The Man Who Saw Seconds

Preble Jefferson can see five seconds into the future.

Otherwise, he lives an ordinary life. But when a confrontation with a cop on a New York City subway goes tragically wrong, those seconds give Preble the chance to dodge a bullet—causing another man to die in his place. Government agencies become aware of Preble’s gift, a manhunt ensues, and their ambitions shift from law enforcement to military R&D. Preble will do whatever it takes to protect his family, but as events spiral out of control, he must weigh the cost of his gift against the loss of his humanity.

A breathless thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very last page, The Man Who Saw Seconds explores the nature of time, the brain as a prediction machine, and the tension between the individual and the systems we create. Alexander Boldizar provides an adrenaline-pumping read that will leave you contemplating love, fear and the abyss.

The Man Who Saw Seconds book cover


Reviews and news

The Man Who Saw Seconds is an action thriller that uses an age-old trope – when a man is wronged, his family threatened, how will he respond? – that is genuinely thrilling: the pacing is perfect, and the stakes ratchet up in a horrifying, relentless, and seemingly inevitable progression. Simultaneously, this is a novel that meditates on power and authority, and the ethics thereof. It doesn’t offer simplistic answers; it insists the reader confront the problems presented, and thoughtfully contemplate the solutions presented.

“I’ve no doubt there will be some parts of the ‘literary’ establishment who want to keep The Man Who Saw Seconds from being tagged as science fiction, largely because it’s set in the now. But I hope this can be genre-spanning, and that it gets the attention it deserves from every awards list, science fiction and not. I hope that it gets discussed far and wide, and that whenever we talk about how science fiction deals with politics, this is brought into the conversation.”


“There are books on brain physiology, books on anarchist philosophy, books on the nature of time. There are certainly books whose hero is pursued by governments of all stripes, books in which the entire world is at stake. There are books whose body counts put Schwarzenegger movies to shame. But there has never been a book to combine all of these with supreme intelligence, set not in some remote future but an all-too-plausible present. The Man Who Saw Seconds is the first.”

— aaron haspel
author of everything

“I can't write a blurb that will do this justice. The Man Who Saw Seconds is everything I want in a book. I absolutely loved it, and you need to read this.”

— rob hart
author of assassins anonymous

“Alexander Boldizar's brilliantly wild The Man Who Saw Seconds is part thriller, part gunfight (hell of a gunfight), part intellectual examination of what we mean when we say 'freedom' and all heart. Absurd, hilarious, and deadly serious, this is the rare novel that is both compulsively readable and philosophically deft. If the thought of Kafka as a chess boxer, or Kundera fighting a polar bear excites you, this is definitely the book for you.”

— Mark Powell
author of Hurricane Season

The Man Who Saw Seconds is wickedly smart, outrageously funny, and unsettling in its accuracy. The satire is pointed, and the action is non-stop. Think: Elmore Leonard meets Nabokov, Michael Crichton meets Vonnegut, Carl Hiaasen meets Joseph Heller. And it has what is probably the best gunfight in literary history. But this book is more than a fast-paced satire. It’s a warning for America, for the world, really. And, at its core, it’s a poignant love story. The Man Who Saw Seconds is destined to be a classic and, with it, Boldizar’s place as one of literature’s most important satirical writers is assured.”

— kevin winchester
author of sunflower dog

“By turns hilarious and harrowing, The Man Who Saw Seconds is our era’s Dr. Strangelove, a brilliantly conceived sci-fi absurdist romp, where one man’s tussle with local law enforcement escalates into a battle against the larger social institutions we labor to uphold while struggling to survive within, prisoners of our own fears. Come for the polar bear brawl, stay for the threat of nuclear holocaust—for in the derangement of time we must face both monsters and the abyss, while taking care to remember: to fight a monster is to risk becoming one yourself.”

— Joe pan
author of operating systems

“With Jason Bourne's frenetic pace and The Terminator's body count, The Man Who Saw Seconds is at the surface an action-packed thriller. But as I raced through the pages I also delighted in Boldizar's intelligence and humor as—bit by bit—he shows us how male decision cycles and egos can escalate the mayhem. I kept thinking, 'No, he won't' but then he did, and I was fascinated at every turn. This nail-biting novel left me blinking, reeling and contemplating fear and love, and the horrifying extremes we'll go to for each.”

