Harrison shifts gears with this near-future techno-thriller.
In 2030, Agent Peri Reed works for Opti, a secret government organization that’s been capitalizing on abilities like hers since the 1960s. Peri is the drafter of the title, someone gifted with the rare ability to rewind time for about 30 seconds; the downside is that she not only forgets the original 30 seconds, but longer periods of time (minutes, weeks, even years). Her partner and lover, Jack, acts as her anchor, working to tie her to the new timeline and helping her recover lost memories. But when the two of them uncover a list of corrupt Opti agents and Peri’s name is on it, she learns that both Jack and what she believes to be her past are suspect. Unfortunately, the more information she uncovers about Opti and its nemesis, the alliance, the harder Opti works to erase Peri’s memories, leaving her either confused and gullible or confused and angry through much of the book. Fans of Harrison’s Hollows novels (The Witch with No Name, 2014, etc.) presumably expect another series about a tough woman who kicks butt, but Peri is no Rachel Morgan. True, Peri’s combat skills are impressive; but while the other characters are continually telling each other and the reader how strong and smart and wonderful Peri is, her actions do little to support that view. Although Peri struggles to redefine her role, she’s a victim, not a player, for most of the story. The many holes in her memory and her Opti conditioning make her easy to manipulate despite the good instincts she’s purported to have; plus, she’s frequently distracted by the lures of sex, good food, and expensive, well-tailored clothing. She’s too focused on the adrenaline rush and privileges associated with being an elite, pampered agent to convince us that she’s capable of selflessly serving a cause.