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The Last Dance

  7 May 2024 |    3 minutes  |   Paul Mitchell

Book cover for The Last Dance

Title:  The Last Dance
Author:  Mark Billingham
Date Published:  18 Jan, 2024
Genre:  Police Procedural
Publisher:  Sphere
ISBN:  978-1408726358
Series:  Detective Miller 
Pages:  400
Rating:  ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐



Meet Detective Miller: unique, unconventional, and criminally underestimated…

He’s a detective, a dancer, he has no respect for authority ­- and he’s the best hope Blackpool has for keeping criminals off the streets. Meet Detective Declan Miller.

A double murder in a seaside hotel sees a grieving Miller return to work to solve what appears to be a case of mistaken identity. Just why were two completely unconnected men taken out?

Despite a somewhat dubious relationship with both reality and his new partner, can the eccentric, offbeat Miller find answers where his colleagues have found only an impossible puzzle?

My Review

I’ve just finished reading The Last Dance by Mark Billingham and wow, what a wonderful story! As always Bookbub was my friend helping me find this absolute gem. This book is the first in a new series starring Detective Sergeant Declan (Dec) Miller as the main protagonist who is back at work after being recently widowed.

Set in Blackpool, the story begins when a local gangster is found murdered execution-style in his hotel room. Miller and his new partner, DS Sara Xiu are assigned the case. Soon after they discover the body of an IT consultant in an adjacent bedroom killed in the same manner. What follows are the sometimes hilarious attempts by Miller and Xiu to solve the cases.

Miller is a character that I initially thought would annoy me. He has a couple of pet rats named Fred and Ginger, and he discusses cases with his deceased wife, Alex. Miller is also known for his witty, sarcastic humour, especially when dealing with authority figures. However, as the story progresses, I discovered that my initial impression of him was wrong. Despite his quirks, Miller is a much more complex and endearing character than I had first thought.

When the landlady reached for his empty plate, Miller looked up and kissed his fingers. ‘My compliments to the chef, as per usual.’

‘Bugger off Miller.’

‘I’m telling you, the unique way that man caresses the button on the microwave…he’s a real artist. He’s burnt-on reheating royalty and that’s a fact. He’s the Sultan of Ping.’

His partner Sara Xiu is also a little offbeat, she doesn’t get any of Miller’s jokes and has a penchant for thrash metal and large motorbikes. The exchanges between these two caused me a couple of times to laugh out loud.

Final Thoughts

The Last Dance is expertly plotted and moves along at a great pace. It’s got some fabulous characters that work well together. It was one of those books I just couldn’t stop reading.

It’s a moving story at times and then in the next breath, there are laugh-out-loud moments.

Highly Recommended…

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