T.M. Doran's latest novel, 'Seeing Red,' casts light on suffering, human dignity

Tom (T.M.) Doran, a fantasy mystery author and parishioner of Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish in Plymouth, released his fourth novel published by Ignatius Press, "Seeing Red," which is set in Michigan and follows the story of a Hollywood screenwriter who discovers fugitives hiding on a movie set. The novel is Doran's first since 2014. (Photos courtesy of T.M. Doran)

Plymouth fiction author best known for fantasy series sets latest work in Michigan, includes reference to Blessed Solanus Casey

PLYMOUTH — Local Catholic author T.M. (Tom) Doran recently released his newest novel, "Seeing Red," set in Michigan with a sprinkle of spiritual undertones and even includes a visit to a homeless refuge center based near Detroit's Solanus Casey Center.

Though Doran has already published several novels, including a series best known for his 2011 book, "Toward the Gleam," his latest effort is a work 10 years in the making that manifests the “value of every life, every person,” he said.

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“Yet that is a very controversial subject,” Doran, a Plymouth native and member of Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish, told Detroit Catholic. “There is a message here about God-given dignity. I’m trying to keep readers on the edge of their seats, but in the process, I want to explore the value of human life, and more than that, the God-given dignity we all have.”

"Seeing Red," released March 11 by Ignatius Press, is a story about a desperate Hollywood screenwriter who arrives on a movie set in rural, northern Michigan. There, he encounters a group of people considered undesirable who have “red cards,” which deny them access to medical care. The story unfolds as the screenwriter can’t help but get involved.

“I deliberately put it in a world that (readers) will feel like they are living in the present-day world, but then sometimes you feel like you are living in the past and then you feel like you are living in an alternate world," said Doran, who is a retired environmental engineer and an adjunct professor at Lawrence Tech University.

Doran noted it is a “kind of mysterious, high-tension story that might attract Catholic believers,” as he explores the value of human life. Though the suffering they face is real and tragic, Doran said he fought the temptation to make ill people overly sympathetic in this book, not wanting to reduce their humanity to their condition.

“When the reader meets the ‘red cards,’ they are not all perfect, even though they are at the heart of the story,” Doran said. “They have faults and failures like all of us.”

Though "Seeing Red" is not overtly Christian, Doran said he is trying to attract readers who might be making their first step toward believing. This is where some of the characters come into play.

“There is a religious brother who helps the main characters who are trying to get to a secret clinic to help to treat the woman’s cancer,” Doran said. The monk, “Brother Jerry,” is part of the red card underground railroad, and he invites the sick woman to spend the night in a homeless center that he runs, much like the shelters run by the Capuchin order.

“Brother Jerry invites the woman to visit Fr. Solanus' casket, and she goes and does make a visit with him,” Doran said.

The controversy of euthanasia is strongly present in the book.

“When I talk to people about 'Seeing Red,' the subject could be seen as a dark subject,” Doran said. “I find myself asking what readers might find that they might not expect, which is humor. There are more than a few laughs in the story. Humor is built into this grim life and how friendships are made.”

Roger Thomas, a fan of Doran's work and a member of St. Mary Parish in Port Huron, is looking forward to reading "Seeing Red." A fellow novelist, Thomas said he read Doran's manuscript a few years back.

“I’m looking forward to reading it, and I want to see how it all came together as published work,” Thomas said.

Seeing Red

T.M. Doran's fourth novel, "Seeing Red," is published by Ignatius Press and can be purchased for $17.95 on Amazon or Ignatius Press.


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