March 28, 2016 – Review of In the Company of Evil: “A gruesome seduction!” Five Stars by Amy’s Bookshelf Reviews
November 18, 2015 – Readers’ Favorite Review of In the Company of Evil by Chris Fischer
In an absolutely great entry in the genre of true crime, In the Company of Evil: Thirty Years of California Crime, 1950-1980 by Michael Thomas Barry is a fantastic composite of some of the most notorious and interesting cases in California in the time period. In truly chilling detail, the book provides readers with a glimpse into the lives and crimes of those ranging from serial killers to Satan worshippers, to brutal rapists and more. Some of the more fascinating cases include ‘The Real House on Haunted Hill,’ ‘The Sex Club Slaying’ and ‘The Lonely Hearts Killer,’ and their recounting may bring back the sense of terror that the communities they victimized felt at the time that these vicious criminals were active.
I found In the Company of Evil to be a simply fascinating read. Author Michael Thomas Barry has done a fantastic job in interweaving true facts from cases, personal histories of both victims and perpetrators, as well as photographs to make the stories come alive on the page. I also appreciated the fact that while some of the stories I knew or remembered, others were less publicized and known, making for new discoveries in the world of crime. Any reader who enjoys true crime, history, and especially history from the state of California will love In the Company of Evil: Thirty Years of California Crime, 1950-1980. I highly recommend this book. I certainly hope that author Michael Thomas Barry is already working on his next book in this same vein. I, for one, will certainly be keeping an eye out for his next work!
March 10, 2015 – Readers Favorite review of America’s Literary Legends by Emily-Jane Hills Orford
What is it that makes a great writer? A great work of literature? When asked this question, perhaps the first name that comes to mind is Shakespeare. But he was not the only great and it might be argued by Shakespearean scholars that perhaps his words were not his own. Besides, there are a lot of ‘greats’ outside of Great Britain. Even the United States had its great writers. If one is to compare the era of Shakespeare (the sixteenth century), historians will note that the United States was recognizing its own literary beginnings not long after with the poetry of people like Anne Dudley Bradstreet (1612-1672), considered to be one of the earliest noteworthy American poets. Her writings remained unrivaled by any other American woman writer until the emergence of Emily Dickinson in the 19th century. And, along with the early settlers, the pilgrims and the explorers, there were others who wrote letters (a literary work of art in itself), journals, poetry, stories, articles and much more.
So where does one begin in discussing the ‘greats’ of American literature? With the historical personages like Bradstreet, but also with the American classics like Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, whose epic poem, The Song of Hiawatha, sparked generations of Europeans who relished the romantic ideal of the noble savage. Then there’s Harriet Beecher Stowe, whose novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, sparked the abolitionist cause of the Northern States.
Michael Thomas Barry has done an incredible job bringing together the literary ‘greats’ of American literature from the first settlers well into the twentieth-century. Did he leave any out? Definitely. His book reveals interesting tidbits, quotes, information, photographs and burial places of fifty American literary ‘greats’. It’s just a taste to spark the reader’s interest. His layout and informative discussions lead the historian, the literary enthusiast, and even the curious reader, through history. It is an easy and enjoyable read for both the intellectual and the general interest audience.
Using author quotes from Washington Irving who wrote, “Great minds have purposes; others have wishes,” and Nathaniel Hawthorne who wrote, “Words – so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them,” the author provides the reader with insight into the lives, the literature and the birth and burial places of these literary ‘greats’. This is an outstanding, interesting and informative resource on some of America’s great literary geniuses.
September 19, 2014 – New York Times #1 Best Selling Author Dean Koontz comments on my next book America’s Literary Legends: The Lives & Burial Places of 50 Great Writers.
“This delectable compendium of authors’ lives and final resting places is highly entertaining., informative, and beautifully illustrated. Although it deals with literary celebrity, in a quiet way the book recommends humility as the sane response to fame.”
