Total Chaos by Jean-Claude Izzo
French crime fiction
Translator – Howard Curtis
Original title - Total Khéops
Source – Review Copy
Early on, in this blog I reviewed on of Izzo’s stand alone novel by Jean-claude Izzo ,A sun for the dying that wasn’t a crime novel ,I really fell for Izzo prose style ,he was very good at atmosphere .So when the offer to review the Marseilles trilogy came from Europa editions , as part of their new imprint World Noir ,I couldn’t say no .Jean-Claude Izzo was born and died in the City of Marseilles ,He was initially sent to technical school in Marseille as he was an immigrant ,but then took a job in the book shop got involved in a movement for peace involved in the catholic church called Pax Christi ,then he did his military duty in 1964 in France and Africa during this time he started to write for a military paper and published his first novel in 1970.This book was published in 1995 Europa have published five of his books in English .He died sadly in 2000
The gun .A present from Manu , for his twentieth birthday .Even then , Manu had been a bit crazy .He’d never parted with it ,but never used it either .You don’t kill someone like that .Even when you were threatened .That had happened to him a few times , in different places .There was always another solution .That was what he thought .And he was still alive .But today he needed it .To Kill a man
Manu was always the wayward on in the group of friends .
Well Total chaos follows three old friends Ugo ,Manu and Fabio ,these three all grew up on the streets of Marseilles close almost you could say blood brothers , but as they grew there lives took different paths Ugo and Manu were drawn to that dark underbelly that the city is well-known for and joined a gang ,on the other hand Fabio went into the police and is now a detective .Then Manu is killed ,Ugo who has been living away from the city comes back to find out who killed his friend and does and in that classic gangster way like in the bible for it’s a body for a body in Ugo’s view ,but he is captured by the police in what seems to be a bit of a set up , then steps in Fabio ,like his friends he is an immigrant child of this dark city . Fabio is drawn by a promise the three boys made to watch out for one another no matter what feet he treads on or what rules he may break ,this draws him into the dark heart of the city he lives in as he finds who wanted his friends dead !
The aroma of coffee woke me .That was something that hadn’t happened in years .Since long before Rosas getting her out of bed in the morning was no easy matter .Seeing her get up to make coffee was little short of a miracle .Carmen maybe ?
Izzo is so good at setting the scenes in the book places and smells .
Well I thought I try this book before I get to the latest big French Crime Novel Alex ,because Izzo is considered the father of the modern French Noir novel .This book lives up too that our hero Fabio is a flawed man .We have a women Lole she is maybe the classic femme from a classic noir film two of the men have been involved with her .Then we have the city itself and in this book it is a character ,Izzo is the master of setting the city comes alive as a place of dark corners seedy cafe and bars ,inhabited by a cast of what seem like extras from every gangster movie you’ve ever seen .You come out of the other side of the book wanting to know where the story goes in the next two books ,but also feel like smoking a packet Gitanes,having a glass of wine in one of the seedy bars in the background .
Have you Read Izzo ?
Do you have a favourite Noir novel ?