Woman with a Gun : My review


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 her back in her right hand was just the perfect cover for his next book and triggered a plot so diabolical, so brilliantly crafted that not only did the author tell the story but his main character, Stacey Kim decided to use this same photo in her novel after viewing this same photo. Stuck in a writer’s rut or writer’s block trying to figure out where to go in her writing career, Stacey contemplated her options while working as a receptionist for a law firm and hating every minute. All it takes is one change viewing or meeting and your life can change forever. A short lunch break and a visit to the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Stacey becomes so taken and obsessed with this photo that she has to learn more about it, the photographer and wonders and asks some of the same questions our author did when viewing this photo: Who is this woman? Why was she at the beach wearing a wedding dress? Why was she holding a gun and did she use it to kill her husband? Someone took this picture moments before the photographer of the picture, Kathy Moran, came upon the wife of millionaire, Ray Cahill, the woman in the photo on the beach. Megan Cahill is the woman in the photo and although she presents a puzzle and mystery to both the author, the potential novelist and the reader there are many questions that will go unanswered, there are many reasons why her husband was killed but who was behind the murder and why is only known by one person besides the murderer our author. Woman with a Gun provides a complex novel that takes readers back to where it all began namely the night of the murder before we get to know Stacey better, her motives for wanting to write this book and how she tries to find the answer to a ten year old murder that was never solved.

Relationships cannot be carved out and created just the way you might want them to be. There is no recipe that can be prepared to make two people join together as one. Jack Booth found his way to Palisades Heights through the Oregon Attorney General’s office asked to help in Raymond Cahill’s murder investigation. Finding a position with the Oregon Department of Justice District Attorney Assistance Program, Jack was noted for his experience, exceptional skills in being able to detect what others cannot and his straightforward way of handling cases. But, this one before all was said and done would not only test his every fiber but also make him question himself, his integrity and his objectiveness. Teddy Winston was waiting for him when he arrived appreciated the fact that Jack was there to help. Explaining the case, reviewing the facts one being that Raymond Cahill was a millionaire and that his wife was a person of interest. The photographer of the picture, Kathy Moran, found Megan Cahill and lead back to her home in what Kathy claims was a daze and unsteady demeanor. Claiming she remembered nothing, was hit over the head and thought to have a concussion, Jack realized right away that her actions and words might be suspect, her reasons for killing Raymond, financial and that there was more to this case. Defining the case and deciding who might be guilty would take readers back to 2010 when the murder occurred before getting to know Stacey and watching her weave a web of questions taking her investigation to a level that would not only endanger some of the players in the present but Stacey too. Someone does not want this solved and will go to any lengths to stop Stacey and anyone that gets in his/her way.

Getting to know Jack, hearing the investigators involved and learning more about Megan, you begin to wonder whether she is guilty or not or being framed. Meeting Megan provided him with some clues but in his own mind he realized that there was more that she would not reveal. Who would want to kill Raymond? Who stole some of his collection from his vault or safe and where did the gun she was holding come from? The author flashes back to 2005 when the murder took place as Stacey views the painting ten years later. Jack and Kathy were once adversaries in the courtroom and although he was taken with her right away she kept her distance. Kathy Moran’s past is sorted and shady and if revealed could ruin her career. Learning more about her we realize that she was addicted to drugs and alcohol and often the victim of abuse. Kathy Moran filled in some of the blanks as she revealed to the investigators and Jack that Megan Cahill was married to an abusive man named Parnell Crouse. Implying that he was the victim of Megan as a result of their divorce the stories do not seem to mesh and the end result will surprise readers as we get to know both Megan and Kathy and the reader has to decide with whom the truth lies. Getting close to a witness might not have been the best strategy but Jack was taken.

As the case progresses in the past we meet Glen Kraft and Henry Baker who will do everything to defend Megan Cahill. Megan is starlet quality and has everyone convinced by her actions and mannerisms that she was a victim in all of this. But, others supply information to the contrary making Jack wonder if she would more than profit from her husband’s death, if she was really so dazed and duped when Kathy found her and what really was behind the murder.

The victim hired Frank Janowitz, as the curator of his collection would house guns, coins and stamps. But, did he buy them from legitimate collectors or did he buy them from a thief? Many questions go unanswered as Jack tries to piece it all together but first the author takes us back five more years to where his life took a downward spin and his first encounter with Kathy Moran when dealing with the Kilbride Disaster. Meet Detective Oscar Llewellyn a twenty-year veteran who is investigating this case. As he and Jack begin to unravel the clues, meet with the witness little does Jack know that meeting Kathy Moran, in the past when she practiced law would be his downfall. Never take your eyes off the subject and never allow yourself to not pay close attention as Kathy Moran takes advantage of Jack’s obvious feelings for her and the end result is deadly. A murder trial that should have been a slam-dunk for Jack and a clever lawyer that made him look bad. Read chapter 10 and learn the end result in Chapter 11 when Jack’s attention is wrongly diverted. But, information is revealed and the link between lawyer and client is solid as Jack learns about Kathy’s addiction to cocaine and the reasons behind her taking his case. Trusting a witness is fine but not investigating her and learning about her past was a fatal error. When the truth comes out Jack has to find a way to rebuild himself, his career and get a sadistic killer behind bars as the deal is made, Kathy pays some of the price and the author flashes ahead 2005 where Kathy is now working in a the Seafarer as a waitress, is protected by the owner and many others and we learn more about Raymond Cahill, Megan, her ex-husband and his dealings and we meet George Mendez the chief of police. But, some cases are not meant to be solved and with all of the evidence, all of the speculations somehow the case remained cold and the only or end result was Kathy Moran found herself a victim as she claims and was worried about Gary Kilbride having been released early from prison. So, why does Jack believe her stories and why do they provide her with the weapon that she would use to take this killer down?