January 2014 – Review of Literary Legends of the British Isles “Michael Barry’s enchanting LITERARY LEGENDS OF THE BRITISH ISLES provides capsule histories of the life and times of 50 of England’s greatest writers and poets. Barry provides two-four page write-ups on such luminaries as Shakespeare, Kipling, Chaucer, Swift, Burns, Keats, Dickens, Shaw, Christie, Wordsworth, Wilde, Browning, Orwell, Tolkien and the Bronte sisters. Along with essential biographical information, he discusses each author’s literary output, giving the background of their works, critical and popular reception, etc. He even details the burial site of each writer. Barry’s informative text is complimented by over 150 vintage and contemporary photographs, illustrations and artworks. Barry’s book is a treat for lovers of English literature.” Mike O. / Marathon County Public Library, Wausau, Wisconsin http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17930800-literary-legends-of-the-british-isles#other_reviews
January 2014 – Review of Literary Legends of the British Isles “Literary Legends of the British Isles, The Lives and Burial Places of 50 Great Writers, by Michael Thomas Barry, is a wonderful look at great writers of the late medieval and early modern periods, and the 19th and 20th centuries. Little known information about their lives is revealed, with photos of the writers where available and of their grave sites and homes. Any writer, reader, or person interested in the British Isles would love this book and perhaps even become interested in visiting these historic sites. Literary Legends is beautifully compiled, and I especially love the photos of the formal gardens which surround some of the homes and burial sites. You may find your favorite authors among the pages of Literary Legends. Jane Austen is here, George Orwell, Bram Stoker, Mary Shelley, and Oscar Wilde, as well as Shakespeare, Chaucer, and Thomas Wyatt of the Henry VIII period and reputed lover of Anne Boleyn. The Bronte sisters —Charlotte, Emily, and Anne — discovered that they were all writing secret poetry and then got together to publish a book of poetry under male pen names. Many female authors of this period did this, whether to avoid disgracing husbands or family, or because women were not taken seriously I am not sure. George Eliot is another example. Michael Thomas Barry, himself a prolific author, has degrees in Criminal Justice and History. His other books include descriptions of other final resting places, and in addition he writes a column for Crime Magazine, On This Day in Crime History.” Reviewed by Mary DeKok Blowers for Readers’ Favorite http://readersfavorite.com/book-review/14317
July 2013 – Review of Great Britain’s Royal Tombs “Book reviews are by their very nature a personal opinion, one of the things which generally attracts me to a book is not just the cover but its illustrations. This book does not disappointment; it is beautifully and generously illustrated on glossy thick paper. There are photos of churches, cathedrals and tombs as well as pictures of the kings and their queens, many of which come from unusual nineteenth century illustrations, which I had not come across before and which add to the fascination of the pictures chosen.” Lynda Pigeon for the Richard III Society
February 2013 – OC Metro magazine’s review of Great Britain’s Royal Tombs “This is a grave undertaking by a local author who unearths fascinating details. Michael Thomas Barry’s lavishly illustrated history of the lives and burial places of British monarchs should find a rapt audience among Southern California Anglophiles.” Steven M. Thomas for OC Metro magazine (February 2103) page 72 “Lifestyle” http://www.ocmetro.com/
January 30, 2013 – Readers Favorite Review of Great Britain’s Royal Tombs “Michael Barry has created a masterpiece, a brilliant overview of Great Britain’s royal rulers, that belongs in libraries worldwide and will be loved by Anglophiles everywhere.” Alice DiNizo for Readers Favorite http://readersfavorite.com/review/8209
May 2012 – Murder & Mayhem is named a recommended read by Orange Coast Magazine May 2012 – The San Francisco Book Review of Murder & Mayhem “As an unbiased account of crimes, this is a quick and appealing read, answering some questions for those of us who have only heard of these stories as legends and sometimes not finding answers at all, but peeling back the layers and inviting in more research and interest. As a reader of short stories, I appreciate the quick accounts; some stories are one page, while the more notorious or historically backed reach longer lengths of several pages. There could be more back story in some of these stories. A curious read that is worth checking out if you are a history buff and a would-be forensic detective.”
