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(La trilogie Fabio Montale #2)

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  1,559 ratings  ·  115 reviews

"A talented French writer who draws from the deep dark well of noir."-The Washington Post

Chourmo . . . the rowers in a galley. In Marseilles, you weren't just from one neighborhood, one project. You were chourmo. In the same galley, rowing! Trying to get out. Together.

In this second installment of Jean-Claude Izzo's legendary Marseilles Trilogy-whic

Published August 14th 2018 (first published 1996)
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Jim Fonseca
Definitely noir, the middle story of the author’s Marseilles trilogy. The other two, first and last, are Total Chaos and Solea, and each can be read independently of the others. Izzo, who died in 2000 at the age of 54, was in love with Marseilles so all his novels are filled with local color: restaurants, wine, food described in such detail we are almost given recipes; music and poetry. There’s a lot about the history of the city, how neighborhoods are changing (a map would be nice, but, hey, I’ ...more
Paula Koneazny
Apr 25, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: french, fiction
Chourmo is the second novel in Izzo's Marseilles trilogy (aptly named, as the essential character in all the novels is the city itself). Marseille, in all its complexity, is a constant for Izzo; the city's role in the drama goes beyond that of background or setting for the crime-story: the corruption, murder, sex, love and hate with which he populates his noir narratives. Marseille is, in a sense, both father and mother, friend & lover for generations of immigrants, once Italian & Spanish, more ...more
Charles Kerns
Chourmo gives false hopes that all will turn out well. That you can live your life to old age and find happiness. That noir is not so dark. That good may not win, but holds its own.
Marina Sofia
Jan 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Had no idea this was part of a trilogy, so I jumped right in at the middle. The atmosphere of Marseille, the love the author has for that flawed yet fascinating city, is unforgettable. I was completely captivated. Even when I was repulsed by the events he describes.
Having now read the other two books in the trilogy, I will say that this was my favourite of the three. It is much more of a 'traditional' whodunit than the other two, but the story is so sad, and I love the way the author does not sh
Jul 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pairs well with a glass of pastis.
Aug 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Izzo is it! For those unfamiliar with the book, it is the third in Izzo's "Marseilles Trilogy."

Fabio Montale, fed up with all that is bad about the police, thought he could retire, go relax in his home town. Do some fishing, some eating and drinking. Then his cousin comes to him, distraught, because her son has disappeared. Naturally the cousin is beautiful, a love who slipped through Montale's fingers in his youth. Naturally he can't really avoid being brought back into it all.

Montale is broo
Dinesh Raghavendra
I wanted to read Jean Claude Izzo from a really long time. Ever since he got a glowing mention in my friend Marcel Inhoff's blogpost about noir. ( This one is a page-turner. Its the second part of Izzo's Marseille trilogy. I haven't read either the first or the third book but it picks up after the first part.

Its gets all the tropes of noir down to a pat. The wistful ex-cop. The beautiful Angelou. The missing Kid. The thugs and their schemes. Izzo is grea
May 26, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crimestories
Second book by Jean - Claude Izzo - sequel Total Cheops. I couldn't stop reading til I finished it. Fabio Montale is protagonist strongly connected with life of the city he lives in. Story is completely believable and very well told. There is an old crush on cousin, family secrets, beautiful woman, good food, anger, frustration and the multicutural city, where racial conflicts are everyday life.
Barry Hammond
May 16, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The second book in the famed Marseilles trilogy, and a fine example of so-called Mediterranean Noir, Chourmo is a great crime thriller soaked in the atmosphere of the port of Marseilles, with it's mix of Italians, French, North African, and Arabic immigrants. It's main character is an ex-cop who, when his beautiful cousin tells him her son has gone missing has to unravel the complicated events around his death. A classic of atmosphere and tension. - BH.
I liked the book a lot except once again the story foder are the Muslims and North Afrikan Arabs. It really becomes tiring when in everything you read the bad guys are the Muslims. The story itself told from the narrator's perspective, he only hates racism and struggles to understand the wrongs in the world perpetrated by man. a very melacholy, moving and at times cynical and witty.
Jun 03, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-noir
Not as good as the first in the series. But his descriptions of Marseilles are always interesting. And I love his laconic way of writing about car chases and other mayhem. My favorite Izzo remains The Lost Sailors.
Mar 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book. If possible better than the first. Very atmospheric. Well paced and exciting at times balanced by the melancholy and quiet descriptions of the sea. Loved the descriptions of the characters and the food. Can't wait for the third to arrive.
Antonio Lopez
Sep 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful follow-up to Total Chaos. In fact, I thought it was much better. The plot and sociocultural elements, plus character development, were well cooked, like many of the dishes Izzo so eloquently writes about throughout the book. In fact, someone should make a cookbook based on the series,
Dec 31, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Those who haven't read "Total Chaos", the first book in Izzo's Marseille-set trilogy, needn't worry that they are missing crucial information. This second book (whose title is a slang term referring to the slaves who rowed in Roman galleys and is used to express the sense of solidarity felt by those in the slums), picks up the life of Fabio Montale about a year after the events of "Total Chaos" and only refers to them in passing. Since being drummed out of the corrupt Marseille police force foll ...more
Jack Hrkach
Sep 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I am racing through Izzo's terrific Marseilles Trilogy. Fabio Montale has left the police force, but he's forced (or forcing himself?) to do some policing in Chourmo, and gets himself into a case that won't stop deepening until...well, that would be telling. Another woman from his life walks back into it, more or less and everything goes to hell. There are deaths, fires, cops, a few of whom like Montale, others who hate his guts, one of whom (at least) is caught up with the Mafia. Surprises keep ...more
Nov 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

