Shot Clock (DS Jack Lisbon #2), by Blair Denholm

Eight stars

Continuing my exploration of Blair Denholm’s DS Jack Lisbon series, I turned to the second full-length novel. This one was just as impactful as the series debut, with a similar dose of grit and suspense. When a man is struck by a passing vehicle, he is seriously injured and soon dies. What could have been an accident is soon ruled to be something more nefarious, as witnesses see the driver flee on foot to avoid being caught. Enter DS Jack Lisbon and his team, who soon realise that the man had ties to a local professional basketball league. Could someone have wanted him dead, or was this all a freak one-off by someone who is too scared to admit their mistake? Denholm piles on the mystery as he adds depth to the series throughout.

Detective Sergeant Jack Lisbon has settled into Australia quite nicely, though there are times he still misses life back at the London Met. He’s adjusting well and making a name for himself amongst the moments of his team, but there is nothing like home around the holidays season. Such is the plight of a man who had to start afresh after some troubles on the home front.

When DS Lisbon and others are called to the scene of a hit and run, where the victim was a pedestrian who was apparently targeted by a driver, things do not look good. Witnesses say that the driver not only appeared to target the victim, but also fled on foot once everything went down. Lisbon cannot help but wonder if there’s more to the story than a panicked driver who made one fatal mistake.

The victim has ties to the professional basketball league in Australia, which is not only full of talent, but also full of those who are keen to place wagers on various games. DS Lisbon cannot help but wonder if there might be something to that, where betting and high-stakes gambling could play a sinister role in causing the death of someone. Revenge has never been far from Lisbon’s mind, but there could also be an easier explanation, though it will take more investigating and searching for clues before anything deemed a ‘slam dunk’. Blair Denholm does a wonderful job with this second novel in the series, attracting the attention of many readers with ease.

I enjoy discovering new authors and was pleased when Blair Denholm crossed my radar. Having been recommended to me by another great author, I took the leap without much hesitation. Denholm cannot only write a wonderful novel, but he does so with apparent ease, keeping the reader entertained throughout as he spins a tale full of intrigue and just enough grit to keep the reader on their toes. I am eager to keep pushing ahead, as I cannot get enough of these novels and their protagonist, DS Jack Lisbon.

There is a great deal going on for DS Jack Lisbon, particularly as he tries to acclimate himself to life in Australia. Having left behind many dangers in the United Kiingdom—described in detail for those who read the two prequel novellas—Lisbon has put all his eggs into this basket, hoping for a fresh start on the other side of the world. I can only hope that Denholm will soon take the time to explore the connection between Lisbon and his daughter a little more, rather than simply using small parts of a chapter or two to acknowledge her presence in the United Kingdom and use that as an emotional thorn for the protagonist to remember. Surely, there could be something worthwhile by expanding on this, even if it is only a sub-plot throughout one of the upcoming novels.

Blair Denholm knows his craft and utilises all the tools at his disposal to develop a strong story worth the reader’s time. The narrative sets the momentum in the early chapters and this does not wane at any point thereafter. Denholm creates some memorable characters, who complement Lisbon in his protagonist role and serve to bridge the story through its various twists. A straightforward plot did the job and permitted the reader to forge onwards without getting too confused. Denholm shows that the series is well on its way to working effectively and I have enjoyed everything that has been published to date. Let’s see what else is in store for the reader with the coming novels, including the ARC, which led me on this journey.

Kudos, Mr. Denholm, for developing such an easy to reader series. Let’s see what else is to come.