“A complex, fast-paced mystery.”
Kirkus Reviews


A dangerous drug is spreading through Washington, D.C.—can Marko Zorn take down the company behind it?

Firetrap is the best book of the three to feature Marko Zorn!”
—Jon Land, USA Today best-selling author


Good news! After selling out on publication day, hardcovers of Firetrap are back in stock on Amazon.
There’s a limited number left, so be sure to order your copy now.

Firetrap is an Amazon Editors’ Pick for Best Mystery, Thriller & Suspense

Update on Otho’s play, Duet


WATCH NOW: Otho Eskin Talks Thrillers, Big Pharma & Firetrap With Jon Land

Watch the Mysterious Bookshop event with Otho and author Amy Pease


“Raising Children in East Berlin” article in The Foreign Service Journal

“I Was a US Embassy Officer in Syria—That Kid Still Haunts Me” article in Newsweek

“How a Great Editor Changed My Manuscript and My Life” article in CrimeReads

“The Best is Yet To Come” article in the Washington Independent Review of Books

Featured on Jungle Red Writers: Seeing Double

Guest post on Rogue Women Writers: Otho Eskin goes Rogue

Book Q&A with Deborah Kalb

Perfect for your book club! If you’d like Otho to ZOOM in when your group meets,
send an email and we’ll make it happen!

Read more news


Author Otho Eskin

Otho Eskin published his first thriller, The Reflecting Pool, to great reviews and book club interest in 2020. It was selected as an Amazon Editors’ Pick for Best Mystery, Thriller and Suspense. The Reflecting Pool follows Marko Zorn—a Washington D.C. homicide detective who has a strong ethical compass but refuses to play by the rules. Book two of the Marko Zorn series, Head Shot, is now available and book three, Firetrap, was published in January, 2024.

Before he turned to writing fiction, Otho Eskin served in the U.S. 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) as a lawyer and diplomat. He was Vice-Chairman of the U.S. delegation to the United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea, participated in the negotiations on the International Space Station, was principal U.S. negotiator of several international agreements on seabed mining and was the U.S. 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 U.S. Congress and commissions.

Otho’s career in the Foreign Service unknowingly prepared him for thriller writing later in life as he witnessed political corruption at every strata of society. While stationed in East Berlin during the cold war, the East German intelligence service (Stasi) operating on behalf of their Soviet masters published a book entitled Who’s who in CIA, translated into several languages and with wide distribution. This propaganda effort listed Otho and was intended to claim that he was a U.S. spy. (He was not). This was part of East German and ultimately Soviet disinformation campaign to make the work of U.S. Foreign Service officers serving abroad more difficult.

Otho Eskin has also written plays including: Act of God, Murder as a Fine ArtDuetJulie, Final Analysis, Season in Hell, among others, which have been professionally produced in Washington, New York and in Europe.

Otho is married to writer Therese Keane and lives in Washington, D.C.

The Marko Zorn Novels

The Reflecting Pool

Book One

Head Shot

Book Two

Head Shot

Book Three


I’m fascinated by Eskin’s ability to weave such complex characters and different story lines into one extremely interesting book. I am absolutely eager for the next book featuring Marko Zorn.
—TheAuthorsShow.com on Head Shot

Those who prefer breathless action to careful reflection will enjoy this one.
Publishers Weekly on Head Shot

Head Shot is … a thinking man’s thriller that would make David Baldacci or Brad Meltzer proud. Zorn is one of the most unique and colorful voices in thriller fiction today.
—Jon Land on Head Shot
Readers will look forward to seeing more of Zorn, a distinctive lead with his dry humor, clipped dialogue, and rogue tendencies.
Publishers Weekly on The Reflecting Pool
The Reflecting Pool has the kind of unexpected plot twists and turns that keeps the reader’s riveted attention from beginning to end.
—Midwest Book Reviews on The Reflecting Pool
The best crime hero this side of Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch. Woven from the fabric of masters like John D. MacDonald and Robert Crais, this riveting page-turner is never afraid to cut its own cloth.
—Jon Land, Providence Journal on The Reflecting Pool
…crackles with twists and turns, making for a fun and heady combination of suspense and intrigue.
—Author Steve Berry on The Reflecting Pool

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 in 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?

Nothing whatsoever.

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.


As soon as I retired from my twenty plus career in the United States Foreign Service I realized I needed to find some new activity to keep me physically and mentally active. I could not envisage doing nothing. I don’t play golf and am not a member of a church choral group or engaged in other similar social activities, so I needed something new. I grew up in Washington and in those early years Washington had no theater to speak of but by the time I reached college I had become a theater addict. Whenever I had the time and the resources I would take the train to New York and see as many plays as I could in the two or three days available. In college, I took part in many college productions, normally playing small parts. These performances were not brilliant successes. Recognizing I didn’t have the talent to act, I turned to writing plays instead. Writing, in whatever form, is something I have always loved. Following college and law school I joined the Foreign Service and that left me no time or opportunity to write plays or anything else.

By the time I retired and returned to Washington and looking for a new career, Washington had become an exciting theater town. There were many small, experimental theaters hungry for play scripts and I became active in play-writing groups and in the theater scene and began writing plays. At first, many of my plays were short, ten-minute plays but, over time, I explored more serious subjects and in longer form. I slowly found directors and producers ready to produce my work. The rest, as the say, is history.


Email me at otho@othoeskin.com or use the button below.

Book Clubs

Interested in sharing The Reflecting Pool with your book club? Would you like me to ZOOM in on the day your group meets to discuss the book? Send me an email and let’s see if we can make it happen! Download the book club discussion questions below.

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Judith Ehrlich
Principal of Judith Ehrlich Literary Management LLC

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Author Otho Eskin
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