WOW! Just WOW! Clear your reading list to move Headshot to the top!
What a discovery of Ortho Eskin and his intrepid D.C.-based Metropolitan homicide detective Marko Zorn, who has an aversion to guns…unless in extreme circumstances to save a life. Then, Marko counsels his female detective partner Lucy, you do not go for the chest shot but instead you practice enough to be able to land a head shot on the perpetrator. Instead of guns, Marko mostly relies on his wits and snark, along with his phone camera, texting, distractions, and anything else on hand to get out danger…and danger abounds everywhere.
By day, Zorn works the homicide beat for the D.C. police, but he moonlights on the side for everyone from the federal government to shady gang lords for huge sums of money in doing what Zorn considers meets his own sense of ethics.
In Headshot, Zorn first gets called to a local theater where in the final moments of a Hedda Gabler play, in a closed off-set room, his long-ago ex-lover actress has been killed by a shot to the head and has a gun in her hand. Zorn goes all in investigating, even though the case has been assigned just to is partner Lucy, trying to re-enact what is clearly to him a murder, not suicide. What ensues is an investigatation of all the play’s cast of actors and stagehands. Even a murder mystery author weighs in on how the “closed room” shooting could have occurred.
In the meantime, Zorn gets hired for an off-the-books freelancing assignment to guard the life of the new beautiful and fiery prime Minister of Montenegro, Nina Voycheck, making her first state visit to D.C. Nina’s been repeatedly the target of assignation by the ex-communist tyrants who ran her country. Simultaneously, the Secretary of State assigns Zorn away from the D.C. police to officially ensure the Minister’s safety while in the U.S. While Zorn has no training as a bodyguard, he has astute observations, earns Nina’s trust, and also gets handed a coded message from a young Embassy staffer fearing for her life, and who indeed gets murdered shortly thereafter. A top assassin who’s killing method is strangulation, sets his sights on both Nina and Zorn. Even the director of the FBI has a relationship with Zorn, and wants him to stay on Nina’s protective detail.
Bodies pile up, with Zorn in the middle trying to keep Nina safe while also trying to figure out who murdered his ex-lover. And you cannot stop reading!
I went back after reading Headshot to read Eskin’s first book, The Reflecting Pool.
Here a Secret Service agent ends up drowned in the Reflecting Pool on the Mall, and the cover-up extends to the White House. Zorn, assigned to investigate, has to go rogue to figure things out and to take on a domestic terrorist group illegally amassing assault weapons. It provides some great backstory on Zorn but overall does not hit the same excitement and plot brilliance of Eskin’s second outing with this character.
Of note, Eskin writes from a wealth of experience: across the span of his distinguished career, he served as both lawyer and diplomat for the U.S. Foreign Service and Army in D.C, Syria, Yugoslavia, Iceland and Berlin.
CANNOT WAIT for the next book in this series! Hello, next generation of Harry Bosch.
Thanks to NetGalley for providing me with an advanced readers copy.