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 a genetic mutation that gives him a hyper-fast neurological system. An orphan and a loner, 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 is sure to resonate with readers given the current tensions over China’s claims on the entire South China Sea.