I hesitated to pick this one up. Weren’t there other more urgent items on my want-to-read list? But I loved Total Chaos, the first in Izzo’s Marseille trilogy, and he portrays Marseille so vividly, I was tempted to spend some time there, if only from the comfort of an easy chair. So I decided to try just the first few pages. And then I was hooked. This is a noir crime novel, enjoyable as a genre piece. But it’s far more than that...a portrait of a man confronting aging, haunted by his past, unce
Christine Mathieu
Jan 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Great sequel to "Total Chaos" (Total Khéops) and also the basis for a very good TV mini series adaptation called "Fabio Montale" with Alain Delon, available at the public library (maybe only via ILL).
Jean-Claude Izzo who died way too young wrote the Marseille trilogy in the 1990's.
It's considered French noir.
The way how Izzo intertwines crime, corruption, politics, racism, love, hate, friendship, loyalty, jazz and French cuisine in Marseille is breath-taking.
I basically was on the edge of my se
Mary Crawford
Jun 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Chourmo means a way of being within your community. This is the second in a series of three based on the life of Fabio Montale, now an ex cop his cousin comes to him to help find her runaway son. This brings Fabio back into contact with his old work mates, known criminals and a group of religious fanatics. Izzo’s descriptions of Marseilles portray a dangerous, frightening place with an undercurrent of chourmo which makes life worth living. There are graphic violent scenes placed alongside wonder ...more
Jun 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Izzo's second instalment in the Marseilles trilogy is a beautiful yet gut-wrenching read. Fabio Montale is no longer a cop. But still the novel's narrator of events which unfold with the murder of a 16-year old boy who finds himself at the wrong time and wrong place. The main character is this Mediterranean city-port which hides an underbelly of Mafia, hitmen, Islamic fundamentalists, junkies and all the people which are caught in-between.

It is a Mediterranean noir par excellence and Izzo's writ
Matthew Bishop
May 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Following Total Chaos was always going to be difficult, that story had it all - Chourmo didn’t disappoint. I’ve rated as 5 stars, I felt it probably wasn’t quite as up there with Total Chaos, but still, Fabio Montale is a great character.

All of the descriptions of Marseille have left me spellbound. Whilst the area is described as the first city of the third world, and no doubt there is some truth in this, the city is gripped by racial inequality, crime gangs and police who look the other way, I
In the second of Izzo's Marseilles trilogy, Fabio Montale is contacted by his cousin, seeking his help in finding her missing son. It doesn't take him long to realise that the situation is very bad indeed, made worse by him witnessing the drive-by shooting of a former colleague in the course of his investigations.

In his books, Izzo really nails the description of Marseilles. He immerses you in the sub-cultures, the geography, the food and the music of his home town. In the process he recounts a
Gary Singh
Apr 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"That must have been how I'd gotten old. By hesitating too much, not grabbing happiness when it was staring me in the face. I'd never been good at doing that. Or at making decisions. Or taking responsibility. Or doing anything that might commit me to a future. I was always too afraid of losing. And so I always lost."
Sep 15, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: myteries
It was a good read--I wanted to see how it would end. But I was confused by the many characters whose names were unusual and then I saw that some other reviewer said something like that.

It was sad to read about the prejudice against Muslims in Marseille 20 years ago and then realized that the difficulty with immigration issues is as bad or worse today.
Pauline Liu-Devereux
What a find!

How did it take me so long to discover Izzo? I've read so many crime novels, but these are amongst the best. And like the best, the crime is less important than the characterisation, the deep knowledge of place and, as is so often the case, the celebration of a local cuisine. I don't want to read the last in this trilogy because I don't want it to be over so soon.
Not exactly my cup of tea since I'm not a big fan of noir novels but I must admit that the plot is pretty good, it makes you curious to know what will happen. The writing is what I liked the most: there's a feeling of melancholy and nostalgia that really stuck with me.
Oct 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A beautiful, devastating and engaging noir. The narrator here, a reflective ex-cop pulled into looking for his cousin's missing son, is the perfect private-eye type protagonist and the city of Marseilles becomes a character itself.
Jason RB
Feb 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bought, crime
A brilliant book however not sure if the story, the choice of music or wine selections are best. Basically before starting this book get a pen and paper and create two columns: one for wines and one for music. Otherwise you will be re-reading the book looking for that song or that wine that captures your attention.
Emma Broekema
Mar 27, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Bleh. It was a required reading and I just could not enjoy it. Too many names to remember, the plot was messy and I did not understand half of what was happening, but maybe that's because my translated version sucks
Ubaldo P.
May 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A well written noir. It depicts Marseille in a very poetic way!
Jul 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not as good as Total Chaos, but an excellent read and great Euro-Noir.
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Jean-Claude Izzo was a French poet, playwright, screenwriter, and novelist who achieved sudden fame in the mid-1990s with the publication of his three noir novels, Total Chaos (Total Khéops), Chourmo, and Solea: widely known as the Marseilles Trilogy. They feature, as protagonist, ex-cop Fabio Montale, and are set in the author's native city of Marseille. All have been translated into English by H ...more

Other books in the series

La trilogie Fabio Montale (3 books)
  • Total Chaos (Marseilles Trilogy, #1)
  • Solea

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“Να τα βρεις με τη ζωή σημαίνει να τα βρεις με τις αναμνήσεις σου... Ν' αναρωτιέσαι για το παρελθόν δε χρησιμεύει πουθενά. Τις ερωτήσεις πρέπει να τις απευθύνουμε στο μέλλον.” 11 likes
“comme beaucoup de Marseillais, les récits de voyages me comblaient plus que les voyages eaux-mêmes / come molti marsigliesi, i racconti di viaggi mi incantavano più dei viaggi stessi.” 0 likes
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