The Reflecting Pool (Marko Zorn #1), by Otho Eskin

Eight stars

Otho Eskin emerges as a new writer on my radar, with a captivating crime thriller that left me wanting more. Set in Washington, D.C., the story is a mix of crime and politics, as a DC Metro Homicide detective seeks to find answers when a body is found close to the White House. Marko Zorn does his own thing, but strives to get results and ensure the criminal element are put away. While he is stonewalled during an investigation, Zorn uses all the resources at his disposal to learn more about the victim, as well as her possible involvement with a supremacist group. All the while, Zorn is given a mission by a shady individual, which will force him to put some of his police ethics aside for results. Eskin delivers with his series debut and I have the second ready to begin soon!

When called to the scene of a body found in the Reflecting Pool, DC Metro Homicide Detective Marko Zorn begins asking questions. He receives significant pushback from the start, as other branches seek to claim responsibility. However, Zorn is not ready to hand everything over, citing jurisdiction. When the victim turns out to be a member of the Secret Service, things take a definite turn and Zorn feels the squeeze once more.

While trying to investigate, Zorn discovers that there is more to the victim than meets the eye. She has loose ties to a white supremacist group, whose membership includes those within the White House. As the investigation proceeds, many try to shut it down and ensure that Zorn does not have access to what he needs. This only lights a larger fire under Zorn, as he pushes for answers.

All the while, Zorn is pushed into the middle of another investigation, this one thoroughly off the books. Someone with pull on the streets of DC is trying to make a place for a shipment of illegal arms. Zorn is told to handle it and finds himself a target for the duelling factions. He has to keep this hidden, as its discovery could ruin his life with Metro. While both situations come to a head, Zorn ha no choice but to make a play, ensuring that he will be in the crosshairs of some powerful people. A chilling story that flows quickly and proves entertaining for all involved.

I only discovered the work of Otho Eskin because I was granted early access to an ARC of the second novel in the series. Happy to discover new authors I can potentially enjoy, I rushed to get this book and see what it would be like. Eskin develops a gritty detective with a number of skeletons in his closets and a personally to boot. I was thoroughly intrigued throughout the book and cannot wait to see where this series is headed soon.

Marko Zorn is quite the complex character, tapping into some interesting personal and professional aspects throughout the novel. While there are some curious aspects to his backstory, leaving him to make questionable choices, Zorn is always ready to fight for what he feels he must in order to allow justice to prevail. His determination as a cop proves to be one of the key aspects of the plot, pushing people round to get answers and also showing off some of his more ‘interesting’ qualities. I am eager to see how he develops throughout this series, as he is certainly still an enigma to me.

Otho Eskin can certainly spin a a tale, as I have come to see here. His debut was both gritty and full of mystery, while always remembering the message it sought to make. The narrative pushed forward with ease, allowing the reader to experience some of the darker sides to Marko Zorn. With mid-length chapters, the reader is invested in the process and cannot help but push onwards to discover what awaits them in short order. A curious plot and layers of deception kept the story on point throughout and left me wanting, no, demanding more. Thankfully, I have that ARC ready to go as I explore more of the curious works of Detective Marko Zorn.

Kudos, Mr. Eskin for a wonderful debut. I am eager to see where things are headed.

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: