Thursday, September 21, 2006

volume 2 of Marseilles trilogy

Chourmo, by Jean-Claude Izzo, is the sequel to Total Chaos (also published as One Helluva Mess), and extends Izzo's paen to Marseilles into new territory. This time, former cop Fabio Montale only has memories of his two pals, the gangsters who were the subject of the first volume. His beautiful cousin (one of the infatuations of his youth) shows up and wants him to find her missing son, who has gone to ground in the Arab quarter of Marseilles. In his efforts to find the boy, Fabio discovers a second murder and the two plots intertwine right up to the conclusion. But the chief charm of this series is the loving evocation of Marseilles in all its aspects, gangsters, terrorists, and all. It's best to start this series at the beginning, but the charms and thrills of Chourmo are open to any reader, whether they know Total Chaos or not. We should all thank the Eurocrime publishing series for bringing this (and several other valuable European crime novels and series) to English readers, especially in these attractively printed and bound volumes. The titles of Izzo's novels, by the way, are from Marseillais slang--I won't give them away, though--it's best to discover for yourself how the originate and how they relate to these stories, these characters, and this city.

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