— Emma Payne
author of Technology with Curves

The Man Who Saw Seconds is a pulse-pounding sci-fi thriller that starts with a bang and never lets up. A man who can see five seconds into the future makes a split-second decision that puts him on a collision course with a world that rallies against him. No novel in recent memory answers the question as convincingly: ‘Will I risk destroying the world to save the people I love?’ Boldizar raises stakes to world-tipping proportions and I literally lost sleep turning pages to discover what happens next.”

— Martin Ott
author of Dream State

“The carefully inconspicuous New Yorker, Preble Jefferson, lived a life of ease by virtue of his uncanny but razor-thin edge over typical men in perception and precognition. Starting from this simple premise and his vital understanding of the mindset and mechanisms of the secret chiefs of the world, from beat cops to agency directors, Boldizar spins a terrifically believable adventure: A minor blip of chaos Jefferson didn’t immediately appreciate quickly escalates. His quiet life devolves into a terrifying game of chicken whose stakes spiral out of all proportion and sanity, from home and family to the future of civilization itself. The Man Who Saw Seconds is a fast-paced treat for those readers who enjoy the full immersion only possible when the author is in command of the facts as well as a fertile imagination.”

— Mike Spencer Bown
author of The World’s Most Travelled Man

"The Man Who Saw Seconds, Alexander Boldizar’s second novel, is a thinking reader’s thriller, the story of Preble Jefferson, a simple family guy and inconspicuous Everyman, who just happens to be able to see five seconds into the future. Meticulously researched, surprisingly philosophical, The Man Who Saw Seconds is a brilliant page-turner, a book about brain function and perception, national intelligence systems and law enforcement, the nature of time and space. A lot of smart people can’t write fiction—too smart, too self-absorbed. But Boldizar is one of our happy exceptions. This book is a blast."

— Pete Duval,
author of The Deposition

The Man Who Saw Seconds opens with a subway shootout straight out of The Matrix and never lets up. Filled with action, deeply philosophical, and bitterly funny, the book makes you ask yourself what you would do with one slender superpower. In Prebble Jefferson, Boldizar has created a protagonist worthy of Yurick, Pynchon, or Toole, with an added element of magic. The book is an outrageously fun ride though the streets of New York, the Canadian wilderness, and the secure basement of the White House. And for all its adventure, at its heart it is the story of a father's love for his wife and child, for whom he will do anything.”

— Andrew Case
author of The Big Fear

“The action sequences in The Man Who Saw Seconds are beautifully written, with as much kinetic energy as the bullets Preble dodges. As a combat instructor for law enforcement, SWAT teams and Special Forces, I find well-written action to be rare in fiction. Boldizar has written an un-putdown-able thriller that is extraordinarily fast paced, hard edged and well researched. The passing asides into freedom, anarchy, fear, and society offer no easy answers and just seem to add to the velocity of the action as Seconds pulls us by the throat towards horror.”

— Marc Marins
Instructor, Gracie Survival Tactics for Law Enforcement and SWAT

““As a federal SWAT officer for over 20 years, it is extremely difficult to depict or explain the murky world of violence and its sliding scale of negative human interactions. The Man Who Saw Seconds not only shows a nuanced insight into that world but does it within a story that you can’t put down.”

— sergeant jd mcleod
national team leader, emergency response team (SWAT)

“Preble Jefferson may very well be our first post-singularity anti-hero. And, amazingly, he doesn’t get his ability to escape all definitions from gradient descent and a server farm. Preble goes old school. Boldizar writes Preble a brain that takes predictive processing to a logical conclusion, or at least logical enough to get everyone from sci-fi geeks to theoretical neurobiologists atwitter at the possibilities. A brain and his man against a machine and its men; bad men, lost men, scared men. In Preble Jefferson, Boldizar makes us wonder if we have been looking for the singularity in the wrong direction. Has its potential been sitting between our ears the whole time?.”

— galen buckwalter, Phd
CEO of psyml and founding scientist at eharmony