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Dragon Precinct

(Dragon Precinct #1)

3.54  ·  Rating details ·  290 ratings  ·  50 reviews
Humans and elves, dwarves and gnomes, wizards and warriors all live and do business in the thriving, overcrowded city of Cliff's End, to say nothing of the tourists and travelers who arrive by land and sea, passing through the metropolis on matters of business or pleasure -- or on quests. The hard-working, under-appreciated officers of the Cliff's End Castle Guard work day ...more
Paperback, 262 pages
Published July 27th 2004 by Pocket Star Books (first published 2004)
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3.54  · 
Rating details
 ·  290 ratings  ·  50 reviews

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May 01, 2011 rated it it was ok
Keith R.A. DeCandido never met an entertainment franchise that he didn't like. I've heard it rumored that he's pitched a series of novels focusing on that former fat-guy Jerod from all of those "Subway" commercials ... and that may end up being more entertaining fare than his fantasy-themed riff on CBS's juggernaut "CSI" franchise with "Dragon Precinct," a largely tepid but thankfully quick read.

Don't get me wrong: DeCandido (and others) has done a scholar's work in sinking the "Star Trek" fran
Mike Crate
May 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Cliff's End is a city state ruled by Lord Albin and Lady Meerka who have a rather progressive Castle Guard as in their guard spend less time actually guarding the castle and more dealing with the day to day major and minor crimes of the city which are many and varied as the city is home to humans, elves, gnomes, dwarves and many other species. Within the castle guard are the six Detectives who "police" the city which is subdivided mainly along economic lines into precincts named Gryphon (The Cas ...more
Nov 19, 2018 rated it liked it
If the idea of a DnD Game taking the form of a crime procedural appeals to you, then Dragon Precinct might just be the book for you.

This odd little novel that takes the standard elements of a murder mystery and shifts the setting from our world to a medieval realm with magic, elves, dwarves, and other standard fantasy fair. I was 100% on-board with this idea and wanted to see what DeCandido would do with it, but the overall novel failed to charm me.

I tend to prefer mysteries that are all about
Craig Andrews
Jan 14, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, crime
Dragon Precinct was a pretty good introduction to the series. It gives a good overall view of the port city of Cliff’s End and the world in general. It's basically a police procedural series that's set in a fantasy world. There's loads of interesting things in it as the author world builds and loads of little things that I'm sure will crop up in future books. The resolution of the mystery was a bit flat for me personally, not the reveal itself but the after-effects. Likewise the myriad small eve ...more
May 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, mystery
One of the early "police procedural" mysteries set in a fantasy world. Keith does an excellent job of translating modern day investigation techniques to what you would need to deal with fantastic creatures of many types. For example, can forensics tell you whether a fire was started by a phoenix or a salamander?

Well written and properly grammatical, with enjoyable characters and well crafted plot.

Meanwhile I've been looking for the sequel, Unicorn Precinct, because this one was so enjoyable I wa
A.F. Grappin
Jun 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Police procedurals are not a genre I normally reach for, but attending a convention with the author as a panelist had me eager to read Dragon Precinct.

I do not regret it in the least! DeCandido has created an amazing culture in a fantasy city that has the same sorts of problems we do in the real world. He actually made me care about the cops of such a place. How they approach crimesolving in a world where magic exists, where different fantasy races coexist... it's vibrant and a joy to read!

