ACCLAIMED crime writer Mark Billingham is returning to the Borders Book Festival this year to discuss his latest work, The Last Dance.

With his good friend Chris Brookmyre, he will introduce the audience to a new character – the eccentric, offbeat dancer Detective Sergeant Declan Miller.

DS Miller has no respect for authority, but he is the best hope Blackpool has for keeping crime off the streets.

A double murder in a seaside hotel sees DS Miller attempt to solve what appears to be a case of mistaken identity.

The Last Dance is an exciting departure from his beloved Tom Thorne series and is perfect for fans of Richard Osman and Richard Coles.

Billingham said: “Detective Sergeant Declan Miller is a different type of copper. His wife, who was also a copper, was murdered three months earlier and he came back to work too soon.

“He still cares about solving crime, but he doesn’t care about offending people.

“Blackpool’s Pleasure Beach is still one of the biggest tourist attractions in the country, but Blackpool has a darker side with a huge heroin problem.

“I’ve really enjoyed spending time with Declan but I haven’t finished with DI Tom Thorne.

“Chris (Brookmyre) will be interviewing me and he’s been a mate of mine for years so I’m really looking forward it.

“I’ve been at the Borders Book Festival several times and love coming back to Melrose. It’s a fantastic event and of course I’ll also be appearing with the Fun Lovin' Crime Writers on Sunday night.”

Billingham has twice won the Theakston's Old Peculier Award for crime novel of the year, and has also won a Sherlock Award for the best detective created by a British writer.

He has published 21 consecutive top-five Sunday Times bestsellers that have sold more than six million copies globally.

He is one of the UK's most established crime brands who has garnered praise from across the media and crime writing community, including Linwood Barclay, Harlan Coben, Ian Rankin and Val McDermid.

Mark Billingham will be appearing at the Borders Book Festival, Melrose, on Saturday, June 17, at 9pm (tickets £14, concessions £12).

He will talk about his new book, The Last Dance, published on May 25. He will also appear on the Sunday from 8.30pm-10.30pm, with the Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers (tickets £16, concessions £14).