Epitaph: A Novel
William Riskin is acquainted with the fear of death. Once one-third of the Three Eyes Detective Agency, Riskin is now well past his seventieth birthday and decades removed from the routine divorce cases that were his stock in trade. The most excitement he gets these days is working at the local Off-Track Betting parlor in Queens, New York, and occasionally playing the ponies himself. Until one day he spots the obituary of his onetime partner Jean Goldblum. He goes to pay his respects—and ends up paying more than he could ever have expected.
For Riskin discovers that Jean never really retired, and that he had been intently pursuing a final case—one that he died trying to solve. The two partners had never been close, but they did have a pact to finish each other’s cases should one of them fail. Out of loyalty and in memory of Jean, Riskin resolves to close this last file.
In his partner’s old records, Riskin finds the names of numerous people who have mysteriously disappeared. He follows the trail to Miami and unearths a terrible crime from a Europe of half a century before. At its dark heart is a murderous force born out of chaos that has eluded and killed countless pursuers…and is still claiming lives today. But pitted against this cunning evil, the old foot soldier can only summon long-diminished strength and skills. Now fighting for the epitaphs of hundreds of innocent dead, for Jean and ultimately for himself, Riskin knows he must risk everything—in a final endgame that will consume all the players in blood.
James Siegel combines spellbinding mystery with a complexly realized and poignant portrait of old age. By turns wry, chilling, and moving, Epitaph heralds the storytelling brilliance of an original, compelling new author.