The Garden of Blue Roses by Michael Barsa

The Garden of Blue Roses

A car lies at the bottom of an icy ravine. Slumped over the steering wheel, dead, is the most critically acclaimed horror writer of his time. Was it an accident? His son Milo doesn't care. For the first time in his life, he's free. No more nightmarish readings, spooky animal rites, or moonlit visions of his father in the woods with a notebook and vampire make-up.Or so he thinks.Milo settles into a quiet routine—constructing model Greek warships...

Details The Garden of Blue Roses

TitleThe Garden of Blue Roses
Release DateApr 17th, 2018
PublisherUnderland Press
GenreHorror, Mystery, Gothic, Fiction, Thriller

Reviews The Garden of Blue Roses

  • Jeffrey Keeten
    ”I didn’t trust his death. Father was an author. He was words. You can’t kill words---can’t lock them up and drive them off a cliff.” The Crane children were raised on tales such as Charles Maturin’s Melmoth the Wanderer, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and Matthew Lewis’s The Monk. Not to mention the lurid tales of Edgar Allan Poe. The ”virus of fear” was planted in their lives early, and the tendrils of dread have spread into every n...
  • Michael
    But wait, you say, you're the author…. Let me explain.Sometimes love happens all at once. There it is: Boom! LOVE! Other times it’s a more gradual recognition, a process of allowing yourself to fall into the feeling—it’s a form of humility really, saying to yourself: right here, in this messy reality, is where I’ll choose to reside. This is how I’d describe my complicated feelings about my own writing.For years I would have given ever...
  • Glenn Russell
    Reading American author Michael Barsa’s The Garden of Blue Roses, I was thoroughly enchanted. Quite the debut novel. Since so much of the tale lies in its style as much as its action, other than noting how the story is narrated by twenty-something Milo Crane in the aftermath of the death via automobile crash of his mother and father, a popular writer of horror fiction, and the ensuing events he lives through with Klara, his elder sister of seve...
  • Morgannah
    I am calling it right now, The Garden of Blue Roses is destined to become one of the great American Gothic novels. Mr. Barsa, making his debut as a novelist, deftly uses atmosphere and symbolism to create tension, mystery, and unease. The imaginative and poetically whimsical narration indicates Mr. Barsa is a master at his craft. One of my favorite elements of Gothic fiction is the unreliable narrator. From the very first page we know that our f...
  • Michelle
    Milo Crane I sort of adore you. You're strange, eccentric, and quite funny. I enjoyed being inside your head and I do love your dark humor. I liked this book but I did find it a bit confusing at times. The author definitely keeps you on your toes. You never really know what is really happening or who is telling the truth or what is truth and what is imagination. It left me at times with my head spinning. I didn't really find this book scary at al...
  • Betsy Robinson
    Creepy and slow-burning, sometimes funny (it ends on a wonderfully unexpected laugh), this gothic novel—the first I’ve ever read—is fun!Michael Barsa is a writer’s writer, as well as being one of my Goodreads friends. And as a writer, I adore the way The Garden of Blue Roses plays with the author/created characters dynamic. I probably would never have picked this book up if it weren’t for the Goodreads connection, and I’m so glad I di...
  • Gary Inbinder
    Michael Barsa paints a New England Gothic landscape with strong brush strokes and vivid colors. From the old house with its dark secrets, to the primeval woods, the rural roads, covered bridges, and small towns, there’s depravity lurking beneath the limpid Norman Rockwell surface. We perceive that subliminal corruption as revealed through the eyes and mind of the narrator, Milo Crane.Milo is a young adult who seeks shelter in his room, where he...
  • The Literary Chick
    If you take your horror eerie, unsettling and hold the gore, grab this one. An added bonus is the book within the book like Russian nesting maelstroms of horror. Prepare to meet Mary Katherine Blackwood's younger brother. The one she liked.
  • Jordan
    I was warned by the author before reading this, that it would be different than what I was used to reading; more of a slow creepy burn type of book. True to his word, this exactly how it read, and how I would describe it. The author does a fantastic job of creating the different personalities of each character in the book, which adds to the overall feel.. To aid in this, I found that the way the antagonist was developed furthered the theme of the...
  • Marjorie
    Milo and his sister Klara have received the news that their parents have died in a car crash. Their father was a highly acclaimed horror fiction author. The car crash may or may not have been an accident. Milo continues to work on his model Greek warships, while his sister Klara turns her attentions to redoing the grounds of their home. She hires a gardener named Henri. Milo feels he knows this gardener and then realizes that the gardener reminds...
  • Ctgt
    One of those books that keeps you off kilter.....dream, nightmare, imagination or reality. A narrator that I could never really put my finger on.A family with a dark past.7/10The author and I are casual friends here on GR.Make of that what you will.
  • Nancy Oakes
    4.5 bumped up took me some time to readjust to the real world after reading this book, which threw me completely off kilter during my time in the head of the main character, not always a comfortable place to be. There are a number of unsettling things about this story, not so much because of what happens here, but rather because it left me somewhat disoriented throughout, trying to discern what exactly wa...
  • Kim
    This is one of the most well-written books I’ve read, with a prose style that manages to be elegant, simple, and incredibly propulsive at the same time. It’s also unnerving, unsettling, sometimes scary, and always highly enjoyable—and it’s all shot-through with the funniest dark humor I’ve ever encountered. Milo Crane is a thoroughly unreliable narrator who leaves the reader constantly on edge and uncertain, until the very end, about wh...
  • Melanie
