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Dragon Precinct

(Precinct #1)

3.57  ·  Rating details ·  329 ratings  ·  59 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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Average rating 3.57  · 
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 ·  329 ratings  ·  59 reviews

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Aug 16, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, novel
Way back in high school, the first tabletop RPG game I ever played had us playing as cops trying to solve a mystery in a fantasty setting. Maybe it stuck in my head, or maybe it was just playing on an interest that was already there, but ever since them, the combo of D&D and police procedural has worked its way into my gaming in a variety of ways.

And since that point I've been looking for books that scratched that particular itch. the night Watch series of Discworld books came closest, especial
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
May 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: may-2020
Disclaimer: I am friends with the author; however, I purchased this book for full price.

Once again, DeCandido has blown me away with his knowledge of genre tropes and how to bend them to his will to create a fantastic story. This time, he combines the magic of police procedurals with high fantasy (via table-top role-playing game conventions) to craft a unique and satisfying mystery.

Readers who have played table-top RPGs will probably appreciate the world-building of this book the most, but any f
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
May 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was a cool melding of two genres: Dungeons and Dragons style fantasy with CSI style police procedural. The author does a good job at inserting tongue in cheek humor while not being completely campy or hokey. The book takes several loving stabs at fantasy tropes and creates a fun mystery. My only complaint is that it ends a little abruptly. Not to worry though, as this novel is the first in a sizeable series (another fantasy trope).
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,
Michelle Sonnier
Jan 27, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Solid high fantasy with the twist of a police procedural. I enjoyed it and the murder mystery kept me coming back. It can be a little difficult to keep track of the wide cast of characters (who was that again?), but overall quite enjoyable.
Patrick Johnopolos
Feb 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A great D and D style book. It is like a mix of D and D and Mike Hammer. There is lots of adventure, fighting, gruff partner law officers and gritty Fae life style. A very fast read it that it is hard to put down.
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.
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.
Jul 26, 2019 rated it liked it
If the premise of two guards investigating murders among a party of so-called "adventurers" sounds appealing, you'll probably find Dragon Precinct a pleasant read.
Oct 13, 2019 rated it liked it
Not a bad read, but it didn't really sell me on the fantasy aspect I was expecting. It read more like a crime mystery/detective novel (which it was, I guess).
Adam Goss
Feb 27, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Great premise, but horrifically boring and flat, with characters that have no life. Law & Order this is not. Could not finish, very disappointed. ...more
Jun 17, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fantasy Law and Order

Gritty fantasy police procedural. It is improved by the demihumans NOT being Tolkeinesque. A low fantasy look at the usual quasi medieval setting.
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 guys (a
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.
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
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
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
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Other books in the series

Precinct (5 books)
  • Unicorn Precinct (Precinct, #2)
  • Goblin Precinct (Precinct, #3)
  • Gryphon Precinct (Precinct, #4)
  • Mermaid Precinct (Precinct, #5)

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