Mermaid Precinct by Keith R.A. DeCandido
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I've had the pleasure of reading the Precinct novels by Keith R.A. DeCandido for many years so when this latest novel was launched via kickstarter it was an easy sell to contribute and patiently wait for the results, it was worth the wait.
The demise of the city state of Barlin has drastically increased the number of people living in Cliff's End and pushing the city guard beyond their limits. The Lord and Lady of the city have allowed the creation of new precincts and an increase in manpower although not enough and the pressure to keep the peace only increases when the undercurrent of tension explodes and leaves a man murdered. To complicate matters the Pirate Queen is also dead, believed killed and Lieutenant Danthres Tresyllione and her partner Torin ban Wyvald investigate.
Mermaid Precinct builds successfully on the novels that preceded it taking the well constructed locations within Cliff's End and the people there in and adding the complexities as the native population have to absorb a significant influx of refugees which bring about shortages in all areas including jobs and a clash of cultures even over as something as trivial as beverage choice. The Pirate Queen plot is a more traditional who done it as we learn about the delicate balance this woman did her work including risking her ship and crew to save the half breed children destined to die simply for existing. This also allows us to learn more about Danthres but even here we see the clash of expectations and prejudice rise to colour the investigation.
A very worthy addition to the Precinct novels and while you do not have to read them in any order to enjoy them there is certainly a benefit in picking up the first novel (Dragon Precinct) and going from there, not forgetting the short stories that bridge the gaps between the novels.
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