My Favorite Bit: Patrick O’Leary Talks About 51

Patrick O’Leary is joining us today to talk about his novel, 51. Here’s the publisher’s description:

What really happened in Area 51?

Adam Pagnucco is just trying to help out a stranger who’s down and out. He has no idea that man is Winston Koop, his exceptionally talented, ex-best friend. Koop and Nuke had been inseparable in college, but then life happened. Nuke finally quit drinking, and Koop—Koop was at the center of a massive conspiracy that the government faked UFOs just to cover it up.

Even after confessing to removing the memories of hundreds of people, Koop is still hiding something crucial from Nuke. The truth is even stranger than fiction, and time is running out for the real inhabitants of the Roswell site. Can Nuke somehow find a way to forgive . . . but not to forget?

In his long-awaited new novel, Patrick O’Leary (Door Number Three) deftly navigates the invisible currents of secrets and forgiveness. Gripping, profound, and utterly unique, 51 is sure to please fans of fans of smart paranormal nostalgia, such as the X-FilesOld Man’s War, and Stranger Things.

What’s Patrick’s favorite bit?


Patrick O’Leary reveals one of the shocking secrets from 51, his first novel in 20 years

Let’s say one of my characters is a master of disguise.

My favorite bit is whenever this character is sitting at a diner, they appear differently to each different waitress.

Sometimes they seem to be a child. Sometimes an object.

In my head it’s like a movie.

We never ever see the character.

We only see the waitperson.

So the off-screen character is crouching quite low in the booth of red leatherette and golden studs,

And he is performing a show for us.

The waitstaff don’t look like puppets

but obediently they feed the punchlines to you the reader,

It’s a slight of hand. The workers get to feed the punchlines

and the joke is us imagining what the character looks like.

With no images.

I will probably burn for this but I thought that was clever.

Shuttup, Gene, You know that was good.


51 Universal Book Link





Patrick O’Leary’s first novel, Door Number Three, was lauded by Publishers Weekly as a best book of the year. His second book, The Gift, was a finalist for both the World Fantasy Award and the Mythopoeic Award. O’Leary’s The Impossible Bird was selected as one of Locus’s top novels of the year. He has also published two acclaimed short story collections: Other Voices, Other Doors and The Black Heart.

O’Leary lives near Detroit, where he continues to write fiction, and takes part in the prestigious Michigan Writer Series.

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