You c
Brian Gawlowski
May 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I picked up this book after talking to Keith at a local Comic Con, and used this as a trial of a new reading genre for me. I loved fantasy/Sci-Fi books, and wanted to try something new, So this was a Fantasy/Sci-Fi book, but a good ol fashioned "Whodoneit" Story. Overall very well done, and I read the next 3 of this series and barely could put them down! Can't wait for #5! 3 weeks away!
Jun 18, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This seems to be the start of a fun little series that mixes police procedurals with a standard fantasy setting. I like the idea that the usual group of adventurers is a pain in the ass for guards to deal with and took some cynical shadenfrude in having them be the victims of the murder that the plot centers on,
Mar 23, 2019 rated it liked it
An enjoyable easy read. Basically a police procedural story in a very unusual environment consisting of elves, goblins, wizards etc! I will certainly read others in this series.
Jan 11, 2019 rated it liked it
This would have been four stars, as it was fairly enjoyable, but the end was so lacklustre, I didn’t realise that was it until I turned the page and found there wasn’t any more book.
Feb 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
You might not think that Fantasy and Procedural don’t mix. You would think wrong. Slow starting after an interesting prologue that gives a lot of background (and a murder), but then the case unfolds better than your usual cop shows. Thought it might be problematic solving a murder when magic is involved, but my fears were unfounded.
Karen Anderson
Sep 18, 2018 rated it it was ok
Ending was out of nowhere. Might pick up the second one to see if the story improves.
Jessica Brawner
Feb 27, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dragon Precinct & Unicorn Precinct, published by Dark Quest Books, are the first two books in a series, by Keith R.A. DeCandio, the third of which, Goblin Precinct, is set to come out in the spring.

Set in the city-state Cliff’s End, the books follow two detectives, who strive to solve crime in a city filled with elves, trolls, gnomes, wizards, halflings and other fantasy creatures. A Lord and Lady rule the city, along with a cadre of Nobles that seem destined to get in the way of the bad guy
Mike Billington
Jan 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
Author Keith R.A. DeCandido's "Dragon Precinct" is a fun read and an admirable beginning to a series of stories about a small squad of detectives trying to enforce the law in a very strange place.
How strange?
Well, the cops who work out of the Dragon Precinct live in a world populated by humans, dwarves, elves, trolls, hobgoblins, and other magical folk. It's as if Ed McBain's 82nd Precinct detectives went "over the rainbow" one day and wound up in Wonderland.
DeCandido demonstrates impressive wo
Tracy L.
Feb 20, 2017 rated it liked it
This was a fun quick read. Not a horrible book, but nothing spectacular either. The book does not have a great end to the mystery and frankly was a little weak. But, I liked the characters and their interaction enough to buy the second one.
Jul 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
Dragon Precinct mashes up two of my favorite genres of books: mysteries and fantasy. I enjoyed the off-beat characters, the plot pacing, the tone, and even the coarse language. Then again (full disclosure) I am friends with Keith and could often hear him reading it in my head.

The good: This is a really unique take on fantasy. The main characters are not one-dimensional, as can happen with so many fantasy novels. It's part of a series, so I'll get to revisit these characters and this world again.
Nov 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
In Cliff’s End, Danthres Tresyllione and Torin ban Wyvald are the best detectives the Castle Guard has to offer. They get called in when a hero from the Elven Wars is murdered in a seedy inn, but there are no clues to follow. The M.E. says there is no presence of magic and they can’t find any physical evidence either. Yet when the Brightblade’s comrades start falling dead, the pressure’s on…

‘Dragon Precinct’ is a relatively short book and even so, it’s put together very well and is full of adven
Dec 28, 2011 rated it liked it
This was an interesting book. If you take a basic cop mystery and set it in a fantasy port, you get Dragon Precinct. Our heroes are two detectives who have to solve the murder of a Hero (note the upper case). Since the Hero in question dropped dead with a broken neck and no residual magic on the scene, the investigation is non-trivial to say the least.

This was a fun book, though I had a few issues with it keeping it from getting more than 3 stars. First, to give it that gritty cop drama feel, th
Aug 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
Police procedural set in a heroic fantasy world.

I enjoyed this, but I did feel the mystery cheated a little. While it's possible to work out who is the murderer quite easily, how they did it is impossible to spot because a whole lot of relevant information isn't given until the denouement. As for why they did it... while something is mentioned fairly early on, I doubt you'd see the significance because until the end, there's no way to connect it to anything else.

On the other hand, the characters
Apr 15, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
What do you get when you cross a buddy-cop movie with Lord of the Rings? A fun novel by Keith DeCandido, that's what.

A group of questers - a hero, an elf, a dwarf, two halflings, a priest, and a barbarian - walk into a bar. Sounds like the start of a bad joke, but when they start getting murdered, it's up to two detectives to get to the bottom of why, and what this has to do with another investigation into a bunch of bad black-market glamours going around the city.