As the case unfolds more and clues are pieced together a clever killer gets away with murder and the author flashes to the present as we learn more about Stacey, Kathy Moran’s Pulitzer Prize photograph, her showing at a gallery in New York as we learn of two other victims from the past. Stacey is so taken with the photo of Woman with a Gun that she uproots herself and moves to Portland to be where it all began. New apartment, new career in the making and hopefully meeting both Megan and Kathy, Stacey sets out with her idealistic attitude hoping to connect not only with them but with Jack Booth too. But, some investigations prove dangerous and when the killer realizes just how close Stacey is coming, the questions she’s asking just might lead back to the killer, something had to be done to stop her. With her list of people to question and her hope to solve a case writing a fictional novel focused on the photo, Stacey finds herself in Portland hoping to connect with those involved as Jack faces yet another failed relationship and must come to grips with his own realities. Watching Jack in the courtroom is revealing as he unveils a case filled with lies, betrayals and deceit when an officer is wrongly accused and the court learns how and why. But, suspicious rise as evidence is revealed making the reader and Jack wonder the connection between Moran and Gilbride, and Megan’s ex-husband. When pasts are revealed and truths known just who the killer is and why will not surprise readers but the fact that it took one photo to reveal the truth will let you know that the saying “A Picture is worth a thousand words,” and in this case the answer to a murder. How? Use your own detective skills to figure it out as Stacey starts a web of events, creates a trail leading directly to a killer and with the help of one young lawyer named Glen, Jack Booth and her own persistence and tenaciousness a killer just might be brought down. Characters so diverse and cleverly crafted they will draw you into the case and keep you glued to the printed page until you too decide: Woman with a Gun just who holds the smoking gun? Find out when you learn more about Woman With A Gun!

Fran Lewis: reviewer

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Praise Her Praise Diana


Praise Her Praise Diana.

Praise Her Praise Diana


Praise Her Praise Diana.

Praise Her Praise Diana


Praise Her! Praise Diana: Ann Rothman-Hicks and Ken Hicks

Justice: What’s your definition and how would you define it? Each one of us wants those who inflict us with pain or injury to pay for what they did. But, what is the process or result of following the laws to judge this person and punish their crime is not enough to make them pay for what they did to you? Justice according to the dictionary is the “ the maintenance or administration of what is just especially by the impartial adjustment of conflicting claims or the assignment of merited rewards or punishments.” (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/justice) However, there are times that impartial justice gets cast aside, laws tabled and someone’s own brand of vigilance takes hold. Diana! Just who is she? Is she a character in a novel or is she someone that is hiding in plain site in front of you? Maggie Edwards needs to finance her own apartment, pay her bills and although her first novel was a huge success it’s time to move on to the next. But, what she creates and why will give readers chills, tingles and leave you cold. Diana real or fictitious is a cold-blooded killer who has taken on the male population making them pay for the abuses they’ve inflicted not only on her but other women too. Receiving a phone from a mysterious caller claiming to be Diana. The words spoken are bone chilling, the implications daunting and the end result will send you right to the next page and on and on until you learn just who this diabolical killer is or maybe you will Praise Her Praise Diana, for her actions!

Chapter 2 begins the novel within the novel as Maggie takes the plunge, writes the story telling readers just why and how Diana came to be attacked, raped, tortured and kidnapped by two men. Hitchhiking can be dangerous and any young girl reading this story and Diana’s account of what she endured will surely learn a serious lesson about the dangers our taking rides from strangers.

Writing her chapters and sharing them with readers, Maggie comes to a serious roadblock when her editor and publisher want to serialize her story in their weekly magazine. But, she has committed the chapter to the New York Portal and Heather Burke, who will stop at nothing to make sure she keeps sending those chapters. One phone call that she cannot ignore and one writer being forced into telling the story of this elusive woman whose goal it is to hand down her own brand of justice to any male who has raped or tortured a woman by taking away the one thing he needs to continue his spree. But, deals are made, publisher and magazine editor in agreement, threats to sue, and then the unthinkable happens. Someone is enacting what Diana has described as Maggie tells her story. Diana or someone who has decided to become Diana has begun sending messages to those involved. Body parts delivered neatly wrapped. Notes and graphic pictures telling their own story to make the public aware of not just her story but also many others come to light as well.

