7 August 2017

Jean-Claude Izzo: Total Khéops (1995)

Total Khéops is the first volume of Jean-Claude Izzo's superior detective trilogie marseillaise, which is packed with a love of multi-cultural Marseille, about which it makes innumerable references: the title itself refers to the Marseillais rap band IAM's record Total Khéops, meaning  complete chaos, a general mess. Which is the underworld of early 1990s Marseille depicted here.

Cop Fabio Montale is the (anti)hero, a guy in his forties who's seen it all, done it all (but really only in Marseille and its area), drinks far too much (especially just before driving), but loves fine wine and whisky, and (surprisingly not that often) the beautiful women associated with the area. He doesn't live in Marseille itself, but Les Goudes, a tiny village close to the Calanques, where the faithful seventy-year-old Honorine treats him as a son and loves to make him meals.

At heart Fabio is a softie, although he's surrounded by fascist murderers and thugs who think nothing of killing anyone who stands in their way. Like his now murdered schoolmates Manu, and now Ugo, they shared with him a petty criminal life before his life as a cop began, when he too could have continued on the other side. But then, bent or straight (in the criminal sense) is there much difference?

My other Jean-Claude Izzo posts:

Jean-Claude Izzo: Chourmo
Jean-Claude Izzo: Solea

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