Drop Shot (Detective Jack Lisbon #5), by Blair Denholm

Eight stars

First and foremost, a large thank you to Blair Denholm for providing me with a copy of this novel, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.

Happy to have the latest novel by Blair Denholm in hand, I eagerly devoured the book to see what Detective Sergeant Jack Lisbon turned up. In a story that exemplifies not only Lisbon’s abilities, but also a great narrative surrounding a murder, Denholm captivates the reader from the outset and keeps the action high throughout this piece.

Detective Sergeant Jack Lisbon has seen a great deal since he moved to Australia, but nothing has prepared him for the attitude that Roderick McAdam shows on the tennis court. A phenom who is tearing up the tennis world, McAdam makes short work of anyone who dares meet him on the court. However, after a particularly controversial win in a match Lisbon saw in person, many people begin to see the true side of McAdam.

The following day, McAdam is found murdered in a seedy hotel room, far from where he was staying. While his recent opponent is the prime suspect, DS Lisbon cannot help but wonder if there is more to it, particularly when McAdam was found in a compromising situation. Using the full force of the Yorkville Police, particularly forensics, DS Lisbon begins to peel back what truly happened to Roderick McAdam and who might be targeting him.

After travelling to the site of the upcoming Australian Open, DS LIsbon gets a clearer idea of McAdam as a player and person, as well as garnering some needed facts about who might have been holding a grudge against him. By the time he’s back in Yorkville, DS Lisbon has a clearer idea, but will need to work meticulously in order to properly target the potential killer. Denholm develops a wonderful mystery wrapped in some strong police procedural work to deliver a stellar new novel in the series.

Since first being contacted by Blair Denholm, I have been highly impressed with his Jack Lisbon series. Each novel offers a great look into the man and some of the cases he has come to face since fleeing the United Kingdom. Full of great character development and some strong narrative work, the story paces itself well until the final reveal. This is a great addition to a strong series and kept me flipping pages well into the night.

I enjoy police procedurals, particularly when there is a gritty cop at the helm. Blair Denholm has done well to develop Jack Lisbon throughout the series, offering insights into his personal life as well as progress working in Australia. The narrative proves strong in this piece and provides the reader with a great roadmap throughout the story. A number of great characters appear, some of the first time while others are repeats throughout the series. Plot twists abound and the reader is treated to something great without feeling as though they can predict things from the outset. While there is surely much to learn about Jack Lisbon, Blair Denholm continues to do well at adding depth and dimensions to his protagonist.

Kudos, Mr. Denholm, on another winner. I am excited to see what direction DS Lisbon may follow and the series progresses.

Take Down (Jack Lisbon #0.75), by Blair Denholm

Eight stars

Having been offered the second prequel novella in Blair Denholm’s DC Jack Lisbon series, I chose to dive right in to get some context. While making his way to exchange some money, off-duty Jack Lisbon finds himself in the middle of a hostage situation. He has no weapon and only his wits, hoping to use this to help diffuse a tense situation. Denholm does well to set the tone for what I hope remains a strong series.

Since arriving in Australia a number of weeks ago, DC Jack Lisbon is still trying to get his life in order. Leaving behind the drama of the London Met, Lisbon has a few loose ends to tie off, including a large amount of money he smuggled into the country. Feeling he ought to do something with it, Lisbon travels across the city to use a currency exchange where no one knows him.

While things appear to be going smoothly, he is soon pulled into the middle fo a hostage taking. Being off-duty and with no weapon, Lisbon will have to play it cool, while trying to diffuse the situation at hand. It will take all his patience not to blow his cover and bring things to a peaceful ending. Does DC Jack Lisbon have the ability to be a hero without violence? Denholm does well to paint more of the Jack Lisbon picture here, effectively keeping the reader intrigued.

There is so much that I have come to learn about Jack Lisbon in the short time I have been reading about him. Blair Denholm does an effective job at filling some of the gaps left by the opening novel, yet still keeps things open for interpretation. With this quick story, Denholm provides more insight into his protagonist, while also keeping much unaddressed as of yet. I can only hope that the three novels yet to come will provide me with more about this complex man.

Blair Denholm knows how to write and pulls the reader into the middle of each story with ease. I can see how I will come to enjoy more of his work, as it flows well and keeps me on my toes. I am eager to see how things develop and what Denholm has for the reader into the coming novels, as well as where this will lead things. The series is sure to be a success, given the time to explore it a little more. Bring on more DC Jack Lisbon!

Kudos, Mr. Denholm, for these novellas. Now, back to the meatier writing and more complex stories.

Fighting Dirty (Jack Lisbon #0.5), by Blair Denholm

Eight stars

After Blair Denholm asked me to read his DS Jack Lisbon collection, I thought it best to begin at the start to see how it all came to fruition. This novella sets the tone for the series and provided great context for me, after I finished the first novel in the series. Lisbon is working as a DI in London, but has some series issues in his personal life, all of which come to the surface. Might it be time for him to look for new options to salvage his career, and his life?

Detective Inspector Jack Lisbon was once a prolific boxer, having made a name for himself around the United Kingdom. While he has a wonderful job with the Met, he is also saddled with many skeletons in his closet and chooses to work outside the law when it suits him.

