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!