Welcome to the newest edition to Casey Dorman’s Fan Page newsletter. Today, I have a special treat for you. Below is the first chapter of my political thriller, 2020, revised and updated. At the end of the chapter is a link that allows you to go directly to Amazon and download the entire novel for FREE! You can also skip ahead and download it for free on Amazon right now by clicking here.
Remember, it’s only free for the next three days.
2020 is an “alternate reality” novel, about an autocratic United States president who has shredded the nation of its freedoms, imprisoned dissidents, declared the country a “Christian Nation,” and who is willing to go to any length to win the next election. Luke Evangelista, a down-and-out writer with a conscience, goes after the president when he learns that a supposed terror attack was actually staged to rally support for the president in the upcoming election. 2020 is both an edge-of-your-seat political thriller and a sophisticated analysis of the kinds of rebellion that can bring such a dictatorial leader down.
Rivera Sun, Author of “The Dandelion Revolution” says 2020 is “a parable for our current predicament, offering the lens of fiction as a way to see options, possibilities, and dangers looming in our political horizon.”
Leslie Bohem, Emmy Award Winning Screenwriter and Producer, says, “2020 scares me. It’s so utterly credible, so damn possible, that it sent me running for cover—only to find that there is no cover. Don’t say Casey Dorman didn’t warn us.”
David P. Barash, professor emeritus of psychology, University of Washington, and National Book Award nominee, says, “Casey Dorman’s 2020 is both terrifyingly relevant and downright plausible… It’s also a genuine thriller, with Rashomon-like twists and surprisingly fun to read.”
Here’s the first chapter–
Mahmoud Nagi’s thoughts were on the assault rifle on the floor of the back seat of his Toyota. He could almost feel the solid wooden stock of the gun pressing into his hands, as if it were willing itself into his grasp. His mind was spinning like a pinwheel, consumed by anger, then reversing itself, thinking about the consequences of what he was planning to do. He couldn’t clear his head. The three shots of whiskey and the line of cocaine he’d snorted before he’d left his apartment weren’t helping, but if he had a clear head, he wouldn’t go through with his plan.
Terry MacMillan was going to pay for what he’d done: whispering behind Mahmoud’s back, making wisecracks about Mahmoud’s religion, poking fun at his beard—until Mahmoud had shaved it off—implying that Mahmoud was a terrorist, a jihadist. MacMillan deserved to die. Mahmoud was a Muslim, born in America to Iraqi parents, but he’d never taken his religion seriously. His parents had made him attend the mosque as a child, but as soon as he’d become a teenager, he’d refused to go, as had his older brother and sister before him. He hadn’t opened a Koran since he was 12 years old.
Terry MacMillan had told his fellow workers at the store that Mahmoud was a fundamentalist. Everyone in the country these days was ready to believe such accusations. People at work looked at Mahmoud with fear, whispering behind his back. His coworkers were spurred on by government messages to “look for signs of radicalization among the Muslims in your midst.” His superiors at the store had warned him that his presence was disrupting the work environment, suggesting that he should either quit or he might be fired from his job. His car had been spray painted with the words “Muslim go home.” Mahmoud’s home was here, in the U.S., where he’d been born. But now he felt as if he no longer belonged in the country of his birth. If a terrorist was what MacMillan and the others wanted him to be, that’s what he’d be… at least for MacMillan. He didn’t want to hurt anyone else, but Terry MacMillan was going to pay for the pain and humiliation he’d inflicted on Mahmoud.
He’d visited encrypted ISIS sites, learned where to buy a gun, how to carry out an attack, but he wasn’t swayed by the ISIS propaganda, wasn’t ready to kill scores of people he didn’t know. He only wanted to kill one man. And if he got in and out quickly enough, perhaps he’d be able to do so and live.
The lights from the Galaxy Club were ahead of him, a band of blinking orange lights chasing one another around the edge of the overhanging roof of the former warehouse turned nightclub. He pulled into the parking lot, parked near the street, his Toyota headed outward so he could leave with ease.
Manny, the familiar guard, stood at the entrance to the club, checking IDs and closely eyeing those entering, but not patting them down. Mahmoud sat in his car and reached for the assault rifle. He brought it around his seat and placed it on his lap. With a practiced motion, he removed the two pins holding the stock to the rifle’s barrel. Putting the pins in his pocket of his leather jacket, he loosened his belt and pulled his pants far enough down to place each half of the gun in the loops he had sewn into both pant legs—something he had learned from an ISIS video. Then he sat, thinking about what he was about to do.
He unscrewed the top of a mini bottle of whiskey and downed the contents in two quick gulps. The liquid was warm going down his throat, like calming medicine. He waited for the effects of the alcohol to hit him. He opened the car door.
Manny recognized Mahmoud from his recent visits and waved him through. Inside, the crowd was thick, the music loud. A disc jockey was on the stage spinning records. The dance floor was packed with bodies, young people bobbing and weaving to the throbbing beat of the music. Mahmoud began to hunt.
Terry MacMillan was standing at one of the bars, his back to the bar and a drink in his hand. Twenty feet away was the door to the men’s room. Mahmoud slid along the wall, keeping himself hidden behind the oscillating bodies on the dance floor until he reached the restroom door. He stepped inside an unoccupied stall and closed the door, then unfastened his belt and pulled the two parts of the rifle from his pant legs. He put the pieces together and replaced the two pins. He checked the magazine of the AR-15 to make sure that it was fully loaded. Then he stepped out of the stall, his rifle held, barrel downward, next to his right leg.
MacMillan was still standing at the bar, gazing at the dance floor, his drink in his hand. There were others standing on either side of him. Mahmoud raised his rifle and grasped it in both hands, one hand on the trigger, ready to fire. He began walking toward his prey.
At first no one noticed. Then one or two stepped back, some pointing, some starting to yell and run. Mahmoud continued marching straight ahead, his rifle aimed squarely at Terry MacMillan. He wanted MacMillan to see him before he fired. Wanted him to know exactly who killed him. He wanted MacMillan to feel the fear that would come from thinking that he had been right about Mahmoud being a terrorist. MacMillan turned his head in the direction of the commotion; then he saw Mahmoud. He said something to the man next to him, then dove for the floor.
“Allahu Akbar” Mahmoud yelled. Then he began to fire.
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