going right from the start. I ...more
In WOMAN WITH A GUN, Phillip Margolins latest offering, it's hard to judge who is the central character in this tale. All of the blurbs would have you believe that the story is about Stacey Kim, a young woman who has relocated to New York from the Midwest to pursue her dream of becoming a best selling author. She is currently stuck in a receptionist's job that she hates. Using her lunch hour to visit an art exhibit at MOMA, she sees and is captivated by a photograph depicting a woman in a weddin ...more
Goodreads Giveaway

This is the first book by Margolin that I've read but I'd heard good things about him and thoroughly enjoyed this interesting mystery.

Twists and turns, forward and backward, layer upon layer the story of the woman with the gun unfolds. The old saying that a picture is worth a thousand words may not be an exact fit here, more like a picture is worth several stories, but it is an interesting premise. All the stories that one picture holds.
Heather L
This was a quick read. Once you start, you don't want to stop. Margolin has a great skill at building suspense. But I don't think his executions in the end are worth the extra star(s). Everything always ends up nice and tidy. To me, it just doesn't get that great climax. I think his stories deserve more. I'll give it a rest with his novels for a while.
Mar 11, 2020 rated it liked it
Stacy Kim is a receptionist whose goal is to write the next great American novel. When she stumbles across an award-winning photograph at an art gallery, she knows she has found the basis of her book. Little does she know that this photograph, called “Woman With A Gun”, will take her into a real life investigation involving murder and put her on own life at risk.
As she begins her research, Stacy finds the photograph was taken by a former defense attorney who happened upon the scene depicted on t
Mar 21, 2015 rated it it was ok
This was an attempt to discover a new mystery thriller writer. Heard of the author's name, but wanted to try a stand alone, not series like so many genre books tend to be. Striking cover sealed the deal. But overall, this book was something of a disappointment. It was entertaining enough, but so flat, from really average writing to clichéd characters, nothing original at all. The legal side was perfect, no surprise considering the author's past as a criminal defense attorney. The writing...entir ...more
May 01, 2015 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: No one
Recommended to Leahyriehm2 by: Digital library -newly added books
The cover and title intrigued me. I was sure I was reading a book from a first time author. I found the dialogue to be less than exciting and stilted. Descriptions of characters and places did not provide me with enough information to "see" the book as I read. I knew who the killer was immediately and the connection between those involved in the murder was unbelievable. The only surprise for me was when I learned this is the 20th book for Ohillip Margolin.
Dec 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Woman With A Gun: Phillip Margolin

Some photographs speak volumes making the subject matter come alive and allowing viewers to become so immersed within the scenery or transfixed with the subject they often lose sight of where they are and become one and the same with the photo. “Woman with a Gun,” was a photo that author Phillip Margolin saw when in the bathroom of a men’s washroom and he immediately knew that this photo of a woman on the beach with her back to her audience holding a gun behind
Jan 30, 2017 rated it liked it
3.5 stars. Most of the book takes place in Oregon where, 10 years earlier, Ray Cahill is murdered on his wedding night. His wife Megan is hit over the head and is too dazed to remember what happened at first. Later she remembers seeing her ex-husband attack and rob them but he is later found dead with only one of the stolen coins. The case fades from the limelight. Ten years later, budding author Stacey Kim sees a captivating photo at an art gallery of Megan in her wedding dress with an old revo ...more
Jul 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: new-author
This is my first book by this author so I have nothing to compare it to. Some reviews by people that have read many Phillip Margolin books, wrote this one wasn't as good. I thoroughly enjoyed his writing and the story. Did I figure who did it early on yes, but it was still worth reading. Jack was a complete moron from the get go. In my opinion he wouldn't have a job long. He didn't seem very grown up. I really liked when the story took an unusual turn that I wasn't expecting....but you will have ...more
Barbara Schultz
3.6 I recently read The Third Victim and enjoyed it and wanted to read another Philip Margolin novel. My friend Joy recommended this novel.
I was enjoying the story and then got confused when it jumped to Stacy Kim. I thought wait a minute ~ ”what am I missing ? The first part really didn't end, as I have questions”
I liked Stacy so was curious and sure enough discovered the connection. (view spoiler)
B. R. Reed
Apr 14, 2019 rated it liked it
I was drawn to this book by the book cover. A gun & the backside of a young woman. What can I say? The book was in a $2 bin at the local bookstore. Anyway, I bought the book and found it interesting enough. It is a book written in the style of the 40s-50s noir writers. The tone, style and characters seem transported from the days of Hammett, Chandler and Cain. It had the feel of an older book even though it is set in current times. It is a mystery novel set mostly along the beautiful Oregon coas ...more
Lorie Kleiner Eckert
Jan 19, 2015 rated it it was ok
I read a very brief blurb about Woman with a Gun in USA Today. Because USA Today doesn’t often tout mysteries, the blurb made me think its author was a new writer who managed to turn out a very clever whodunit. By golly, I wanted to read that! So I did. While the story was compelling and while I read it through in no time, I have to say that it was very poorly written. Imagine my surprise when I researched the author, Phillip Margolin, and learned that he has more than a dozen legal thrillers un ...more
Ken Ransom
Mar 25, 2015 rated it it was ok
A haunting black and white photograph of a bride standing by the seaside with a long-barreled revolver* in her hand sets an aspiring novelist to sniffing out clues in a cold case with roots in an even more distant past. Well, of course the photo is the solution to the mystery of more than one murder, but the reader doesn't get all of the clues in the story containing constant shifts in time and case.until the last chapter of the book.

*Early on in the book gun, the woman in the wedding dress is
Jerry B
Nov 10, 2014 rated it liked it
“Woman” has a very intriguing idea at its origin – to write a fictional explanation for the famous photo featured on the book’s cover. The novel then led us down the road to the killing that occurred on the night of the famous pic; and to some even earlier interactions between the photographer, Kathy Moran, and assistant DA Booth who carried much of the investigation, not to mention a bit of a flame for Ms. Moran.

That part of the book was engaging and interesting – a great setup for the second h
Jan 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The author wrote this novel based on the cover photo, which he bought from the photographer. I think it is a terrific book and has everything a good mystery should have in it.

A woman who moved to New York City after she won a prize for a story she wrote was encouraged by her mentor to write a novel. She was not making much progress until she saw the above mentioned photograph in a Museum of Modern Art exhibit. Because of this, she decides to use the photo as a basis for a book and moves cross c
Kathleen Crowell
Dec 20, 2015 rated it liked it
This was a weird one for me. It started off kind of choppy and confusing--I chalked it up to being tired and not paying close attention which will, of course, make you miss something important. Anyway, I got past the beginning and got really into the story. Then about 3/4 of the way in it got choppy and weird again. The relationship between Stacey and Glen was obviously just a way to make sense of Stacey staying in the area to work on her book. Also, her attacks were like "boom!" and then myster ...more
Meg Leader
I've read a lot of Margolin's stuff and mostly enjoyed them. I didn't really enjoy this one. The set up with the narrator just felt contrived and most of her dialogue left me going "Really?"

That said, I thought the puzzle was an interesting angle and worth exploring, though I'm afraid that I saw through the red herrings and had my eye on the culprit early on. If anything, it was the lack of anyone exploring that line.

Dec 29, 2014 rated it it was ok
A photograph sets a novice writer off on a search for the story behind it... which, when all was said and done, was predictable. The premise of the story was good, and the mechanics of telling it in flashbacks worked, pretty much. But by the time the denouement presented itself, it was obvious, and therefore disappointing.
Aug 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommended despite some plot inconsistencies. Here is the link to my review:
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