Sunday, May 18, 2014

#15: Total Chaos by Jean-Claude Izzo

Three guy friends, and the girl they all love, grow up poor in Marseilles; one guy becomes an average cop, and the other two guys become average criminals.  But when murder tears the group apart, the average cop becomes an avenging angel in Jean-Claude Izzo's Total Chaos.

The World Noir line of novels has largely focused on what is called "Mediterranean Noir," and the father of this movement is often pointed out to be Jean-Claude Izzo, so after enjoying several of these novels I sought him out myself.

Izzo's Total Chaos is an exceptional noir, and not only a good representative of the genre but a great novel in its own right.  It is dark and fatalistic, but also darkly humorous and crackling with energy.  Izzo tries to make Marseilles a character the way others have tried to make L.A. or New York characters in their own detective novels, and it adds to the flavor.

I highly recommend Total Chaos and think I can argue it as one of the best noirs of the second half of the twentieth century.

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