The third and final installment in the remarkable Marseilles Trilogy (Total Chaos, Chourmo), Solea continues Jean-Claude Izzo’s distinctive brand of vibrant crime writing, skillfully evoking a time and place that has captured the hearts and imaginations of readers the world over. Marseilles’ simmering issues of race, politics, organized crime and big business come to a rolling boil. Ex-cop, loner, would-be bon vivant, Fabio Montale is back and his heartfelt cry against the criminal forces devastating his beloved Marseilles provides the touching conclusion to a trilogy that epitomizes the aspirations and ideals of the Mediterranean noir movement.
It’s the middle of a long hot summer on the French Mediterranean shore and the town is full of tourists. Sebag and Molina, two tired cops who are being slowly devoured by dull routine and family worries, deal with the day’s misdemeanors and petty complaints at the Perpignan police headquarters without a trace of enthusiasm. Out of the blue a young Dutch woman is brutally murdered on a beach at Argelès, and another disappears without a trace in the alleys of the city. A serial killer obsessed with Dutch women? Maybe. The media goes wild. Gilles Sebag finds himself thrust into the middle of a diabolical game. If he intends to salvage something—anything—he will have to put aside his domestic cares, forget his suspicions of his wife’s unfaithfulness, ignore his heart murmur, and get over his existential angst. “He waits joylessly, patiently, and lets himself go. The stone house may end up being his grave. Who’s doing what, who’s chasing who? Who is the mouse, and who’s the cat?” Summertime, All the Cats are Bored is by Phillippe Georget.
In the Shadow of the Fire is by Hervé Le Corre. A breathless criminal investigation set against the bloody canvas of the Paris Commune The Paris Commune’s “bloody week” sees the climax of the savagery of the clashes between the Communards and the French Armed Forces loyal to Versailles. Amid the shrapnel and the chaos, while the entire west side of Paris is a field of ruins, a photographer fascinated by the suffering of young women takes “suggestive” photos to sell to a particular clientele. Young women begin disappearing, and when Caroline, a seamstress who volunteers at a first aid station, is counted among the missing, her fiancé Nicolas, a member of the Commune’s National Guard, and Communal security officer Antoine, sets off independently in search of her. Their race against the clock to find her takes them through the shell-shocked streets of Paris, and introduces them to a cast of fascinating characters.