Erin Forson's Reviews > Death in the City of Light: The Serial Killer of Nazi-Occupied Paris

Death in the City of Light by David King
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's review
Dec 12, 2011

really liked it

Death in the City of Light: The Serial Killer of Nazi Occupied Germany
by David King
This book left me feeling…
like my fingers couldn’t Google the name Dr. Marcel Petiot, the serial killer, fast enough.
Story Line
This is a work of non-fiction that reads like a story, which is fantastic, because I read little non-fiction and often hesitate to pick up a dreary, fact-laden read. Set in Nazi-Occupied France, the author braids in details of Dr. Petiot’s gruesome killings and dismemberments of at least 27 victims and possibly up to 150 victims with the rope that was the daily feeling of paranoia and fear that permeated France at the time. The focus in mainly on the pursuit and capture of the wily Dr. Petiot’s activities and his ensuing trial.
Will you like it?
If you have a strong stomach and don’t care to snack while you read—then yes—I would venture to say you will be riveted by the narrative. It’s a frustrating tale because it’s difficult to relate to some of the witnesses, hard to understand the intrigue of the time and why the courts have such difficulty finding, controlling, and prosecuting Petiot. He’s obviously a sociopath, but that has nothing to do with the strength of the writing. Told in clear, engaging prose with case evidence, description, and first-hand accounts throughout, the reader will not be disappointed, either in the choice of this book, or the fate of Dr. Petiot.
The Author
It’s not surprising that he writes so well about history, because before he became a full-time writer, King was a history professor in Kentucky. Perhaps this, coupled with the fact that he reads in many different languages and has lived and studied extensively abroad, helps him to do such a brilliant job bringing post-WWII France to life.
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