I read the first 40 or 50 pages of this prior to highschool, so maybe 1987. I think it was probably first released in paperback right around then, since I was too young to go to the used bookstore by myself. Probably the sort of thing that would have made it onto the limited shelfspace of a drugstore at the time, what they'd call “airport novels” now.
The first few pages recounted a flashback of a Nazi death camp, and how the Americans discovered several dead Nazis after liberating it, their corpses having a gray clay-like substance smeared on them.
It then cuts to a murder investigation in a big American city (I think NYC, but don't hold me to that), where bodies are discovered with similar markings.
I stopped reading right about then, and it never occurred to me at the time what the big mystery was meant to be. Now, in retrospect, it's quite obviously a “golem”. Hey, it was decades before Wikipedia would make such knowledge common.