November 2011 – Sacramento Book Review of “Fade to Black” Fade to Black is indeed an illuminating collection of short memoirs about the academy awardees of cinema during the golden age of film from 1927 to 1950…This charming recollection of movie greats captures the history of the cinema along with the mixed personalities that endowed it with greatness. It is fitting that we smile in tribute to their memories by reviewing their contributions. This is our inheritance and one that the reader will enjoy. Read entire review my clicking the link – http://citybookreview.com/2011/10/fade-to-black-graveside-memories-of-hollywood-greats-1927-1950/
June 2011 – Readers Favorite review Michael Thomas Barry transports readers back to 1927 – 1950 where he introduces readers to the Hollywood Greats. I must admit that I was not familiar with some of the actors. It was entertaining to read the biography of each one….It is obvious that Barry spent much time in research for this book. He includes photos of the stars and often they are laid to rest. This is not a tell-all book. Barry is very respectful of each star’s reputation. He also shares information on the creation of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science. This book would be a perfect gift for a fan of old movies. Read entire review by clicking the link – http://readersfavorite.com/review/4300
July 2011 – The Midwest book review The immortality of film doesn’t extend to the actors themselves, and a last monument to memory is all the families and fans of them have to remember them. “Fade to Black: Graveside Memories of Hollywood Greats 1927-1950” is a tour guide to the grave site memorials to many of the legends of Hollywood during said era, offering a profile of each, noting their most famed works, what is left of their earthly remains, and where their memorial site can be found. “Fade to Black” is a strong pick for any diehard fan of this classical era of cinema. Read the entire review by clicking the link – http://www.midwestbookreview.com/wbw/jul_11.htm#Theatre/Cinema
June 2011 – Orange Coast Magazine “recommended read” by book reviewer Jane Glenn Haas Review – May 30, 2011 “Author Michael Thomas Barry offers readers a guided tour through the golden years of Hollywood movie making in his book, Fade to Black: Graveside Memories of Hollywood Greats, 1927-1950. The book recounts the formation of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science and the Academy Awards ceremonies from 1929 – 1950. Barry also offers biographic sketches of the major Academy Award winners during this time period. Barry begins this Hollywood journey by delving into the creation of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science. The idea for the organization originated with the head of the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studio, Louis B. Mayer. In 1926, Meyer met with three Hollywood powerhouses, an actor, director and producer, to discuss the problem of unions in the film industry. As a result of this meeting, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science was formed to mediate union disputes and to improve the image of the movie industry. Celebrating movie stars, directors and producers for their work became a part of the Academy’s agenda three years later. There were initially 231 members. As the awards become a larger part of the Academy, Barry provides biographical information about the winners of the major award categories: Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director and later Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress. These sketches of the lives of Hollywood’s elite from the 1920s to 1950s are the meat of this book. Many of the major stars spanning this time frame are featured including Mary Pickard whose self-campaigning for her 1930 Best Actress award prompted the Academy to alter the voting rules for the awards; Clark Gable, Best Actor in 1935, who like many of the featured stars in this book had multiple marriages; and James Stewart, the decorated Army Colonel who captured the Academy Award for Best Actor in 1941. Barry informs readers about the artists’ lives, their work, and where they were laid to rest.
By Melissa Brown Levine for Independent Professional Book Reviewers www.bookreviewers.org This is a fascinating, historical piece about old Hollywood filled with beautiful black and white photographs of some of the top stars of the movie industries golden age…For Hollywood buffs and those looking for a lovely coffee table book that will spark conversation, Fade to Black is an exciting and captivating read. I highly recommend it.” May 4, 2011 – “Fade to Black manages to do a good job going where many others have gone before, but does so with a twist”
Allan Ellenberger, Hollywoodland blog “A morbidly glamorous volume.”
Los Angeles Magazine, March 2011 http://www.lamag.com/culture/books/Story.aspx?id=1367028
“This is an enjoyable read offering more then the interesting anecdotes and history so well described by Michael Barry, but an opportunity for loyal fans to pay their respects to those they love and admire. Thank you Michael for your gift and I hope others enjoy it as much as I have.” Celeste Holm, Academy Award winning actress November 16, 2010. Final Resting Places Orange County’s Dead & Famous
June 2011 – www.Booknews.com Barry, who lives in the county, details 24 graveyards in Orange County, California, that are home to the graves of famous people whose lives impacted its historical and cultural growth, like Florence Griffith-Joyner, John Wayne, Linda Marie Brown, Bobby Hatfield, Eddie Cochran, Lefty Williams, Marie Callender, and Nicole Brown Simpson. He profiles entertainment, sports, crime, and political celebrities, with description of the cemeteries, some b&w photos, contact information, and directions to the graves. Public, private, and Catholic cemeteries and historic graveyards are included, such as the Richard M. Nixon Presidential Library, Mission San Juan Capistrano, the Old Mission Cemetery, the Yorba Cemetery, Fairhaven Memorial Park, Pacific View Memorial Park, and Forest Lawn Memorial Park-Cypress. The final chapter discusses five events from which most of the participants are buried in Orange County, including the Battle of Tomato Springs, the Center Street Shoot Out, and the Crash of Pan Am Flight 103. (Annotation ©2011 Book News Inc. Portland, OR) Barry of Anaheim Hills, has completed his guide to Orange County cemeteries and gravesites of famous citizens with biographical and historical information. Barry writes: “in the end, all we really want to do is be remembered.” Included are President Nixon, band leader Freddie Martin, mogul and philantropist John Creen, icon John Wayne, and Nicole Brown-Simpson, the slain ex-wife of O.J. Simpson. A throughly entertaining read and guidebook.
