The Anomaly Problem


The Anomaly Problem, a novel.

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The paperback edition is available from Amazon.

The United States has a problem.

They call themselves Anomaly, and with their promise to bring down the U.S. Government for good, they draw more citizens to their side every day. And they’re just getting started.

Meanwhile, Trevor Cyrus has his own problems as he tries to put some distance between himself and his psychotic criminal bosses, but saying no to their latest assignment isn’t an option. Eve, a former thief, makes an impulsive play for a potential big score, though it might not be the sort of thing she’d normally want to profit from. And Jeremy Cyrus, a government-contracted corporate mercenary, has his eye on career advancement, and finding Anomaly’s leadership is the key.

With more terror on the horizon, these three, with their shared pasts and chaotic presents, will converge around Desmond, the thirteen-year-old subject of a psychological experiment who is only trying to survive after escaping captivity.

From the author: About The Anomaly Problem.

(Beware of mild spoilers)

The Anomaly Problem takes place ten years after a domestic terror attack in our nation’s capital, carried out by stolen military prototypes, some of the most deadly weapons ever developed (apart from nukes, obviously). It was the sort of event I thought might have been possible any day (and I still do), and not just from a technological standpoint. Let’s face it: there are lots of people who believe so deeply, or are disturbed so completely, that they wouldn’t shy away from such a senseless slaughter.

That event was the seed from which the resistance group known as Anomaly grew. Anomaly is anarchist in nature, neither left- or right-leaning. The founders were people who disapproved of the entire system at its very core, and their ultimate goal for the country is the eradication of government, though what their plans are after that remain a mystery. The lower ranks are filled with people of all sorts, regular folks eager to join a cause even if they don’t fully understand it. Many just want action, to play soldier in a revolutionary army, and will gladly allow themselves to be marched into certain death should the need arise.

In response to the threat of domestic terrorism, the government has sealed off D.C. and turned to private companies like the Vecidio Corporation to handle the boots-on-the-ground homeland security tasks. The well-trained soldiers in Vecidio’s Security and Intelligence Division patrol America’s cities, operating with unprecedented law-enforcement authority and with nearly unlimited resources and little oversight. And it all seems to be working, as far as the public is concerned. Then again, with the force of the government behind them, Vecidio controls the narrative themselves.

In Chicago, Anomaly has set up shop in the old, forgotten tunnels beneath the city. These tunnels are real, and were built by the Chicago Tunnel Company in the first part of the twentieth century (these days, they’re mostly closed off, but have been used to grow mushrooms). While they’ve appeared in other stories, they don’t seem to be very well known. Indeed, when I asked a couple of Chicago cops about the tunnels, neither knew what I was talking about (granted, they may have been feigning ignorance just to make me go away). The history of the tunnels is fascinating, and their obscurity made it the perfect hideout for the likes of Anomaly. And of course, they’re not the only outlaw organization working in Chicago who might know about those tunnels.

Into all of this comes Desmond, who at fourteen years old has been the subject of an experiment in education for most of his life. The concept behind this part of the story goes back to my days in school, when I noticed how difficult some of that material was for some of my classmates (which is a nice way of saying I sometimes felt like I was surrounded by morons). I wondered if, biologically, we were all, disabilities and such notwithstanding, on an even playing field when it came to learning. I had trouble believing intelligence, or the potential thereof, was genetic. We all simply developed different methods of, and attitudes toward, learning.

I then wondered if it was possible, through conditioning and rigid standardization, to teach children at an accelerate rate, and with reliable results. Such a thing would mean the loss of childhood as we know it, I imagine, which is a hell of a trade-off. And that was the basis behind Desmond’s experiment. When we meet Desmond, he’s smart, tactical, and utterly ruthless. It made sense that a child who thought only logically would not feel bad about killing. That sort of morality isn’t, after all, instinctual.

He would make a great weapon, don’t you think?

-Roy Claflin.

The first in a planned trilogy, The Anomaly Problem is available now from many fine retailers.