    I have to agree with Michael, sometimes love happens all at once. I was going through the submissions inbox, and the prospects were getting quite dismal when I came across Michael's query letter and manuscript. Within the first few pages I was sending an enthusiastic email to Mark about The Garden of Blue Roses, that read along the lines of "This is the one!! This is the one!!" with a few more exclamation points. Then I proceeded to read the enti...
  • Jim Dooley
    Technical details first. I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. This is a classic horror tale that is beautifully structured ... and has often fallen by the wayside in this era of having a monster jump out of a dark corner with every new chapter. The writing style is similar to classic Asian ghost stories or “The Jolly Corner” by Henry James, that is:* I did something terrible or...
  • Darin Bradley
    Received as an ARC from the publisher. My blurb: "Barsa's prose in The Garden of Blue Roses is so crafted, so elegant, that when it whispers its disturbing moments to you, they're as welcome as a charming dinner guest."
  • Anthony Jones
    The Garden of Blue Roses is a truly great read. Firmly rooted into the tradition of Gothic Horror, it finds its own distinct groove by neither conforming to the genre slavishly nor egotistically trying to reinvent it. While we're living in an age of instability wherein technology has replaced a great deal of authentic human interaction, leaving us apparently vulnerable to AI, mass surveillance, amidst a long list of other phenomena that present g...
  • Sharon
    Perfect for fans of horror, psychological and suspense thrillers.Milo is pleased that his sister Klara has returned home after the failure of her marriage and attempted escape from their parents hold. There is a real sense of creepiness and unease which seeps from within the claustrophobic familial walls, and of an unnerving comprehension of impending doom. Shortly after Klara’s homecoming their parent’s are killed in a car accident on their ...
  • Kristopher Dukes
    A dramatic and layered exploration of authorship: how responsible are we for the stories we tell ourselves, about our world, ourselves, and others? For the characters we create from others' perceived personalities? What qualifies these stories and characters as real or true -- and does it matter?The story of "The Garden of Blue Roses" is as engaging as its themes: our unreliable narrator is a young man whose parents have been suddenly, somewhat m...
  • Michael Perkins
    There are several excellent reviews below, including from my GR friend Jeffrey Keeten, that do a great job of discussing the story and the characters. I will not attempt to duplicate them. But I have to say that I am very picky about style. If a writing style is bad, or even mediocre, it defends itself from being read. But Michael's book is very well written. In that sense, it's an effortless read. I also should mention I don't read horror storie...
  • Doug
    Can't fathom where all the four and five star reviews are coming from (friends of the author, perhaps?), as I thought this was pretty dreadful in both conception and execution. It is so lethargic as to be somnambulistic, and the plot, what little there is, is so rife with holes as to be laughable (e.g, a best-selling famous horror writer that writes in rhyming couplets - that don't ACTUALLY rhyme? People writing letters, rather than emailing or t...
  • James
    I’m really not a reader of suspense novels. But this was loaned to me by my local bookstore because 1) They thought I’d like it, and 2) I said I’d review it. The book was a thoroughly enjoyable ride. I felt constantly kept on my toes. Was Henri really as evil as Milo made him out to be, or was Milo really and truly crazy? I felt for Milo so much during the course of the book, never believing he was as horrible as they made him out to be. Lo...
  • Leah Rachel
    A speedy thriller heavily inspired by Shirley Jackon's THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE, featuring the children of a horror writer trying to cope with each other after the eerie circumstances of his death. An eerie, twisting book about writers and abusive households.
  • Carrie Ardoin
    3.5 STARSIt's been a long time since I read any gothic novels (high school probably), but I can see why The Garden of Blue Roses has been compared to some. A highly questionable narrator, a family full of secrets, a large house with lush grounds as the setting--it's got all that. But this novel shines in its' characterization, and yes Milo Crane is not someone I will forget soon.Milo is the son and second child of world famous horror writer John ...
  • Jill Elizabeth
    This was a wild, weird read - in a good way but also in a confusing one... I met the author via GoodReads after a comment revealed that we had a mutual admiration for the indomitable Shirley Jackson. That led to him mentioning his own book - which is definitely in the SJ vein. Like Ms. Jackson, Barsa blurs the lines between reality, perception, and imagination - and he does this with his own flair, which I enjoyed. There were times I felt a bit l...
  • Andy Weston
    Fellow reviewers point out literary comparisons to Henry James and Poe, and it is clear that Barsa has imitated some of the horror greats in writing this novel. Most successfully, he has created a brother and sister of such strangeness that Shirley Jackson’s We Have Always Lived In The Castle frequently comes to mind. I’m not big on imitation, but I suppose here it’s more of a tribute. Though elements of the novel are gothic and there are...
  • Chris
    Creepy! Creepy!!! BUT... I got lost and frustrated. The narrator in obviously unreliable, but there was nothing to keep me grounded or give me a clue to the "real" world and by the time I was 100 pages in, I felt the need to understand SOMETHING... It felt like I was reading a book while walking on egg shells. If you enjoy a creepy book where you have no idea what's "really" going on, you'll enjoy this. The writing is good, the characters are biz...
  • Linda
    I read this book in one sitting last night. I love a good scary novel as part of my escape reading. This one was satisfying and well written. It did keep me guessing and engaged until the end though there was something about this book that didn't quite hit the mark. Definitely recommend reading.
  • R Dinesh
    A good read with very few characters.....picks speed towards the end..