Book Review: The Last Dance by Mark Billingham

Mark Billingham will be familiar to many Puffins as the author and creator of the DI Thorne series of novels (which Sky One based their “Thorne” series on). As a keen reader of crime fiction I’ve read all of Billingham’s books and was eagerly awaiting the arrival of his latest output – The Last Dance – which I received in late January.

The Last Dance is Billingham’s first new series in two decades, introducing Detective Sergeant Declan Miller. DS Miller is a very different character from Thorne – he comes across as less serious but nonetheless just as determined to catch criminals and solve crime.

I really took a liking to Miller – he shares my sense of humour and insubordination and I found myself laughing many times at his quick-fire wit and ability to find the perfect put down at almost every opportunity and occasion. Basically, he doesn’t give a toss who he upsets, and I guess you need a thick skin dealing with criminals every day so it comes naturally to him.

Without giving too much detail away, this novel focusses on the events in Miller’s hometown of Blackpool where two hotel guests in adjacent rooms have been murdered on the same evening. Miller (having just returned to work following the murder of his wife – who also served in the Police) and his new partner, DS Sara Xiu, lead the investigation, interviewing spouses of the deceased, their family members and anyone else who may be connected with the deaths.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and the story ended on a bit of a cliffhanger, setting up the next instalment whenever that is.

If you’ve read the author’s books before, or are a fan of (British) crime fiction I can highly recommend you grab a copy – I doubt you will be sorry you did.

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