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Happy Days

D/I Joe Faraday is dead.  His colleagues,  led by D/S Jimmy Suttle,  gather for his funeral at Porchester Crematorium.  The sole surviving member of Faraday’s  family is his deaf-mute son,  Joe Junior.  At the packed service,  Suttle reads Faraday’s favourite poem while J-J enacts a dance from his youth.  The moment is both bizarre and deeply moving.  

Afterwards,  mourners gather at the Bargemaster’s House,  perched beside Langstone Harbour.  A latecomer to the wake is ex-D/C Paul Winter,  now working for drug baron turned businessman,  Bazza Mackenzie.  After years as Mackenzie’s trusted lieutenant,  Winter wants out.  The past has returned in the shape of a threatened European Arrest Warrant.  Facing the very real possibility of a life sentence in a Spanish jail for conspiracy to murder,   Winter is at last prepared to deliver Pompey’s top criminal face.

Thus starts Happy Days,  the final episode in the Faraday series.  The action takes place over the winter of 2009/10.  Bazza’s business empire,  much of it built on debt,  has begun to disintegrate.  Month by month,  he becomes more vulnerable but Bazza is in denial as far as the figures are concerned.  His latest plan?  To stand for parliament in the upcoming General Election.

His chosen constituency is Portsmouth North.  The party he founds is called Pompey First.  With the help of an experienced political agent,  plus a small army of young IT-savvy geeks,  he mounts a deeply mould-busting campaign that takes the city by storm. 

Day after day,  as polling day approaches,  he takes the battle to the major parties. His is the authentic voice of Pompey.  A vote for Bazza is a vote for those to whom the city really belongs.  To the alarm of the political establishment,  he begins to rally serious support.  Might the inconceivable happen?  Might Bazza Mackenzie MP,  make his way to Westminster?

Winter,  meanwhile,  has turned informant.  Still at the heart of Bazza’s business empire,  he plots the downfall of the fledgeling MP.  But Operation Gehenna hits serious trouble in the shape of a Russian oligarch whom Winter upsets in Montenegro.  Barely escaping with his life,  Winter returns to the UK.  By now,  he has no choice but to betray the most dangerous man in Pompey.  The CID officer charged with trying to manage an increasingly maverick Paul Winter?  His one-time apprentice and still close friend,  D/S Jimmy Suttle.

More than a decade of Pompey mayhem finally ganged up on Joe Faraday,  with fatal results.  In this final confrontation,  both Winter and Mackenzie face consequences that may prove equally lethal.  After years of plenty,  comes the reckoning. 

After twelve books,  who will be the last man standing?