Monday, July 7, 2014

#74 : Performance Anomalies by Victor Robert Lee : A Review

BOOK TITLE: Performance anomalies

ISBN: 978-1938409226

AUTHOR: Victor Robert Lee

GENRE: Fiction - Thriller


FORMAT: Hardbound


REVIEW BY: Shree Janani

HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: We both won this book as a part of Goodreads Giveaway Program

Victor Robert Lee’s provocative debut spy thriller PERFORMANCE ANOMALIES introduces a protagonist to rival the most memorable espionage heroes. Cono is a startling young man of mixed and haunting heritage who has been gifted – or cursed – with an accelerated nervous system. An orphan from the streets of Brazil, he acts as a freelance spy, happy to use his strange talents in the service of dubious organizations and governments – until, in Kazakhstan, on a personal mission to rescue a former lover, he is sucked into a deadly maelstrom of betrayal that forces him to question all notions of friendship                 and allegiance.

Relevant to our times, PERFORMANCE ANOMALIES explores the expansion of Beijing’s imperial reach into Central Asia, and the takeover of Kazakhstan. Cono’s main adversary is a brutal Beijing agent whose personality has been twisted by the Cultural Revolution’s devastation of his family. Victor Robert Lee’s topical depiction of a Beijing government pursuing territorial expansion resonates with current tensions over China’s claims on the entire South China Sea.

PERFORMANCE ANOMALIES travels from Brazil and Stanford to Almaty and the Tian Shan mountains, covering a tumultuous emotional landscape along the way. The fate of an oil-rich nation the size of Western Europe is at stake. So, too, is a hidden stockpile of weapons-grade uranium. The Beijing agent craves Cono's suffering; a jihadi cell wants him dead. As the human cost of his mission escalates, Cono realizes that he must turn his strange talents toward higher deeds in the future - if by his guile he can survive the explosive present 

When the book landed in my door mat I was rather surpised. A Hardbound autographed book? That too from a writer who won't dislose his real identity? Makes reading the book all the more exciting.
Sadly, the book didn't live up to the excitement. The plot was a drag in the first half till Cono met Katerina. I almost wanted to junk the book till that happened. I just wondered why I even entered the giveaway in first place.The story line is almost confusing thanks to the absence of any background about the characters. I even wondered why the book was titled so. Agreed the protagonist Cono has abnormally sharp reflexes thanks to a messed up DNA strand but that's not reason to title the book “Performance Anomalies”. 

The character sketch was shallow. I'll elaborate. Our protagonist Cono : has exceptionally fast reflexes, Sleeps around with every other woman he sees, fights for his “friends” and also against them, loves his mom who was killed by his dad.Most important of all – The readers have no idea who he is working for. What sort of a character sketch was that for a protagonist? 

One thing the writer certainly got right was Asian Politics. For an ethnic Asian, the politics part of the book might sound a wee bit cynical neverthless, its more or less true. Oil pipeline politics always make a good theme for books. 

I simply feel the writer has trired “hard” (Like “Real Hard”) to induce suspense by using espionage as a central theme.Unfortunately, that backfired. Reason: The lack of background of the main characters. What is the point in using “espionage” when the reader can't understand why the protagonist is doing whatever he is doing.
The book is more or less like a movie script sans the “usual” intros. If this were the 3rdor 4th book in a “series” it would have made much more sense. 

The only thing I loved about the book was the ending. Towards the end the book was virtually gripping.

VERDICT: Overrated. A through disappointment. 

RATING: 2 on 5


EDITIONS AVAILABLE: hardcover, kindle, paperback.

PRICE: Rs. 1500 for hardcover, Rs. 215 for kindle, Rs. 815 for paperback.


Note : This review was first posted in Readers' Mus


1 comment:

  1. Imported Products at Online Wide Variety of products at Indian Market with Cheap and Best Price. Shop from USA to India.