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Performance Anomalies Paperback – August 29, 2012
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"A thoroughly original work of fiction."
- Mark Schreiber, The Japan Times
"A great adventure and the beginning of a new hero."
- Ed Jones, KBEM
"It's original, un-put-down-able, definitely not your typical espionage thriller."
- Michelle Martin, Singapore's Talking Books
"A tremendous first novel."
- Steve Hexom, KBUR Morning Show
"Absolutely intriguing. A great, great book ... Cono just really grabs you."
- Nolan Crowell, KWYK
"The writing is sumptuous and describes Kazakhstan well."
- Caravanistan Silk Road Guide: Best Books About Kazakhstan
From the Author
More at performance-anomalies-thebook.com.
Top customer reviews
An okay intrigue novel.
I was easily swept up by this book. Cono is perfect for espionage and it was refreshing to have a non-Caucasian hero. His mixed heritage and linguistic skills allow him to blend into so many different cultures. Cono is sometimes referred to as Cono 7Q and there’s a short flashback that explains this. He has a rare mutation on gene 7Q that accelerates his nervous system, giving him an extra edge. He can pick up on minutia and interpret their meanings quickly. Also, he has lightning fast reflexes. He’s just on the edge of being a superhero.
Early in the story, he receives a desperate call from his former lover Xiao Li. She’s currently working as a classy prostitute and unfortunately she witnessed something she shouldn’t have. Now her life is in jeopardy. Cono is several countries away but he calls in a favor with his long-time friend Timur who can get to Xiao Li quickly.
Once Cono meets up with Timur, things get messy. There are plenty of things that Cono and Xiao Li are unaware of, making it difficult to figure out who is on their side or against them. I really enjoyed the changing allegiances as people make backroom alliances. It made it so much harder for Cono and Xiao Li to untangle themselves from this mess.
My one quibble with this story is how the ladies are sexual objects or love interests, each of them. Now they are a bit better than Bond Women in that each of them has their own personality and a role that affects the plot. Still, I couldn’t help giggling and rolling my eyes a bit as each woman wanted to bed Cono. Maybe that 7Q gene also puts out an irresistible pheromone. Dimira is a teacher and has known Cono for some years. She provides a temporary safe house and some contacts for Cono. Katerina, a Russian asset, has also known Cono for some years and has enjoyed his personal company on their dealings. Xiao Li struck me as rather petulant and self-centered. While I didn’t like her character very much, I did like how she was a catalyst for the story and how Cono risked much for her safety.
There’s this torture scene that had me laughing quite a bit. Now that makes me sound a bit demented but Cono came up with an excellent way to get under the skin of his captor. The torture was harsh but Cono’s response was all defiance but defiance with a solid understanding of how to demean his captor in front of his lackeys. It was great. That is my favorite scene from this book.
I’m definitely looking forward to more adventures of Cono 7Q. This book kept me up to 1am as I didn’t want to put it down.
I received a free copy of this book.
The Narration: David Pittu was a very good fit for this book. He did an excellent Cono, giving him a vague, unplaceable accent (as the book describes it). There were a ton of accents in this book and to my untrained ear, he did a good job of keeping each one distinct. There were also plenty of characters who yelled and Pittu used skill in making it sound like yelling without actually raising his voice and blowing out my ear drums. His female voices were varied and believable. There were a few tender moments and he did a good job working with those emotions.
* powerful but flawed hero stands against evil
* a crisis storms in that only s/he can solve and s/he is pulled out of retirement/another job/a satisfying domestic life to assist his/her country/a friend/a stranger
* despite herculean efforts, it threatens to destroy him/her
* at the last minute (sometimes, literally), s/he prevails, a better person because of this trial by fire
I'm always on the look out for a writer who can break out of that template and still provide the fast-moving, gut-wrenching action that makes thrillers the favorite of millions of readers.
I've found him.
Enter Victor Robert Lee and his debut novel, Performance Anomalies (Perimeter Six 2013) where Mr. Lee sets the stage for what could be one of the most riveting series in recent years. I'm not a fan of opening a novel with a dream sequence, but in this case, it worked.
The story is about an unusual man-without-a-country named Cono NLN. Cono has the gift of a hyper-fast neurological system (a genetic mutation), which he uses for good and evil, ambivalent to the purpose. As the book opens, he finds himself haplessly helping a criminal mastermind whom he calls 'friend' to destroy the world. It's not faceless death that forces a second look from this unexpected crime fighter, but that it would destroy what few friends he has, and thus, Cono finds himself re-evaluating his life path. There is lots of back story, but it is so instructive in understanding this man who considers himself a freak, it doesn't detract from the momentum of the plot.
This is a character-driven story, the plot interwoven with the hero's essence. Don't misunderstand: This isn't an introspective account of a man's moral evolution. Yes, that does happen, but what keeps the reader turning pages is the action, the adventure, the power of Lee's voice. The author--through Cono's eyes--treats everyone who populates this fictitious world as though he knows them, with a sense of place and a respect for their culture and attitudes. His writing is crisp, tight, with lots of sensory details to put readers right in the middle of Kazakhstan, a torture session, a sensuous walk along exotic streets. The words are magnetic, making readers want to get to know this man who can slow time like a stop-motion camera, despite his questionable morals and bias for violence. Quickly, readers feel connected to this world, one which most of us will never experience.
A side note: I was curious about Mr. Lee so Googled him and found a wonderful website sharing insight into his world, aka Cono's world. It includes pictures and sources he uses for his writing--real world performance anomalies, the works of Dr. Oliver Sachs (a personal favorite), brain research. If you are the reader who wants to learn from what you consume rather than escape reality, you will love this.
It is clear from the construction of this story, this is no stand-alone novel. Cono has metamorphosed and we will see the future Him as a protector of good, enemy of evil. I can't wait.
Most recent customer reviews
Because I won my copy of this book, I feel that I have to confess I did not make it more than a quarter of the...Read more