Monday, July 14, 2014

Book Review: Death in the City of Light: The Serial Killer of Nazi-Occupied Paris

Death in the City of Light, by David King, is the story of a rather prolific serial killer living in Paris during World War II.  The book alternates between Dr. Marcel Petiot’s past, the discovery of many of the bodies, and how the police worked to catch him.  The most fascinating part of this story is how it was really a perfect environment for a serial killer between people going missing all the time anyway and how the Nazi forces hampered the Paris Police in their investigations.

Even though this is a non-fiction work and, as such, much of the ending is already known, I’m still not going to give it away except to say that the ending was quite entertaining.  Yes, entertaining despite the book’s gruesome subject.

Perhaps the one critique I had of the book is that there were times the jumping back and forth in the timeline and in perspective got a little confusing.  It became a bit difficult to keep track of the order of events and, subsequently, what the police knew and when they learned the information.  That being said, this was still an amazing book.  It brought to light a morbidly fascinating event that has been overlooked in the larger picture of the history of World War II.  And I must add the Paris Police did a pretty incredible job despite the odds they were facing in solving this one.  This book is not for the faint of heart, but it is certainly a must read book.