Title: The Reflecting Pool (Marko Zorn #1)
Author: Otho Eskin
Published on: 23rd June 2020
Genre: Mystery and Thrillers
Marko Zorn is a Washington DC homicide detective with expensive tastes. To make up for the money spent on everything nice, he sometimes takes on extra work – not always strictly legal, often unorthodox and sometimes, dangerous. Sister Grace, a notorious nonagenarian gang leader wants Cloud and his sidekick Lamont dead. Lamont created quite a scene when he shot down innocent bystanders, young children included. Cloud, who is related to Sister Grace, is becoming a pain in the backside and must be eliminated. She asks Marko to help eliminate the two goons.
Marko already has a bad start to the day – a woman was found floating in The Reflecting Pool. Marko knows it is murder – nobody drowns in a 3-foot-deep pool. No IDs are found on the body but Marko soon learns the victim was a Secret Service agent. Marko tries to investigate the murder but is stalled by political power from the White House. Marko is not used to take no for an answer, not from his boss and definitely not from the government.
A quirky protagonist with expensive tastes in wine, dine, cars, suits and women, Marko Zorn is not your usual detective. Also, he is known for his ‘attitude’ – he has his own way of solving the case and does not need a partner, nor does he respect those who tell him what to do/what not to do. My way or the highway seems to be his motto.
When the body of a beautiful woman is taken out of the Reflecting Pool, Marko owes her justice. The victim, Sandra Wilcox, reminds him of his dead sister, Rose. Rose was raped and murdered decades ago. (Marko makes a brief visit to his hometown as the local sheriff there finds a new evidence in Rose’s murder case.) Marko is adamant on solving Sandra’s murder but the politicians at the White House think otherwise. His boss asks him not to go ahead, Marko does not listen; the government officials warn him but Marko does not listen. Finally, we have one of the powerful politicians warn Marko – but no.
Then there is Sister Grace. She wants two of her gang members dead. There’s tension brewing between Cloud and Lamont – a possible gang war in the near future. Marko also has to consider the rare painting he recently purchased – it certainly put a dent in his bank balance. What with the lime green Jaguar (1970 model), custom-made suits and shoes, Marko cannot say no to Sister Grace’s request. There is one thing though, Marko does not believe in being a part of the violence – he does not carry a gun and if caught in the midst of a shootout, well… you will have to read the story to know more.
Halfway through the story, an FBI agent named Arora Lovelace contacts Marko. The duo make a considerable amount of progress in Sandra’s murder case – all hush, hush, the government doesn’t know about it. The angle of the notorious Brotherhood is explored – something to do with Aryan race and guns.
Marko is one of the best detectives I have ever read about/come across. What a guy! The elaborate ‘plot’ Marko cooks up for the bad guys at the end of the story is simply mind-blowing. Like they say, two birds with one stone. Or, in this case, three problems with one solution.
The ending is no less than an action + adventure scene straight out of a Hollywood movie – but with a twist at the end. The story is incomplete with the mention of Kenneth. Now, Kenneth is a young man straight out of the police academy and is assigned as Marko’s partner. Our quirky old Marko is so engrossed in solving the case that he manages to ‘lose’ Kenneth. Whoosh, Kenneth’s disappeared into thin air… well, this is no Houdini act so Marko must bring the boy back before it is too late.
If you love badass detective stories, you MUST add The Reflecting Pool by Otho Eskin to your TBR. A fantabulous debut with excellent storytelling, a dash of quirky humor, a badass detective stuck between dirty politicians, crime bosses and domestic terrorists.