While completing the deal with the publisher and the rogue editor Heather, Maggie’s lawyer and friend Jane Larson both realize that there is more to this story and whomever is doing this has another agenda. Receiving phone calls egging her on and making her realize that she has no other choice but to continue writing this story the author includes several other subplots that bring the issues of spouse, emotional and sexual abuse to light. Making the deal with the Portal created quite a stir. Promising a second novel called Staying There was no longer possible or Maggie’s goal. Interests handled and the next installment being written but not before the author adds in another layer. WPW or Women Protecting Women is a powerful organization that Maggie, Jane and many of her friends sponsor and belong. A special art showing at a gallery called the Iphigenia Gallery in New York would be the center of controversy where a special fundraiser for WPW is being held. Ellen the gallery owner, Sheila, a member, Ari and others would hopefully come together to help raise money for the organization. But, not everyone wants this to go off without a hitch and receiving a package wrapped up in butcher paper lets you know that it’s not a piece of meat from a butcher but someone sending everyone a dark and dangerous message. Read more about Diana in her own words as she winds up leaving NYC finding herself kidnapped in the back of a car but no knowing it at first and being used as a pawn, slave and sex toy for two men. Just how this scene plays out is quite graphic as the authors present the facts in a realistic and colorful way.

Justice comes when you least expect it and all too often you get what you deserve. One young girl would learn the meaning of deceit, lies and deception as Jane Larson has issued an order of protection for her against her husband, but this young girl is weak, naïve as Mariana Morales should have listened to Jane and kept her door locked.

Not everyone believes in the mantra of WPW and other voices are going to be heard as we hear Judith Frazier speaking out countermanding what WPW stands for, telling women to speak out and presenting her point of view. Judith was a victim of abuse by a family member and she never recovered as so many never do. Her friendship with one of the members allows her the latitude to join in some of the meetings, an on air interview and the fundraiser. Clashing with the group and the police does not stop Judith but will anyone stop her or does she know something about Diana that we have not found out?

Jane is living with a photographer named David and from this point on she learns just how little she can trust him sending her into the arms of someone else. Maggie and Jane decide to leave town and spend the weekend in Maggie’s house miles away from New York. Diana was determined to have her story told and now with two deals made the Portal and the new insert in Femme, her story will reach more readers and the end result just might make Maggie famous. But, at what cost and whose?

Not everyone is who they seem and the police come into the picture as we meet Detectives Glaser and Smalley but not before Jane, Judith and Maggie present their viewpoints on air. An interview that will keep you guessing and a story that seems to get better every step of the way as a woman’s group called the Eumenides a feminist group begins to take on their own picture or role of Diana, dressing the way she does and attacking and killing males adding more the violence and giving new meaning to the word Revenge. But, Maggie is pressured and she and Jane need time alone to sort things out as their weekend away turns into more between them. Added in we learn about Jane’s mom Martha who originally ran her firm and whose files the police would like to have but Jane will not share them. Added in one-woman claims to have scene Diana, knows who she is but will not reveal her name. Grand Jury convening, subpoenaed but Maureen will not budge.

Two detectives working hard to find out just who is behind the killings yet no one willing to tell. Added in we hear the voices of two cops, that have gone bad causing one woman to disappear after having a night of folly the one man’s girlfriend. The issue of sexual abuse and emotional abuse comes out very strong as we learn more about Jane and her own demons that she has to bear. But, not everyone wants this solved and someone has decided to take out one of the detectives but why? What is behind this killing? Is it Diana or someone else? Why do the authors say at the start that Marissa is dead? Who is Marissa and what part does she play, as she is the character in Getting There Maggie’s first novel.

Authors Anne Rothman-Hicks and Ken Hicks have created a top notch novel filled with graphic scenes, characters that are well crafted who present their viewpoints in their own way as if they are speaking to the audience reading and hearing their story and in Diana’s own words to understand or try to understand why? When truths come out and lies unfold just who Diana’s and why she has enacted her own form of vengeance might not startle, shock or surprise readers. Just what is Maggie’s secret and what is her connection to Diana? A final protest will reveal it all and the end will make you wonder just how far someone will go to avenge a death! Just how far will someone go for Justice? Secrets, lies, betrayals, deceptions and no one are safe? Who deserves to die? Which man gets what he deserves? Why would Diana go after a woman? Role reversals are quite apparent as men are now on the you might say chopping block and being held accountable for their taunts, actions and abuse of women? But, should all of them suffer? Stereotyping is definitely brought to light in both the men and women characters within this complex novel. Praise Her! Praise Diana! What do you think? Should we? Just who you won’t believe!

The authors provide a great forum for discussion on each of the issues brought to light within this five star novel.

Fran Lewis: Reviewer

Part Two of my interview with Marcia Adelson


Part Two of my interview with Marcia Adelson.

Part One of my indepth interview with lawyer, mediator and arbitrator: Marcia Adelson


Part One of my indepth interview with lawyer, mediator and arbitrator: Marcia Adelson.

Well of Gold


Well of Gold.