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Door Number Three
Patrick O'Leary
Tor Books, 384 pages

Door Number Three
Patrick O'Leary
Patrick O'Leary has garnered a broad base of fans for his fiction based upon his novels Door Number Three, The Gift and The Impossible Bird plus his collection Other Voices, Other Doors. The success of his writing has encouraged him to continue his craft while working as an Associate Creative Director at Campbell-Ewald Advertising in Warren, Michigan. He makes his home in Detroit with his wife and sons.

Patrick O'Leary Website
ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review:Other Voices, Other Doors
SF Site Review: The Gift

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Rodger Turner

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All books use blurbs and teasers to sell them. Either they get another author to do one or someone at the publisher writes a teaser describing enough of the plot to hook a reader or they do both. It isn't often that the blurb is a perfect way to describe a novel. But, Door Number Three has one which fits it like a glove and I couldn't think of anything which does a better job than the book's cover. Paraphrasing, a young woman walks into a therapist's office and tells him that she has a year to convince one person that she is an alien. If she does, she can stay on Earth. To prove her point, she exposes her breast which has a square nipple. Interesting, eh?

But that is just a start. The book takes off when John Donelly, the therapist, wanders over to Saul Lowe's place. There he, along with the rest of us, meet the book's most entertaining character, Imish. Imish is a cardinal who makes me wonder about other author's attempts at anthromorphism. For it is Imish who provides John with a Camel cigarette when he is faced with a choice, a very important choice. Saul is about to tell John a story. But before, Saul tells him to walk away with $10,000 in cash (without hearing the story), to stay and hear the story (but John'll die a horrible death by Saul's hand if he breathes a word of what he is about to hear) or John (along with Saul and Imish) can change the world by picking Door Number Three. Whaddya think John chooses? Cash, death or adventure? Which would you choose? Give that reader a prize...

If I had to describe Patrick O'Leary's prose style, I'd say he writes in colours. Roger Zelazny did too although I saw his work more as pastels. O'Leary uses vivid primaries to sketch a scene, no fooling around with much colour mixing. Each scene has a meticulousness I've rarely seen in a first SF novel. I suspect that this book went through numerous drafts and I'd guess that O'Leary writes in long hand such is his attention to detail and his ability to turn a simple phrase into a breathtaking moment. Find this book, buy it and I'll bet you won't be disappointed for it turns all your preconceived notions of time travel on their head.

Copyright © 1995, 2002 Rodger Turner

Rodger has read a lot of science fiction and fantasy in forty years. He can only shake his head and say, "So many books, so little time."


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