Seeing Red

A Novel



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Product Details

Product Code:
0.63 (in)
Size (HxW):
8 x 5.25 (in)
Publication date:
February 06, 2024
9.76 oz
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Product Overview

This book is a thriller set in an alternate America both familiar and unfamiliar—a darkening society in which ordinary, honest citizens fear their own government. Six recipients of Extraordinary Designation Cards (i.e., Red Cards) are hiding on an abandoned northern Michigan movie set, seeking to escape the authorities who intend their demise. An Academy Award–winning screenwriter discovers these fugitives by accident, and soon so does the government, setting in motion a deadly cat-and-mouse game.

Seeing Red takes us from the forests of Michigan to Hollywood and back again, through a world of celebrities, outcasts, and sinister figures lurking in the shadows. T.M. Doran presents a timely and gripping story in an era when the sick and disabled, and those trying to care for them, are deprived of their human rights.

Editorial Reviews

"Doran's novel is darkly—and consistently—funny. A sort of Orwellian fiction noir set in Detroit. The ideas at the heart of this page-turner are dead serious; and I mean that literally."
— Augustine Wetta, O.S.B., Author, Humility Rules, Pray. Think. Act., and The Eighth Arrow

"A sharply written novel, shimmering with mystery and edged with redemption."
— Peco Gaskovski, Author, Exogenesis

"Reminiscent of Fahrenheit 451 and Twilight Zone, where comfortable facades of day-to-day routine are ripped apart to reveal disquieting realities from which we'd rather squirm away."
— David Pinault, Author, Providence Blue: A Fantasy Quest


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  • 5

    Posted by Roger Thomas on Mar 27th 2024

    T.M. Doran’s latest novel, Seeing Red, is his first foray into the dystopian/alternative history genre. He’s proven with prior works such as Iota and Toward the Gleam that he can create deep characters and tense plot lines, so I was eager to see what he could do in this setting. Full disclosure: I had an opportunity to read an earlier version of this story in manuscript form when Tom sent it to me for some author-to-author critique. I’m glad he kept working on the manuscript and wanted to see how the final product turned out. If the book seems to read like a Twilight Zone episode, that’s because it is, among other things, a tribute story that pays homage to screen greats Alfred Hitchcock and Rod Serling, both of whom appear in the story under thin disguise. Those of us who remember The Twilight Zone can also recall how the episodes could sometimes cause viewers to furrow their brown as the story line forced them to look at events from a new angle, or consider things they’d never considered before. Seeing Red contains echoes of this perspective-jolting tendency. It doesn’t fit tidily into typical assumptions; indeed, it isn’t intended to. For screenwriter Castro Hume, the glow of his sole Academy Award has long since faded, and he’s been reduced by time and alcohol to living in a shabby LA apartment, trying to get screenwriting lightning to strike twice. The first strike five years earlier had been impressive – he’d turned a popular novel into a screenplay for a photoplay directed by the renowned Alfred Cooperwasser. The play had been shot on a set that was essentially a reconstruction of the main town of the novel, which had been constructed in the middle of the woods in rural Michigan. In desperate hope of reacquiring his creative spark, and to evoke better times, Castor decides to visit the still-standing set, which has become a minor tourist attraction in the economically strapped region. There he meets Jeff Clement, caretaker of the site and de facto tour guide. Through a series of mishaps, Castro discovers that things on the aging set are more complicated than a casual tour would indicate, and Clement has more going on than just maintaining the site. The set buildings, being well off the beaten track, have become a haven for fugitive Red Cards. These are social outcasts with either congenital or incurable medical conditions. They are hiding from the Social Security Bureau, a government agency whose job it is to ensure that precious resources aren’t wasted on those who cannot contribute anything to society at large, and especially to the elite White Cards, a privileged class who get the best of everything. There are only a handful of Red Cards secreted on the set, and it is challenge enough to keep them hidden and provided for. Discovery by random visitors is one of their worst nightmares. But Castro is sympathetic to their plight, and is drawn into their struggle for survival. He ends up helping with a variety of things, such as smuggling one of the Red Cards to Detroit for treatment by an underground medical practitioner. He runs afoul of an SSB raiding party who have strong suspicions about what the set is being used for. He returns to Hollywood, where he tries to use his talents and connections to generate sympathy, if not outright assistance, for the Red Cards. Without unpacking the entire story, suffice it to say that there are plenty of twists and turns, as well as a bit of skulduggery, which is one of Doran’s specialties. One thing gratifying about the story is that it doesn’t overreach. Nearly washed-up screenwriter Castro Hume doesn’t burst from obscurity to topple the Evil Bureaucracy, save the endangered Red Cards, and restore a Just Social Order. What he does is turn a corner, both personally and publicly. Others are encouraged to stand up and speak out. Risks are taken and hope is kindled, but no outcome is guaranteed. Just like life Those who appreciate subtle thrillers will find much to enjoy in Seeing Red. If the work has a weakness, it is occasional obscurity. Doran is a subtle writer, often resorting to hints and allusions, leaving his readers to fill in the gaps. But this means that if you don’t catch the hint or grasp the allusion, you could be left befuddled, at least for a while. But these are minor matters. If speculative thrillers are your style, and especially if you’ve enjoyed Doran’s previous efforts, you’ll appreciate Seeing Red.