After confronting someone at a local boxing gym, Lisbon’s attempted shakedown goes awry and his temper gets the best of him. Unable to juggle it all, he turns to booze, hoping to drown himself, rather than face the harsh realities that await him. This leads to even more trouble and leaves his superiors to scream lee for options. Might DI Lisbon use this fresh start to better himself? Denholm does well to offer some backstory, while leaving many threads dangling for future exploration.

Blair Denholm has crafted quite the series already, and I am only one novel and this novella in. I enjoy how it all comes together quickly, leaving the reader to keep pace or risk falling behind. There are some great nuggets revealed throughout, but Denholm forces the reader to keep forging ahead, as there is much more to come.

DI Jack Lisbon is surely not the same man readers met in the series’ debut novel, but that is the joy of having this novella to use as comparison. There is a lot that took place before he ended up in Queensland, which only adds to the allure of the overall depth of Lisbon and his character. I will keep reading to see if more of the holes left with this novella can be filled, helping me to discover more about the man and his struggled to keep it together. There is still the question of his daughter to address, but I will leave that for readers to order on their own.

The thing about novellas is that they serve to bridge the gap between two novels, but also have little time to gain momentum. Denholm delovers from the opening pages and provides the reader with something amazing to help put it all into context. There is a great deal of character development here, permitting the reader to see how things went so horribly wrong in the UK, leading Lisbon to arrive in Queensland for a fresh start. While not overly deep in its storyline, it tells of Jack Lisbon’s struggles and provides the context needed for the attentive reader to look for more in this series, which has started off so well. There’s another novella awaiting me, which I hope offers more, as well as some great novels I am eager to try. Bring them on!

Kudos, Mr. Denholm, for making me want to learn more about DS Jack Lisbon.

Kill Shot (Jack Lisbon #1), by Blair Denholm

Eight stars

Having been asked by Blair Denholm to read the latest in the Jack Lisbon series, I thought it best to acquaint myself with the previous works. A feisty detective who is trying to make a life for himself in Australia, DS Jack Lisbon has a great deal going on, including some intense casework. When an abandoned vehicle turns up, it appears to belong to a gritty MMA fighter. With no body, DS Lisbon and his team must scour the area for clues and leads. What they discover is a far more complex situation, involving a handful of other fighters and revenge on the menu. Denholm begins things well with this series, sure to pack a punch as things progress.

Detective Sergeant Jack Lisbon has been through a great deal wince arriving in Australia. Having been a decent detective for the London Met, life came crashing down when he refused to ‘colour in the lines’, costing him most everything, including a relationship and little girl. Now he’s relocated to the other side of the world and is trying to make a name for himself, alongside a strong group of detectives.

When Lisbon is alerted to an abandoned vehicle with significant amounts of blood, he is unsure what to expect. Registered to a gritty MMA fighter, the vehicle is full of forensic clues, but no body. As Lisbon and his team commence an investigation, they discover that life in the world of MMA fighters is more than just train and brawl. There is a much darker side and one worth exploring a little more.

When a body turns up, having been a buffet for the crocs, Lisbon hopes that they ha cracked the case wide open and found their purported victim. However, DNA results are not as promising and the case opens up with new leads and some clues that relate more confusion. While Lisbon tries to stay on the straight and narrow, he cannot help but want to venture a little outside of his superior’s orders, if it will help solve the case.

When aspects of the darker side of MMA fighting come to the surface, Lisbon cannot help but push a little more, discovering many who would love to exact revenge on their opponents. Lisbon must narrow the suspect list quickly if he is to close the case, but cannot help wondering if he is missing something important. Denholm does well with this series debut, leaving the reader wondering about Lisbon’s abilities.

I always enjoy new authors and their strong series, Blair Denholm came recommended to me by another author whose work is stellar and so I was eager to give this series a try. Denholm does well to set the scene and keep the reader engaged, revealing just enough to keep the story moving along, yet adding degrees of suspense to keep everyone on their toes. I can see things going well with this series, so I will surely rush to read more, if only to discover some of the inner workings of DS Jack Lisbon.

DS Jack Lisbon has a great deal going on, even with only a single book done in the series. He is a keen detective, but not one to follow orders with any regularity. This is surely how he ended up on the other side of the world, away from his family and the job he loved with the Met. Still, Lisbon works his cases effectively and has a knack for making sense of the smallest clue, turning it into a larger lead that could open a case wide. I am eager to learn more about the man, and notice that Blair Denholm has a prequel short story on offer that could assist there. As the series progresses, this will surely be more about Lisbon that comes to light, just what I need to whet my appetite for another great police procedural series.

Blair Denholm has all the ingredients to create a strong series and puts them on offer here. I was pleased to see how the narrative set the pace early on and left me wanting to know more, as I forged ahead. Strong characters and a well-defined protagonist kept me connected to the story with each page flip. The plot was easy to decipher and worked well, without getting too bogged down in police work or tangents. I like a series that flows well and keeps a good pace, something Denholm does effectively here. I will rush to read the prequel short story and keep pushing ahead to learn more about this copper who’s sure to use much of his experience to solve more crimes.

Kudos, Mr. Denholm, for a great series debut. Bring on more DS Jack Lisbon and his rebellious ways!