The Reflecting Pool
New book coming September 1st
A Washington DC detective investigates a murder that exposes the dark side of the US Government and an illicit love affair in the White House that goes fatally wrong. He finds himself caught between feuding criminal gangs, a domestic terrorist group planning to buy illegal weapons and start a revolution, and forces within the US government determined to cover up the murder.
A lawyer and former diplomat, Otho Eskin served in the US Army and in the United States Foreign Service in Washington and in Syria, Yugoslavia, Iceland and Berlin (then the capital of the German Democratic Republic). He was Vice-Chairman of the US delegation to the United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea, participated in the negotiations on the International Space Station, was principal US negotiator of several international agreements on seabed mining and was the US representative to the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space. He speaks French, German and Serbo-Croatian. He was a frequent speaker at conferences and has testified before the US Congress and commissions.
Otho Eskin has also written plays including: Act of God, Murder As A Fine Art, Duet, Julie, Final Analysis, Season In Hell, among others, which have been professionally produced in Washington, New York and in Europe.
Otho is married and lives in Washington, DC.
The Reflecting Pool
New book coming from Oceanview Publishing September 1st
Marko Zorn, a Washington DC homicide detective with expensive tastes in art, classic cars and women, must take on extra work—not always strictly legal, often unorthodox and often dangerous—to supplement his income—work which requires his special combination of skill and steel nerves, although he would prefer to stay home and watch old movies on TV, enjoy his art collection and listen to cool jazz. Zorn investigates the murder of a young woman Secret Service agent but dark forces in the US government are determined to prevent him from finding the killer. Working with FBI Agent, Arora Lovelace, Zorn uncovers the connection between the victim, a domestic terrorist group that plans to assassinate the US president and a doomed love affair in the White House.
Zorn’s life is complicated when a Washington DC crime boss, a sometime employer in his alternate career, orders him to eliminate her major rival—her grandson—and to stop delivery of a shipment of illegal arms and he becomes embroiled in a major war among criminal gangs and becomes the hunted as well as the hunter and must use all his skills and cunning to avoid becoming the victim.
Rough and ragged as the world it so vividly creates, The Reflecting Pool crackles with twists and turns, making for a fun and heady combination of suspense and intrigue.
Q & A
Tell us a little about yourself, how and when you started writing.
I love to read and I love the theater and this has stimulated a lifetime interest in plays and in writing. In my career in the Foreign Service, writing was an essential skill where accuracy, clarity and concision were the highest priority and I have adapted these skills to writing plays and, later, fiction. My first efforts in the field of fiction were short stories in the science fiction genre. I later decided to adopt these techniques to long-form fiction. I wanted to draw on my many years of living in Washington and working in the US Government. I know the city—from Capitol Hill, to the elite social circles of Georgetown, to the poor, sometimes desperate, sometimes dangerous parts of town out of the limelight. My work has involved me the world of interagency government cooperation and infighting—sometimes savage and brutal—and have drawn on that experience to describe how Washington actually works.
What inspired you to write this novel?
I have lived much of my life in Washington, DC and know the city well—from its public monuments and grand boulevards to the other Washington which can sometimes be dangerous and ugly and I wanted to recreate this Washington as a backdrop to an exciting story.
How did you use your life experience or professional background to enrich your story?
I spent my career coordinating the work of many government agencies—civilian, military and intelligence—and I have drawn on this background and these experiences.
Anything autobiographical in your novel?
Are any characters based on people you know?
No, except in the broadest, most generic, sense.
What part of writing your book did you find the most challenging?
Developing a main character who is both engaging and believable.
What writers have inspired you?
I admire classic mystery writers such as Graham Green, W. Somerset Maugham, Eric Ambler, John Le Carré.
What is the writing process like for you?
I try to stick to a consistent schedule of 5-6 hours a day and work at the same hours each day, normally from 12 Noon to six (I’m not a morning person). I find I do a lot of re-writing and revision as new plot points occur to me in the writing process.
What’s next for you?
I am working on further novels featuring the same protagonist, Marko Zorn, and some of the same characters.
Any final words?
I hope you enjoy reading The Reflecting Pool as much as I enjoyed writing it.
Duet is a one-act play by Otho Eskin about the great French actress Sarah Bernhardt and her archrival, the Italian diva Eleonora Duse. The ghost of Sarah Bernhardt appears in Eleonora's dressing room in a theater in Pittsburgh in 1923 just before the last performance of Eleonora's life. The two great actresses clash as each relives the events that shaped their lives. They recall their first experiences in acting and their love affairs. Most importantly, they return to their tumultuous encounter when Eleonora appears in Paris to challenge Sarah directly and Sarah betrays Eleonora—in art and in love. In the end, each woman comes to terms with her life and with each other.
- First performed as a staged reading at the Italian Cultural Institute, Washington, DC, on March 8, 1993 with Kerry Waters, Kathryn Kelley and Kryztov Lindquist. Directed by Robert McNamara.
- Won First Prize in 1993 for Dramatic Writing in the Larry Neal Writers' Award sponsored by the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities.
- Performed at the Elizabethan Theatre, co-produced by the Folger Shakespeare Library and SCENA Theatre in Washington, DC, November-December 1994 with Kerry Waters, Jennifer Mendenhall and Kryztov Lindquist. Directed by Robert McNamara.
- Performed at the Beckett Theatre, Melbourne, Australia in October 1994 with Tammy McCarthy, Andrea Swifte and Philip Parslow. Directed by Malcolm Robertson.
- Performed in Croatia and Slovenia on an international tour by SCENA Theatre in 1995.
- Performed on Croatian National Radio in 1997.
- Produced in Italy with Ileana Ghione, Fiorenza Marchegiana and Gabriele Villa. Directed by Pier Antonio Barbieri. See Italian Connection for program notes for this production.
- An Italian translation of Duet was published in the Italian theater journal, Prima Fila, January 1998 issue.
- Produced at the Greenwich Street Theatre in New York City from December 4, 2003 to January 20, 2004 with Laura Esterman, Pamela Payton-Wright and Robert Emmet Lunney. Directed by Ludovica Villar-Hauser.
- Produced by Scena Theater in Vienna, Austria, December 12, 2004, (German language) directed by Robert McNamara featuring Anna Richert, Edith Stauer-Wierl and Paul Wimberger
- Produced by The Red Thread Collective at El Museo Cultural in Sante Fe, NM, February 22 through March 9, 2008, directed by Francesca Ursone featuring Cynthia Straus, Rima Miller, Paul Blott, Jason Adam and Boril Radoykov.
- Produced by the Staryj Dom Theatre in Novosibirsk, Siberia, Russia. In repertoire beginning October 29, 2008.
- In repertory at the Dailes Theatre of Riga, Latvia.
- Produced at the International Theater Festival "SLAVIA 2011" in Belgrade, Serbia March 2011
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Principal of Judith Ehrlich Literary Management LLC
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