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The King is dead
on 8 February 2012
For the last decade DI Joe Faraday has been a welcome interlude in and amongst the myriad of all-action investigators, super heroes who always win out in the end and, best of all, Faraday is British. Thankfully for crime detection in the UK, he does get his man more often than not but, running through the entire series, has been the on-going, relentless pursuit of Bazza Mackenzie whilst his own life began to disintegrate.
As if confirmation were needed, Faraday is no more. Any glimmer that he might just pull off a miracle escape from the clutches of pills and booze is doused in the first few pages of `Happy Days'. So, where to now?
Fortunately, DS Suttle is on form and the old reprobate ex-DC Paul Winter, brings his own and easily recognizable style to this book. Suttle has always been in play throughout the books, his promotion earned under the tutorship of both Winter and Faraday so now he takes centre stage, on the one side with Winter on the other, each wanting the same end result, the incarceration of Mackenzie.
Although this book feels at times as though all the loose ends are being sorted in readiness for the final closure, the story of Bazza's attempts at securing en election victory for his own, new Party is very well portrayed. Mackenzie's delusions of grandeur know no bounds, so it will come as no surprise to regulars that we're in for a bumpy read.
This is not the best of the 12 books but only because many of the previous stories were excellent; it would be very hard to maintain an improvement each time. This one conveys the menace of Bazza, the risks each side takes to achieve their end results and an ending which brings closure to this compelling series.
If you're a first time reader, it seems a shame not to start at book 1 (Turnstone). 'Happy Days' will stand alone but the reader will miss out on some excellent writing, a fantastic series of police procedural stories which grip to the end and, of course, a full decade of Joe Faraday's life and times, his lost family, his lost loves and, finally, his lost purpose in life. The silver lining to all this is Suttle is on the move; different venues, different people but, hopefully, the same old gripping story line next time out.