A dark, complex noir/detective novel, Total Chaos is as good as everyone says. Jean-Claude Izzo gets credit for the development of Mediterranean noir, and it is well deserved. The guilty, complex, unlucky in love detective has been transformed into Fabio Montale, an officer working in a poor neighborhood of Marseilles after he opened his mouth about some of the police excessive-force issues facing the city. Montale's Marseilles is part of the troubled France that produces children of immigrants who are for all intents and purposes French but are still singled out and forces into slums, giving rise to riots like in the 2000's. Izzo did not live to see those, but the world he created gives an almost universal insight into cities facing dramatic changes. Marseilles itself is a character in Izzo's trilogy, providing a stunning backdrop to Montale's issues. Montale's friends have been gunned down, and the daughter of a friend is missing. Violence, organized crime, police brutality all plague Montale's surroundings, not to mention his trouble with the woman of his dreams (who has left him for one of his friends, before the friend was killed). There are so many different threads in the plot that manage to come together at the end, like all good crime fiction. While not my favorite of the Marseilles trilogy, Total Chaos is where a reader needs to start in the series of these novels, as much of the exposition here is relevant to the next two novels.