Death in the City of Light

  • by David King
  • Narrated by Paul Michael
  • 13 hrs and 54 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

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.
The main suspect was Dr. Marcel Petiot, a handsome, charming physician with remarkable charisma. He was the “People’s Doctor,” known for his many acts of kindness and generosity, not least in providing free medical care for the poor. Petiot, however, would soon be charged with twenty-seven murders, though authorities suspected the total was considerably higher, perhaps even as many as 150.
Who was being slaughtered, and why? Was Petiot a sexual sadist, as the press suggested, killing for thrills? Was he allied with the Gestapo, or, on the contrary, the French Resistance? Or did he work for no one other than himself? Trying to solve the many mysteries of the case, Massu would unravel a plot of unspeakable deviousness. When Petiot was finally arrested, the French police hoped for answers.
But the trial soon became a circus. Attempting to try all twenty-seven cases at once, the prosecution stumbled in its marathon cross-examinations, and Petiot, enjoying the spotlight, responded with astonishing ease. His attorney, René Floriot, a rising star in the world of criminal defense, also effectively, if aggressively, countered the charges. Soon, despite a team of prosecuting attorneys, dozens of witnesses, and over one ton of evidence, Petiot’s brilliance and wit threatened to win the day.
Drawing extensively on many new sources, including the massive, classified French police file on Dr. Petiot, Death in the City of Light is a brilliant evocation of Nazi-Occupied Paris and a harrowing exploration of murder, betrayal, and evil of staggering proportions.


What the Critics Say

“Erik Larson's tour de force of narrative nonfiction hasn't been matched - until now… While this work is painstaking in its research, it still has the immediacy and gasp power of a top-notch thriller. True-crime at its best.” ( Booklist)
“A gripping story…this fascinating, often painful account combines a police procedural with a vivid historical portrait of culture and law enforcement in Nazi-occupied France.”( Publishers Weekly)
“Gripping….expertly written and completely absorbing” Kirkus Reviews)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Basic but overall an OK Listen

Given this one only three stars, difficult to get into at first, the reader is not exactly inspiring me to go on listening and after the third attempt to listen again from the beginning, I've actually given up and just picked up a copy in print from the library to finish the book by reading it for myself.

Story line wise, its not a Dean Koontz although you could be forgiven by thinking it is similarly written, it has got everything from murders, mystery, suspense, both thrilling and chilling moments along with twists and turns, bit over descriptive in places but otherwise a good read, the author has done well not skipping or jumping from crime to crime but woven them into a neat fabric as the basis of the book with lots of extensions to the under lying plot beautifully worked in on top. Lots of levels to this one.
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- Helen

Book Details

  • Release Date: 20-09-2011
  • Publisher: Random House Audio