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Solea (Fabio Montale, #3)
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(La trilogie Fabio Montale #3)

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  1,199 ratings  ·  85 reviews
Fabio Montale liebt die Stadt Marseille, für die er so lange gekämpft hat: die bunte Mischung ihrer Bewohner, das Meer, die Küche, ihr ganzes Leben. Doch die Ruhe des Ex-Polizisten ist bald vorbei. Babette, eine befreundete Journalistin, die über die südfranzösische Mafia recherchiert, wird von Killern verfolgt. In einem atemberaubenden Finale stößt Fabio an seine Grenzen ...more
Paperback, 208 pages
Published April 2001 by Unionsverlag (first published 1998)
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4.11  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,199 ratings  ·  85 reviews

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Patrick Brown
I think I might have benefited from reading the first two books in the series first. This starts in media res, and while it wasn't hard to figure out the characters, there were lots of references to deceased characters that didn't resonate a lot with me. Still, lots of good stuff here, in particular the mood and vibe of the book, which was beautiful and menacing at the same time.

Also -- and this might just be me -- but if I had professional assassins from the mafia after me, I would not spend ne
Paula Koneazny
Oct 24, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: french, fiction
Solea is as Noir as they come, although I make that claim as one who reads only occasionally in the genre. Reportedly, despite pressure from Gallimard, his publisher, Izzo rejected the idea of continuing his Marseilles Trilogy beyond Solea (a Miles Davis tune appreciated by Fabio Montale, the existentially doomed protagonist / anti-hero of the series). In this final novel, Izzo dispenses with side plots to focus on the Mafia(there are, of course,still several relationships with beautiful & i ...more
Jan 07, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: french
He has some hot information that the Mob would really like to get hold of. When he refuses to tell them, they start killing all the people he cares about in reverse chronological order, beginning with the woman he met in the bar last night and working backwards. Makes your average noir look light gray.
Dec 11, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2007-reads
PROTAGONIST: Fabio Montale
SETTING: Marseilles, France
SERIES: #3 of 3
RATING: 4.25

Babette Bellini is a journalist and activist who has written a daring and comprehensive expose of the Mafia and its activities in France. Its publication could spell the ruin of many important figures in government and private industry. As a result, Bellini is desperately fleeing for her life while trying to protect her master opus. She reaches out to her former lover and ex-cop, Fabio Montale, for help. The Mafia is
Jun 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have no idea how to process what i just read.

Shorter and more simple than the two previous novels, this final (radical) chapter of the trilogy close Fabio Montal's story with the themes that worked so well in Total Kheops and Chourmo : Great, deep and dark characters , very political crime stories and Marseille. Marseille my home town, that i rediscovered and fell in love again because of Izzo's immersive writing. Not one writer that i have read until now, has managed to retranscribe the soul,
Jim Leckband
Jun 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Like a literary version of D.O.A. the classic film noir of a guy investigating his own murder and just as bleak. The previous two books in the Marseilles trilogy were noir - but they had flashes of hope or at least an understanding with life in all its crap. The hope is gone in this one where an investigative reporter on the Mafia is on the run and bodies are accumulating. Fabio Montale is again in the middle of it - and there is no way out.
Gary Singh
Apr 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"An idyllic vision. That was what I always did with reality. Tried to raise it to the level of my dreams. To the level of a man's eyes. The level of happiness. But reality was like a reed. It bent, but it didn't break. Behind the illusion, you could never lose sight of human corruption. Or death. Death, which has eyes for everyone."
Randal White
I don't think this was as good as the previous two installments. There was a bit of padding with quotes from reporting and a seemingly endless distractedness by the lead character which takes the reader away from the action all too frequently. That said, there was still the wonderful flavor of Total Chaos throughout.
Tom Bennett
Jun 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It may due to the translation, but I found the writing less than riveting .
The writing still hasn't changed for the better, and the main character's interactions with women are cheesy at best, but the plot had deeper implications than the other two books.
Apr 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Last book in the Mediterranean Noir series. Excellent series.
Sandra Guerguy
Oct 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jean Claude Izzo's last part of his Marseilles trilogy; Solea continues the tri8als and tribulations in the Life of now retired cop Fabio Montale. It paints a dark and gloomy picture of the world that is corrupted by the Mafia.
Jim Coughenour
I was captivated by Total Chaos, even though the narrator – earnest ex-cop existentialist, Fabio Montale – stretched my patience with his depressed, repetitive and slightly histrionic musings. The story is strong and Izzo does a great job evoking the beauty, pathos and political turmoil of Marseilles. I also got a kick out of Montale's penchant for Lagavulin, deep jazz, pastis, shellfish and his tortured world of over-heated friendship and romance.

