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Jean-Claude Izzo Books In Order

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Publication Order of Marseilles Books

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

One Helluva Mess (1995)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Lost Sailors (1997)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Sun for the Dying (1999)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

Garlic, Mint, & Sweet Basil (2003)Description / Buy at Amazon

Jean Claude Izzo was a French novelist, poet, screenwriter, and playwright who garnered much fame during the 1990s when he published “Total Chaos,” the debut novel of the “Marseilles” trilogy.

The author was born to Gennaro an Italian immigrant to Marseille in 1945. His mother was Isabelle Navarro who just like his father was Italian though she had moved to France with her family while she was very young.
His parents married in 1941 and began living together at the Place de Lenche. In 1943 they were expelled after the Germans began demolishing old neighborhoods and the family had to move to La Milliere.

There, Jean Claude attended school under the Parish of Saint Calixte on Boulevard Boisson. According to his teachers, he was a very good student who constantly wrote poems and put down all manner of stories in notebooks.
Similar to most immigrant children, he was sent to a technical school where he qualified as a tool maker. He saved much of his money and together with a friend, he set up a nightclub which he ran for a few months aged only 16.

In 1964, he was called up by the military and served in Toulon and in Djibouti. During his time there, he wrote for the army newspaper and took a lot of photographs.

Upon his return in 1966, he became an activist for Peace Christi and it was at the organization that he met his soon-to-be wife Marie Helene Bastianelli.

For several years, he would become involved in politics and get married to Marie, even as he frequently wrote poems and contributed to the regional communist daily “La Marseillaise Dimanche.”

In 1970, he moved to the small village of Saint Miter les Ramparts 50 kilometers from Marseille. It was at this time that he published “Poems Aloud,” his first collection alongside PJ Oswald.

Working as a librarian, he also penned a ton of articles for “La Marseillaise.” In 1972 he was offered a full-time journalist position with “La Marseillaise,” even as he continued publishing his numerous poems.
By 1974, he had risen through the ranks to become Deputy Editor in Chief charged with editing La Marseillaise’s culture section.

During his time editing the culture section, he was responsible for reporting on the “Avignon Festival,” which he found to be a lot of fun.

In 1978, he separated from his wife and resigned from “La Marseilliase,” as he went on to survive on odd jobs for several months.

But he was not out of commission for long as he soon found a freelancing gig with “la Vie Mutualiste,” even as he was the host of a radio program known as “Forum 92.” He stayed with the paper and ultimately became editor-in-chief until his resignation in 1987.
From this point, he wrote articles in numerous newspapers and magazines and was a founder of many literary events such as the “Polar Festival of Grenoble” and “Carrefour des Litteratures.”

During this time, he also penned a variety of song texts and film scripts before making his fiction writing debut when he published his first short story in Gulliver Magazine.
He published “One Helluva Mess” his debut novel in 2005 which marked the transition to becoming a fiction author.

“Total Chaos” is Jean Claude Izzo’s first novel of the blockbuster “Marseilles Trilogy.” It is set in the city of Marseille a deadly, breathtakingly beautiful, and explosive city where a disenchanted cop named Fabio Montale lives.
He is a former police officer that had left the police force due to racism and corruption but has now taken the fight to the mafia for the sake of friendship.

Fabio, Manu, and Ugo spent their childhood on the mean streets of Marseille where there was nothing more valued than friendship.

They had sworn that nothing would ever break their bond and that they would stay true to each other no matter what. However, they had grown apart when Fabio became a police officer and left his friends behind

Manu and Ugo did not have much success in their own lives and soon found themselves involved with the criminal underworld in the city. At some point, Manu was killed and Ugo tries to avenge him only for him to get murdered too.
It is now left to Fabio Montale to get justice for his friends, even though he has been warned against it by his acquaintances in the underworld and the people he used to work with in law enforcement.
But he has never been a man who broke the promises he made particularly to his friends.

Jean Claude Izzo’s novel “Chourmo” is once again set in multicultural Marseille. It is a city in which immigration has created a corrupt, harsh, chaotic, and dangerous situation that is at the same time very exciting.
It is here that Fabio Montale the protagonist makes his home as cannot disengage or escape no matter how much he tries.

While he was working with the police, he never made many friends as he was deemed too idealistic as he refused to get involved in corruption and crime.

After he was let go by the police force, he started to earn a living in other ways, even though he often stands up for underdogs in Marseille most of whom are immigrants and particularly Arabs.

He was in the low end of town when he is informed that his nephew has gone missing. He is forced back onto the crime-infested and mean streets of Marseilles as he tries to learn the truth of the disappearance and get the boy back.
But is a dangerous mission as he will have to infiltrate the dangerous world of crooked cops, religious fanatics, mobsters, and desperate people driven to extremes by poverty.

“Solea” by Jean Claude Izzo opens with Babette Chiellini having to flee for her life after she penned a comprehensive and daring expose of the mafia and what it has been doing in France.
If the expose is published it could run many important figures in private industry and in government. To protect her work, she contacts Fabio Montale the former police officer and ex-lover to help her.
Montale agrees to help her but soon the mafia gets wind of it and begins taking out people he loves in an effort to coerce him to lead them to Bellini.

Living a life of quiet desperation after his wife left him, he spends much of his time in bars sleeping with loose women.

When one of his one-night stands that he had connected with is found gruesomely murdered, he vows to destroy the mafia and save his city from their evil grip.
It is a beautifully written narrative with language ranging from the stark to the poetic, shaded by horror and despair and imbued with love and hope.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Jean-Claude Izzo

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