Marylin Hudson, book review, Orange Coast Magazine September 2010 www.orangecoastmagazine.com Michael Barry leaves no (head) stone unturned in his great new book, Final Resting Places, Orange County’s Dead & Famous. Meticulously researched, this volume from my Schiffer Books Stable-Mate presents not just the best known graves in Orange County, but many historic figures going back centuries that may now be forgotten if not for books like this to light the way and illuminate history. To those of us who may be Los Angelenos or East Coast transplants, you will be surprised to learn how much real history is to be found behind the Orange Curtain and six feet under. Michael Barry brings it all too vivid life in 224 well laid out pages, touring the reader through 24 area cemeteries, public and private, historic and modern, introducing us to over 200 permanent residents who shaped our state, our country and our culture. This book is a must have for any serious grave hunter and should be included in any good research library. It will be a welcome addition to my bookshelves.
Steve Goldstein, Author – LA’s Graveside Companion: Where the VIP’s RIP (Schiffer Publishing, 2009) www.beneathlosangeles.com Michael has assembled a terrific guidebook of the final addresses of not just celebrities – but crime and disaster victims as well. The book is nicely assembled, and even if you don’t use it out in “the field”, it’ll make a great read for anyone with an interest in cemeteries. He treats a delicate subject matter with dignity and respect – and keeps it darned interesting as well. Well done.
Scott Michaels, Owner – Dearly Departed Tours, Los Angeles www.findadeath.com/ I think this is a book many people will find interesting. It’s good to have if you live in Orange County, if you want to take a tour of the cemeteries as a tourist, actual or virtual. The beauty of this book is that it can be read cover to cover, you can skip around, or take it out with you as a guidebook.
Jim Cherry, author of The Last Stage (2005), and writer for the “the Doors Examiner.com” for the complete review follow this link http://www.examiner.com/examiner/x-21763-The-Doors-Examiner~y2010m2d5-Dead–famous-in-Orange-County What I personally liked about the book was the attention to detail in describing the cemetery histories of various cemeteries. It was a classy touch how each biographical story gets woven into the next story in many cases. I also enjoyed the biographies on personages I’ve never heard of which included the early settlers, many celebrities from the silent era, and others. There are many things I enjoyed about the book but it’s just too much to add.
Josh Perry – The Grave Hunting Guru, and for the complete review follow this link http://thegravehuntingguru.wordpress.com/2010/03/17/book-review-final-resting-places-orange-countys-dead-famous/ I love historical trivia and learning about new people and events that I didn’t previously know about. The new book, Final Resting Places:Orange County’s Dead & Famous, by Michael Thomas Barry, does more than just telling me who is buried in our county. The author does an excellent job of highlighting many of the famous personalities, OC founders, politicians, and other special individuals who lived (or were buried) in our county. In short, easy to read narratives, Barry gives a brief overview of over 200 people – some you are familiar with and many you aren’t – but most you will still find interesting. He also does a nice job writing a short summary about each of the county’s public and private cemeteries including a bit of their history and some tips for finding the burial spots of those included in the book. I like the way that the book was set up by cemetery. Barry includes an index at the back so you can locate those he wrote about. The information about each person was nteresting and “enough” for a quick read and a good overview – serving as a delicious “appetizer” to get me interested in learning more. I enjoyed the book and look forward to doing some additional research on a variety of people who I didn’t know before reading this. Final Resting Places: Orange County’s Dead & Famous is published by Schiffer and is available at schifferbooks.com and from some local book sellers.
Guy Ball, The Santa Ana Historical Preservation Society, April 2010, http://www.santaanahistory.com/newsletters/Spring-2010-Newsletter.pdf Orange County Register article – January 26, 2010 http://www.ocregister.com/articles/barry-230882-book-buried.html?pic=1
Review – The Doors Examiner by Jim Cherry January 26, 2010 http://www.examiner.com/examiner/x-21763-The-Doors-Examiner~y2010m1d26-Pam-Courson-in-Dead-and-Famous
Orange County Register February 1, 2010 http://www.ocregister.com/news/book-231958-barry-county.html
OCnewschannel.com February 3, 2010 http://ocnewschannel.com/state-union-oc-reaction-free-krispy-kreme-donuts-michael-thomas-barry-ghost-writer-jan-28-2010/
Lisa Burks – Adventures in Grave Hunting blog, March 19, 2010 http://lisaburks.typepad.com/gravehunting/2010/03/bang-the-drum-fiercely-sandy-west-19592006.html
USA Today February 2, 2010, New York Post – February 2, 2010, The Atlanta Journal Constitution February 4, 2010, Newsday – February 7, 2010