Performance Anomalies by Victor Robert Lee is a spy story that takes place in Kazakhstan. Cono, the main character who appears to be a mercenary/spy for hire, gets a call from a woman who he developed feelings for when he was last there. A session with one of her "clients" is broken up by people who want to dish out some retribution for double-dealing. She's collateral damage, and Cono gets a rushed call from her for help in escaping. He calls a local friend in the area to start looking for her while he travels to the area. When he arrives, he finds himself involved as a go-between for certain elements who are trying to deal nuclear material to the highest bidder. If he does his job, the girl lives... if not, then who knows who will die?
This is apparently a first novel for Lee, so I was reading with a mindset that didn't expect perfection. First novels are rarely perfect, but you have to start somewhere. Having said that, I had two problems with Performance Anomalies. One, the dialog came across as the author trying too hard to be clever or deep. There were too many instances where Cono would go into philosophical mode when it didn't seem to be the place or time for it. The interrogation scene was too far over the top when it came to his replies to the person trying to extract information.
The other problem was that there seemed to be a number of backstories of previous adventures that might have filled in some of the story gaps. If this had been the third or fourth of a series, I would have figured it was a case of reading the books out of order. Given that it's the first novel, there are too many holes in his past to get a good understanding of who and what Cono is.
I think the general premise and character could be an interesting story line. But it needs some work (in my opinion) before it gets there.
Thomas Duff, aka "Duffbert", is a long-time member of the Lotus community. He's primarily focused on the development side of the Notes/Domino environment, currently working for a large insurance … more
"A thoroughly original work of fiction." - Mark Schreiber,The Japan Times "A great adventure and the beginning of a new hero." - Ed Jones, KBEM "A tremendous first novel." - Steve Hexom, KBUR Morning Show "Absolutely intriguing. A great, great book ... Cono just really grabs you." - Nolan Crowell, KWYK