“Ominous, fantastic, and wonderfully malevolent, Michael Barsa’s THE GARDEN OF BLUE ROSES immediately held me in its grip. Both major characters feel unreliable in the best, most disorienting way, while the world of the novel itself vacillates in one’s mind between the real and the magical – and Barsa’s magic is the black and blue sort of damaged souls hidden among dark foliage. The disquieting effect as I read was such that outside my door, I felt the spirits of Shirley Jackson, Edgar Allan Poe, and Albert Camus’ Meursault, whispering to join the fun. Barsa’s THE GARDEN OF BLUE ROSES mixes just the right amount of death, poetry, and deceit, into an already glorious stew of familial dysfunction and the ultimate result is this pure and delicious fiction.” — Alice Sebold, author of The Lovely Bones

“With his first novel, the influences of which include the gothic visions of Hawthorne, the morally charged horror of Shirley Jackson, and the twisty storytelling of Italo Calvino, Barsa emerges as a unique voice in contemporary fiction.” — Kirkus Reviews

“The Garden of Blue Roses is full of literary pyrotechnics and Easter Eggs, dark twists and darker humor, and it’s all held together by the wonderfully malevolent unreliable narrator Milo Crane.  I was hooked from page one.” — Paul Tremblay, author of A Head Full of Ghosts and The Cabin at the End of the World

“[A] taut mystery about how the lives we lead are forever changed by the stories we tell and the secrets we keep.  These pages are gripping and rich.” – Ramona Ausubel, author of Sons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty and No One is Here Except All of Us

“In this rich neo-gothic novel, Michael Barsa has designed a real treat. His hyper-nervous, hyper-careful narrator captures us with an eerie power exactly like Henry James’ governess and the stressed-out, dreamy extremists of Poe. The Garden of Blue Roses is drenched in all of the awful and wondrous features of dark horror – all whispered in our ear by Milo, the son, the brother, the watcher, the spy, who had my sleeve fiercely in his fist the whole way.” — Ron Carlson, author of Five Skies

“The Garden of Blue Roses is a work that brilliantly probes the authorship of horror in its many arenas: history, war, parenting, nature, love, the imagination [….] Read this fierce new novel; be in the penitentiary of Milo Crane’s thoughts.” – Michelle Latiolais, author of Widow and She.

“A fascinating and admirable debut.”  Kristopher Dukes, author of The Sworn Virgin

“If The Garden of Blue Roses was sheer pulp horror fiction, Michael Barsa’s inventiveness would be constricted within the boundaries of the genre. It is not. This is a work of true literature not pulp, thus its subtle poetry touches on the horrific but is not bound by it.” —Glenn Russell, Goodreads Top Book Reviewer

“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.” —Darin Bradley, author of Chimpanzee and Totem

“[P]eople are starting to compare this novel to the works of some of the great psychological horror writers, and they are right in doing so. Michael Barsa has written a brilliant novel with so many beautiful layers.” —Jeffrey Keeten, Goodreads Top Book Reviewer