THE OPERATOR, by Kim Harrison is now in bookstores everywhere.
There are some authors who deserve to be in bookstores. Kim Harrison is definitely one. Her books should be proudly displayed in glass windows along with stacks of hardcover volumes — with life-size images of the smiling author. And the air rich with the heady scent of “new book” and fresh ink.
So, while you read this review, pretend you are in the bookstore of your dreams or maybe your childhood. In one of those old leather chairs, tucked in the corner. With a little table and a standing light by which to read. I’m going to hand you the book. It’s new and the binding crackles when you open it.
Kim Harrison, whose series “The Hollows” produced a long run of best-sellers, has a new series. The first book in the Peri Reed Chronicles was released in 2015. That was “The Drafter.” It introduced a dystopian near-future world without magic, but with technology indistinguishable from magic. A science fiction thriller that feels real and now.
Science it may be, but there are people who are born with a genetic ability to use it. Such people are called drafters.
Drafters can manipulate time. Not like traveling through a wormhole or time machine. More like making a precision adjustment of as much as 45 seconds, or as little as a blink. Just enough time to undo a fatal bullet or catastrophic error.
Drafters are special, innately (genetically) able to manipulate time. To correct it. But there’s a price to be paid for having power over time. A drafter can’t keep two timelines in memory, so all memories from a banished (corrected, altered, changed) timeline will be lost to the drafter a few seconds after the changed timeline replaces the original. Usually a drafter works with a partner. An anchor who can replace a drafter’s missing memories and patch the timeline. The relationship between a drafter and his or her anchor is deeply intimate. Not something most people could understand.
Peri Reed is a drafter. She used to work for the ultra super secret (and thoroughly corrupt) government agency known as OPTI. Now, she’s free and alive — and trying to stay that way. Peri has lost many memories. Years worth of memories. Some memories have been replaced by false ones. Some are just gone, leaving holes in the continuity and fabric of her life. She wants her memory back, but not if the cost to get them is going back to work for OPTI — or any other agency. How to win freedom and control of her life? Regain her memories without selling herself to whoever makes the best deal?
Reed isn’t just any drafter. Peri is the drafter. The best ever. Which is why everyone wants her — and she wants none of them. Yet, she needs help. There’s no way she can reconstruct her past without assistance from at least a couple of the people hunting her. Dare she trust anyone?
Everyone is making her an offer. Everyone is lying.
The Operator is not merely good. It’s a great read set in a dystopian future world. Fast-paced. Elegantly written with an underlying ironic wit and refreshingly natural dialogue. The plot and characters are layered. Complex. Everyone has a secret agenda. Behind that are more secrets and even darker agendas.
In The Drafter, Peri and the gang had promise.
In The Operator, they fulfill that promise. Peri is brave and brilliant, dangerous and vulnerable. Passionate, with scary, lethal fighting skills. She’s had bad relationships. Lost everything that mattered to her. Made terrible life choices. Lives in a brutal world of danger and duplicity through which she must navigate alone, or depend on treacherous people with dubious motives.
If you love science fiction thrillers and are tired of reading the same tired stories, this will be a treat. This is a fresh story with an intriguing, original plot, full of Kim Harrison’s wonderful writing to sweep you into another world.
THE OPERATOR by Kim Harrison is be available on Kindle, paperback, limited edition hard cover, and on Audible.com. It is a great book, one of the two or three best I’ve read over the past few years. Exciting. Action-packed with a complex twisting plot I dare you to guess.
Every clue Ms. Harrison drops is a real clue. The characters are mad and complicated, embodying his or her own mystery. Not only is “The Operator” worth reading, it’s worth reading twice.