Lair of the Dragon
A Novel by Frederick Price
ISBN 1591292905

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Pulls the reader through a maze of criminals, March 4, 2003
Reviewer: Midwest Book Review (see more about me) from Oregon, WI USA

A retired detective lieutenant, Frederick Price spent thirty-three years

with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's department. He spent time in

everything from patrol to special investigations, and investigated cases

ranging from organized crime to terrorism. Lair of the Dragon is his first mystery.
       Every portion of police work involves the writing of reports.

Combine this with the years spent in dangerous situations with bad guys,

some life tragedies, and an overbearing captain and you have the beginning

of Lair of the Dragon. Chad Belmontes is a Metro Detective who is still

mourning the loss of his wife and child. When his supervisor threatens

punitive action if he doesn't catch up on his caseload, he fakes some reports

to save his hide, never dreaming that his faked report sets up an alibi for

a murderer. As he and his friend Stan begin to dig, they uncover an

organization of Triads, a Chinese mob, run by Benny Chi:
      "Returning to his chair, Wu accepted Belmontes' offered cigarette.

'Chad,' he began again, 'these are real fanatics you're dealing with.

Triad rites and ceremonies are based upon 36 Hung Mun oaths. They are...'

'Hung...what?' Belmontes interrupted. 'Blood oaths,' Wu answered.

'These oaths basically demand allegiance by all members to the Triad.

As part of their initiation ceremony, new members drink a mixture of

their own and other initiates' blood. It's supposed to make them bound for life.'"
        Chad Belmontes is a marred cop who is lovable in spite of his warts.

The one thing that stands out is his basic sense of honesty and

decency...even to the point of putting his life in jeopardy for a system

all too ready to pounce on one mistake. Frederick Price does a bang-up

job of creating a real police environment, which translates to overworked

men who are expected to be superhuman in their pursuit of crime and

organizations. They are often outgunned and out manned, and they have

to use their wits to get the better of their adversaries. Price reminds us,

via Belmontes' character, just what a thankless and dangerous job police

work is. Lair of the Dragon pulls the reader through a maze of criminals

and murders that is exciting and frightening. A great read!
    Shelley Glodowski
    Senior Reviewer