As a young man, Gerhard Self served as a Nazi prosecutor. After the war he was barred from the judicial system and so became a private investigator. He has never, however, forgotten his complicity in evil.
Hired by a childhood friend, the aging Self searches for a prankish hacker who’s invaded the computer system of a Rhineland chemical plant. But his investigation leads to murder, and from there to the charnel house of Germany’s past, where the secrets of powerful corporations lie among the bones of numberless dead. What ensues is a taut, psychologically complex, and densely atmospheric moral thriller featuring a shrewd, self-mocking protagonist.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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|Title of eBook: Self's Punishment||Series: Gerhard Self,|
|Release Date: 12-18-2007|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Knopf Publishing Group|
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Korten summons me
At the beginning I envied him. That was at high school. The Friedrich Wilhelm in Berlin. I was getting the last bit of wear out of my father's old suits, had no friends, and couldn't pull myself up on the horizontal bar. He was top of the class, in P.E. too, was invited to every birthday party, and when the teachers called him Mr Korten in class, they meant it. Sometimes his father's chauffeur collected him in the Mercedes. My father worked for the state railway and in 1934 had just been transferred from Karlsruhe to Berlin.
Korten can't stand inefficiency. In gym, he taught me how to do the upward circle forwards and the full-turn circle. I admired him. He also showed me what makes girls tick. I trotted along dumbly at the side of the little girl who lived on the floor below and attended the Luisen, just opposite the Friedrich Wilhelm, and gazed adoringly at her. Korten kissed her in the cinema.
We became friends - studied together, national economy for him, law for me - and I was in and out of the villa at Wannsee. When his sister Klara and I got married, he was our witness, and presented me with the desk that is still in my office today, heavy oak, with carved detail and brass knobs.
I hardly work there these days. My profession keeps me on the move, and when I drop in to the office briefly in the evenings, my desk isn't piled high with files. Only the answering machine awaits, its small window letting me know how many messages I have. Then I sit in front of the empty surface and, fiddling with a pencil, listen to what I should take on and what I should avoid, what I should sink my teeth into and what I shouldn't lay a finger