Chourmo seemed too much of the same, so I was re
Jun 26, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a super dark book. If you are ok with that, you'll like Solea. I bought is book in Europe. It falls under a category called World Noir...or Mediterranean Noir...or French Noir....basically it is pure noir but with a political agenda. The plot is good, but anyone used to American Noir will be frustrated. The main character does so little...his world is literally burning up around him. He is In a no win scenario. It is truly terrible. I enjoyed it. I was thinking of this for my students as ...more
Mar 08, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2008
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Solea, the final book in the Marseilles trilogy, was the most enjoyable book in the series for me, though it is somewhat different than the first two books, Total Chaos and Chourmo. While the other two had long expositions on the culture and sociology of the melting pot that is Marseilles, this book was cleaner, tighter, and faster. Izzo's use of music and food bring you closer to the Mediterranean, especially the the book's constant musical allusions. In fact, all three titles in the series com ...more
Danny Cerullo
Jan 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The conclusion to the Marseilles Trilogy takes a slightly different path. Gone is any interest in a mystery, no murder to solve. Instead, the whole book serves as a showdown with death. That sense of inevitability hovers over the entire novel. Montale drinks, eats, and smokes his way through, he recites obscure poetry and listens to jazz classics. He clings to life the only way he knows how, but Solea makes no attempt to even pretend there will be a happy ending. Excellent piece of noir, read th ...more
Mark Hammond
Aug 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

This is the final book in the Marseilles Trilogy. I loved it. IF you like Noir fiction then you will love this tale about a former cop trying to do what's right and stay alive in the very corrupt landscape of the police, the judiciary and the now international Mafia with its hooks into big business and politics. The Marseille of Jean-Claude Izzo's cop character, Montale, is vivid. You can taste the grilled sea bass with fennel and smell the Mediterranean. The hope for love exists along with the
Jul 29, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was the most disappointing of the trilogy-- I get the critique of the Mafia's role in global crime and European government, but I thought Izzo's lecturing on the subject in the form of one character's journalism and his main character's thoughts was a bit heavy handed. At the same time, highly recommend this trilogy for its strong sense of place (Marseilles) and French take on the noir (many more detailed scenes of food and drink, for one).
Charles Kerns
A perfect book. Perfect for an old man in despair, regretting all, surrounded by death, by loss, by machines grinding his world to nothing. Perfect.

OK, maybe the newspaper article on the mafia was never ending, but a book pretty close to perfect.

Just the thing to give that cherry, hopeful neighbor, to knock him down so you two can brood and quietly kill a liquor bottle or two.

Just the thing to read before you die.

Feb 10, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
For me this was the weakest of the three Mediterranean Noir titles. Of course we are talking Izzo here and it is all relative. This still merits four stars. It was a really good read, some new love interest though as ever this is not what an Izzo book is about. It is more to do with friendship and love of friends. Lots of violence of the reported kind. I shall miss Fabio, Honorine and Fonfon but it has been a great experience.

Thoroughly recommended but do start with Total Chaos.
Mar 19, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love the writing of izzo. He quotes Camus, The love we share with a city is often a secret love. Izzo and his hero Fabio love Marseilles and fear the change to come when Eurotechnocrats will rebuild its harbor. The year is 1995. One of Fabio's girlfriends knows too much about the French Mafia and they are searching for her. Death and romance and pastis abound in Fabio's world, and beautiful women.
Mar 27, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pretty damn good. It's evidently the third in a trilogy, but it works just fine as a stand-alone (though I'd like to check out the others). I'm not sure if it's an issue of translation or not, but the prose is occasionally a bit flat; however, it's just as often poetic in that hard-boiled, unpretentious manner of the best crime fiction.
Alan Korolenko
The third book in the noirish Marseille Trilogy finds Fabio Mantale in danger as he finds his family and friends in danger and vows vengeance against a Mafia hitman. Darkest of the three books, Montale's basic decency shines through but the systemic corruption in Italy is overwhelming. Apparently Izzo was asked to write a fourth Montale book but chose to end the story here. He died in 2000.
Apr 25, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I started with the last book in the series. People are right when they talk about the character and the descriptions of place getting under your skin. Things don't go smoothly, the happy endings don't happen. It's about regret and realizing who you do love. I found some of the discussion of debt timely but some of the sociology a little overwrought. Nonetheless I found it a magical read.
Jack Laschenski
Sep 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Noir, noir!

This, the third and last of the Marseille trilogy is the blackest.

The Mafia runs everything: the politicians, the police and the big businesses.

And they kill everyone who wants to expose them

Including our protagonist and his friends.

Magnificent setting in the old city - now mostly urban renewed.

Noir, noir.
Jul 18, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sigh. I didn't want this series to end. It did. It had to. [Spoiler:] The ending is sad. It had to end that way, no? Izzo gets under your skin one last time.
Regret. This final book in the trilogy is about regret.

Jeffrey Cavanaugh
A dark masterpiece that concludes by revealing the grim truth that only the most honest of authors are willing to impart to us - that good does not always triumph and that the better angels of our nature do not always win. Superb.
Sophie Bernier
I'm not really a fan of police novels, especially when it talks so much about corruption, but I did like it. I was a little tired of Lole at the end of it and I feel like it could've been more fast paced.
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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
  • Chourmo
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