Marko Zorn is a Washington DC homicide detective, but a very unusual one. He operates by his own rules and will not tolerate bureaucratic interference. He does not fit the profile of a big city police detective: he rarely carries a gun and he faints at the sight of blood. But he is also the most dangerous and feared man in the city of Washington.
The most elusive assassin in the world versus DC homicide detective Marko Zorn
Washington, DC homicide detective Marko Zorn is investigating the murder of an actress—an old love—when he is assigned to protect the visiting prime minister of Montenegro, the beautiful Nina Voychek.
At 85 I Published My First Crime Thriller—Otho’s essay published in Newsweek
Otho was interviewed on the Charlotte Readers Podcast
Deadly Pleasures Mystery Magazine picked The Reflecting Pool as one of two favorites of 2020!
Marko and Me—Otho reflects on his character on the Jungle Red blog
My City of Crime—Real and Imagined on CrimeReads
Otho interviewed by author Jon Land on Facebook Live
Otho participated in the following International Thriller Writers Roundtables:
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. The sequel, Head Shot, also featuring Marko Zorn will be released in December, 2021.
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 (correct title), 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 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 to writer Therese Keane and lives in Washington, D.C.
—Midwest Book Reviews
—The Authors Show host Linda Thompson
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
—Author Steve Berry
—Author John Gilstrap
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?
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.
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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