Viviane Janouin-Benanti

The Assassin Was a Child: François

Version française

François, 12 Years Old

François, Pierre Le Lin, was just 12 years old. He was still a child, not even an in the Brittany region of France.

Crimes committed by children are rare. How does a child become a murderer? And why? Does he have bad parents? Was he not raised well? Does he lack empathy or is he overly sensitive? Is he fundamentally malicious or was it a horrible mistake? So many questions challenge us as we attempt to comprehend such an act.

This fascinating novel recounts the actions of young François, which resulted in a criminal case that left the people of Brittany shocked and befuddled. Page after page, we witness the child planning his crime, becoming a criminal. It is a breathless retrospective, and François' behavior will send cold shivers down your spine. At the end of the book, you will hear the facts of the trial and see how the judges struggled to understand what happened, distressed to have to pronounce a verdict for a child who, really, could have been anyone’s son.

François was in many ways a typical child, but he was motivated by an adult-like passion and the jealousy that comes with intense emotion.

An experienced writer of creative nonfiction, Viviane Janouin-Benanti guides us through an exploration of Good and Evil with a magical blend of psychological analysis and choosing just the right words to tell this incredible story.