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Book Author: Michele Weinstat Miller

GONE BY MORNING by Michele Weinstat Miller: Book Review

A subway bombing in New York City brings back, with frightening clarity, what the city went through on 9/11.  Just after seating herself on a train at the Times Square station, Kathleen Harris, and all the other passengers, receive a text from the city’s emergency line that states there are reports of an explosion in the underground system.

The train’s doors open, everyone rushes out, police break through the crowds, and suddenly there’s a second explosion.  Black metallic smoke follows the group up the steps as they flee to escape the danger below.  That is just the beginning of one story that will bring together three generations of women, only one of whom is aware of the relationship between them.

The second story is that of the police search for the person who set the bomb.  Although they do discover who detonated the explosion and killed himself while doing so, they are unaware of the motives behind the crime and the connection between that crime and another that is about to be committed.

Kathleen is a sixty-eight-year-old woman, the owner of an apartment building in Manhattan.  Before she bought the building, though, she had had another life:  she was the drug-addicted wife of a drug-addicted husband,  a convicted felon, and a very successful madam.  Now she has put all that behind her and plans to keep it a secret from Emily Silverman, a young woman she has befriended.

In fact, Emily is totally unaware that both her job as a deputy press secretary to the mayor of New York and her apartment came from Kathleen.  Emily certainly doesn’t know the reason that Kathleen is helping her, and she’s simply happy that she lives in Kathleen’s building and that the two of them have become friends.

Several hours after the subway blast, Kathleen receives a call from Sharon, who had worked for Kathleen when she was a young woman.  Unlike Kathleen, Sharon had never stopped being a sex worker, but nevertheless the two women had kept in touch and seen each other from time to time.  Sharon asks if she can come over immediately; she has something to tell her former boss, and of course Kathleen agrees.  But several hours go by, and Sharon doesn’t appear.  Two days later her body is found.

The police discover that Kathleen was Sharon’s madam many years ago, and they also learn that she served five years in prison in connection with her husband’s death.  In their eyes, once a felon, always a felon, and they’re determined to find the connection between the two women.

Then, in one more thing going wrong, a fire is set in Kathleen’s building, and the police believe she set it.  It appears that her entire world is collapsing, and there’s still more to come. 

In a terrible coincidence, on April 12th, two days before I wrote this column, a man entered a subway station in Brooklyn, New York, setting off two gas canisters and shooting at least 10 riders.  Other passengers were injured, many from choking on smoke.   The suspect was apprehended after a 30-hour search.  Truth, as they say, is stranger than fiction; in this case, it is more heartbreaking.

Michele Weinstat Miller is an attorney who lives in Manhattan.  You can read more about her at this website.

Check out the complete Marilyn’s Mystery Reads at her website.  In addition to book review posts, there are sections featuring Golden OldiesPast Masters and Mistresses, and an About Marilyn column that features her opinions about everything to do with mystery novels.