My review of The Drafter by Kim Harrison

The Drafter by Kim Harrison

Review of The Drafter by Kim Harrison. A spicy science fiction thriller set in a futuristic Detroit. Agent Peri Reed can jump back 40 seconds in time to correct a mistake leaves her vulnerable when her partner, who is responsible for replacing her memory of the event, gives her a false one.

My review of The Drafter by Kim Harrison

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Drafter is a great science fiction thriller. The setting is a high tech Detroit. The story is all about memory, trust and identity.

My review from 2016 of The Drafter by Kim Harrison

Title: The Drafter
Author: Kim Harrison
Genre: Science fiction thriller, romantic suspense
Content warning: Gaslighting, dub-con

Opening sentence:

“The room was a featureless eight-by-eight, the monotony relieved by a single chair and the door pad softly glowing in the recessed overhead lights.”

The Drafter is a story that is all about memory, identity and trust. Who can you trust if you constantly lose pieces of your memory? Who are you when you keep losing pieces of your past? Now this makes it sound like it is a story about alzheimer’s or dementia – and in a very small way it is as Peri’s mom suffers from age related memory problems. But the core of the story is an action sci-fi thriller of the sort that could be a summer blockbuster.

I really loved that the story kept me guessing almost as much as Peri did about who she could trust – herself included. None of the organisations involved are really trustworthy – they all abuse their power, which send Peri on the run. The story has a Bourne Identity feel without feeling like a copy. The tropes however are familiar.

Peri’s powers are rather cool and play with time travel tropes a lot, but by keeping the time jumps really small it makes the scenes super dynamic. The action really works and the pacing is great.

The world building is pretty neat and reminds me a bit of Metatropolis with the hyper high tech Detroit that has gone all green all the time while other cities have not. The technology is typical movie future tech with see through screens, very neat cars and hologram mannequins.

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There are some rather uncomfortable moments with people Peri trusts. Her partner – both romantically and on the job. He is effectively gaslighting her. He steals her memories to keep her complacent and calm. He makes sure she does not remember her own suspicions about her situation. He then goes home and have sex with her. He, along with his complicates, changes her self image as well as her memories. This is nasty. He can’t change her feelings but he can change what she remembers. It’s so creepy.

I am looking forward to seeing what Harrison will do in the next book as much of the initial conflict has been resolved. The first book can definitely be read as a stand alone if you are so inclined.

The stats: The Drafter

Published: 2015 by Gallery Books
Length: 422 pages
Read: September 26 to 28, 2015

Author: Female, white, USA
The protagonist: Peri Reed, white, female, straight, privileged background
Setting: Detroit 2030, USA

This review was originally posted: October 8, 2015. Updated and edited June 28, 2023





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