The book reads a lot like a me
Jan 25, 2013 rated it liked it
Imagine a classic fantasy quest story. A group of adventurers coming together to fight against a dark sorcerer who is rising from the dead. The night before they are do to depart, the seek lodging in the local inn. The morning after, one of them is found murdered in a locked room. Quickly the local constabulary assigns their best investigators to the case, but as the bodies start to stack up, can they find the murderer before they lose their jobs to the politics of the local nobility.

A great det
Feb 28, 2012 rated it liked it
Not a bad book. I am not into Police procedurals and I was not sure what to expect. The author does a great job of creating unique and interesting characters, especially characters that are normally the background characters in most stories.

This book puts those detectives or guards at the front of the story.

As you read this you get this tiny view into what has to be a very large world. You hear of past battles and villains that attempted to destroy everything, but you don't have that traditional
Jul 09, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2012-reads
What a great concept--take a typical D&D-ish city, filled with Elves, Half-Elves, Halflings, Dwarves, Magic Users, etc. and throw in a typical Law & Order-ish police force investigating a variety of crimes. Most notably, a serial killer knocking off legendary members of a band of heroes embarking on an epic quest.

Not the greatest fantasy novel I've read in the last few months--but such a fun one, I hated for it to end. The detectives (and most of the supporting cast) were a lotta fun, an
Feb 28, 2013 rated it liked it
The title says it all.. I just do not know what to say LOL. I mean it was a great book but didn't really draw me in enough to say "OMG WOW what an amazing book!" I felt like I was just reading.. Not READING as being totally engrossed in the book. The mysteries don't seem like important mysteries to get interested about. Something's missing. But I do love the idea of sci fi/ paranormal detective work. I mean the cops being literally characters like goblins, elves, etc etc. It's a nice twist! That ...more
Patrick Lum
Jul 17, 2012 rated it it was ok
Alright, but not great. A police procedural/fantasy mash-up is a fine thing, and this is decent enough, but it's always on the slightly wooden edge of entertainment value and plays out as if it is ultimately more about the fantasy than the police procedural, which isn't really my preference. Still, I might check out the rest of the series.

Oh, also the case's solution is kind of pulled out of nowhere.
Samuel Lubell
Jun 23, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, mystery
The book reads like a police procedural set in a D&D type world. A group of heroes from the last big war meet up at a tavern and start dying. The ME (Magical Examiner) claims no magic was used to kill them. The author takes all the conventions of a CSI type police show/book and adapts them to fit the fantasy setting.

Oh, the formatting for the epub verison is awful. It claims 1341 pages but every screen is three pages after the previous one.
Sep 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
My beloved police procedurals in a fantasy setting, how did I not read this earlier? Finished this in two days (pfft, grad school) and immediately picked up the next one. I'm looking forward to seeing a lot more of the relationship between Danthres and Torin...

One note: I hate accents and dialects being written into dialogue; I'd rather have it noted and described than explicitly written. Somehow, this time, it didn't bother me. That's some masterful dialectifying.
Tyrannosaurus regina
I'll be honest, I absolutely picked this one up for the title. I didn't have huge expectations, other than basic competence (perhaps because I've had a bit of a bad run with similar book selection techniques lately), but it actually turned out to be quite entertaining. Nothing revolutionary, and not entirely what I was expecting based on the title, but an enjoyable way to spend an hour or two.
Jim Holthaus
Nov 09, 2007 rated it it was ok
A quick, light read. Or re-read, in this case. I can't give it a high rating because it suffered on re-read. The characters don't develop during the story and I didn't develop any attachment to any of the characters. Interactions between the characters seemed stilted and formulaic, suggesting that they felt the same way about each other.
Basically Law & Order meets a Dungeon & Dragons game meets LOTR (sort of). This was a fun read as well and not exactly what you would expect from a fantasy novel. I'm not sure what to say about it exactly other than it was fun to read. The characters were fairly interesting, although I wish some of them had been fleshed out more outside of their jobs.
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Other books in the series

Dragon Precinct (6 books)
  • Unicorn Precinct
  • Goblin Precinct
  • Gryphon Precinct (Dragon Precinct)
  • Mermaid Precinct
  • Tales from Dragon Precinct