Lima, 1970: a tremendous earthquake has just struck the Peruvian capital, and mayhem reigns. Tensions are high, with a population reeling from the disaster and mesmerized by the World Cup. Enter detective Simon Weiss, tasked with solving two seemingly unrelated murders: the crucifying and beheading of a Japanese man in a pool hall and an apparent murder-by-hanging of an elderly Jewish man. Joined by Lieutenant Kato Kanashiro, whose deep ties to Japanese-Peruvian culture inform the case in surprisingly personal ways, Weiss traces the histories of two very different criminals and their crimes.
Weiss is haunted by the trauma of a childhood partly spent in a German concentration camp. Weiss is troubled boozing, coke-snorting, and vengeful. He is unfaithful to his prostitute lover and takes up with a younger, married woman who is a fellow survivor of the Holocaust. Weiss and Kanashiro's banter is hilariously recorded with Goldemberg’s deadpan police procedural narration.
Beyond a simple pulp, Remember the Scorpion tracks the wreckage of the Second World War and reconstructs it in the conflicted psyche of a South American detective. Weiss must uncover the relation between the perpetrators and their crimes, while searching deep within himself to conquer his own demons.
Born in Peru, in 1945, Isaac Goldemberg is a renowned poet, playwright, and fiction writer. He has lived in New York since 1964 and is the Distinguished Professor of Humanities at Eugenio María de Hostos Community College of the City University of New York, where he is also the Director of the Latin American Writers Institute and the Editor of Hostos Review, an international journal of culture. He is the author of four novels, including the critically acclaimed Play by Play and The Fragmented Life of Don Jacobo Lerner. He lives in New York.