during the war

death in

David King’s novel, 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.”

Serial killer Dr. Marcel Petiot’s description in this book reminded me a great deal of what I’ve read about Ted Bundy. The narcissism. The confidence and ruthlessness. The charisma. The determination and the insensitivity combined with the ability to lie about everything, continually reinventing himself. This is a chilling book.

From the book jacket: “Drawing on many new sources, including the massive classified French police file, Death in the City of Light is an unforgettable evocation of Nazi-occupied Paris and a harrowing exploration of murder, betrayal, and evil of staggering proportions.”

Snippet from the novel:

Bands of Resistance fighters took to the side streets and dark alleys, or moved behind the barricades to rally supporters. With forces estimated by one leader at fifteen thousand, the FFI had few weapons, perhaps enough for two thousand, though many of these were old rifles hidden since 1940 or arms that had survived Allied parachute drops and evaded Nazi detection. One group of young Communists, taking the dearth of weapons into their own hands, used women to lure German soldiers around Pigalle into back alleys, where Resistance comrades waited to pounce on them and steal their weapons.

Men in cars painted with the Cross of Lorraine patrolled,with two gunmen in the front, like republicans in the Spanish Civil War. At the Sorbonne, Professor Frederic Joliot-Curie, winner of the Nobel Prize in physics, made Molotov cocktails, borrowing green champagne bottles from cellars as well as bottles from the laboratory where his wife’s parents, Marie and Pierre Curie, had discovered radium. Other Resistants continued to fire stray shots German sentries or seize goods. One man even sneaked outside the German embassy on rue de Lille and stole the German ambassador’s convertible.

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