PARISLIGHTAfter a few weeks of lighter fare, I am back to reading some serious nonfiction.  My fascination with a genre I refer to as “vintage true crimes” continues with Death in the City of Light: The Serial Killer of Nazi-Occupied Paris by David King, which I finished this weekend.

Death in the City of Light, like my one of my all time favorites, The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson, follows the story of a serial killer against the backdrop of a dramatic period of history.  Mr. Larson’s backdrop was Chicago at the time of the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893.  In Death in the City of Light, Mr. King’s tells the chilling story of a prolific serial killer in Nazi occupied Paris.

About Death in the City of Light: The Serial Killer of Nazi-Occupied Paris by David King:  “Death in the City of Light is the gripping, true story of a brutal serial killer who unleashed his own reign of terror in Nazi-Occupied Paris. As decapitated heads and dismembered body parts surfaced in the Seine, Commissaire Georges-Victor Massu, head of the Brigade Criminelle, was tasked with tracking down the elusive murderer in a twilight world of Gestapo, gangsters, resistance fighters, pimps, prostitutes, spies, and other shadowy figures of the Parisian underworld.”

To say Death in the City of Light is gripping is to understate it’s impact.  Reading true accounts about horrible crimes is much more compelling than even the best fiction, and Mr. King delivers.  He tells the little known story of this particular chapter in the sordid history of Paris with so much detail you can’t help but be swept up in it.

The main story of the crimes and the investigation are interesting.  However, I also learned a great deal about life in Paris under Nazi domination and other period facts that I really did not know a great deal about.

Death in the City of Light should be top of the list for fans of true crime stories and history buffs.  It certainly isn’t for the faint of heart.  Compared to the true life atrocities of the man behind the story told here, Hannibal Lecter is creampuff.

Death in the City of Light: The Serial Killer of Nazi-Occupied Paris by David King is available from Amazon an other booksellers.