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review 2017-04-16 17:53
Performance Anomalies by Victor Lee Robert
Performance Anomalies - Victor Robert Lee

Our hero, Cono, is a free-lance spy. With his heightened nervous system, mixed heritage, and gift for languages, he makes a great spy. Now he’s on a personal mission to assist a friend out of a heap of trouble. In Kazakhstan, the stakes are raised as European oil resources are threatened and weapons-grade uranium comes into play.

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.

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review 2014-04-21 07:24
Born With Super Powers!!
Performance Anomalies - Victor Robert Lee

Wow. I really liked the book a lot..mainly because of Cono. he is a superhero. "A friend in need is a friend indeed.".. and I guess Cono aptly justifies this above mentioned line.. he can do whatever, go anywhere and do anything to save his friends. well I somehow wanted Cono to honor Xiao Li by accepting his son.. but at last I realized Cono did the right thing..after all there was no proof and he is such an independent soul..Anyways this book was wonderfully written.. and thank you Victor Robert Lee.. I learned a lot about Kazakhstan. I've recommended this book to all my friends.

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review 2013-09-06 00:00
Performance Anomalies
Performance Anomalies - Victor Robert Lee

A memorable start for a first novel and what can easily become an espionage thriller series. This book is not something I typically enjoy, but for the right kind of (niche) reader, it can easily be a hit.


Cono, the main character, is an international man of mystery (a la James Bond) who also happens to have flairs of prototypical Jason Statham characters, but I think the story's aim is to portray Cono as a real-world version of Christian Bale's Batman--cool, reserved, distant, ultimately conflicted heroic anti-hero.


All blockbuster movie references are necessary because this novel is a very made-for-blockbuster-movie kind of novel. Like I said, not something I usually read, but it was interesting.


* * * * spoilers below * * * *


The story takes you to quite a few different locations around the world to make you feel like you're on a globe-trotting adventure. But since the adventure is about intel, intrigue, espionage, assassinations, etc., aside from enjoying the sights, you're also introduced to a host of stereotypical mysterious bad guys and gals. The locations may vary, but the disposable characters don't, much. Especially the female characters, aka one-night stands. They're slightly more modified versions of the sexy vixen in every James Bond movie.


I thought Cono's super-human genetics would play a bigger part in the story. This was what drew me to the book in the first place, that he's an effective operative because he's biologically predisposed to excel at the job. It's somewhat explained early on in the story, but not much throughout. Cono's advantage is that he has a heightened nervous system which results in fast reflexes and the ability to detect minute changes in movement.


For the most part, this story has the fast pacing of a typical globe-trotting thriller, but there are quite a few times when it tries to be more than what it is. Cono has a tendency to reminisce when he's on the job, and some of these flashbacks happen when he's supposed to be paying attention to something else. Moments like these take the reader out of the action sequence and make him/her too aware that he/she is reading a book, not being immersed in the story. I understand what the author is trying to do here so I don't hold it against him for trying, but... things that work (well, "work" is relative) for a Jason Statham movie don't necessarily translate to meaningful prose on the page. (Jason Statham and meaningful things cancel each other out just by being in the same scenes.)


Perhaps with the next book, the author can try blending and bending genres as Cono's story expands.All in all, this was an interesting read.


—     —     —     —     —


I'd like to thank Lindsey James from Perimeter Six Press for sending me a copy to enjoy.

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review 2013-08-24 15:31
"Performance Anomalies", by Robert Victor Lee
Performance Anomalies - Victor Robert Lee

This debut novel is definitely a literary cloak and dagger thriller and I hope it is just the start of a captivating series. The story is fast paced and very intriguing, I found it a bit hard to get into at first but within a few chapters I had grasped the style and I had a feeling the author would expand on the pertinent details in the following paragraphs. Elegantly written this spy novel introduces Cono a protagonist who can run with the best. This young man of mixed heritage is blessed with a hyper-fast neurological system. With this asset and other natural talents he acts as a freelance spy offering his services to dubious organizations and governments. This is not a drawn out story with excess information or a book you can read a few pages at a time. I feel concentration is a must, the more you are into the storyline, the more you will enjoy connecting the dots and see the whole picture and not miss anything along the way. 


“Performance Anomalies” brings Cono to Kazakhstan on a personal mission to rescue a former lover who has a habit of following the rich and famous who run the line between corrupt and good business. The country is rich in natural resources, oil for one with Beijing as its main buyer and uranium which is coveted by the Soviet market. These resources are also highly targeted by jihadists who will go to extremes to gain control of them. 


Once there he is sucked into a maelstrom of troubling events, some very explosive and violent. He also quickly finds himself targeted by this growing underground force. As the plot thickens there is no shortage of action and details that are guaranteed to stimulate ones imagination. The mystery reaches far beyond the confines of one country and a hefty price awaits anyone who interferes. 



I would consider this debut novel to be an excellent choice for anyone who enjoys thrillers with a twist





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review 2013-08-21 00:00
Performance Anomalies
Performance Anomalies - Victor Robert Lee I won this book through a Goodreads Giveaway, once the uni semester is over I plan to have a big block of reading and reviewing so stay tuned!
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