A remarkable review I received from a friend is posted below.


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Thomas V. Nash, one of our nation’s top portrait painters and based in Georgia, read “Shoshana.” He blew me away with his review that I wanted to share:
If artist, musician, former cop, private investigator and author, Michael Barrett were not already my friend, reading his recent book “Shoshana” would’ve made me wish he were. I always knew of his multiple talents in art and music but had no idea of the depth of his writing ability. I was knocked out by the skill with which he can tell a story. If I had Michael’s “chops” I could come up with something better than the well worn phrase “he paints us a picture with words”, but that is exactly what he does on every page. Throughout the book I could not help but think of how only a fellow artist and someone with the observational skills of a detective could put on paper such vivid portrayals of each and every person and scene. It’s only a matter of time before someone is smart enough to recognize that “Shoshana” should be made into a movie and when they do the artistic director will not have to look any further than the book itself for instructions as to the colors and lighting to set the mood for every scene.
There are only a few novels where the lead character counts portrait painting among his skill set and that alone would’ve made me rush to get my copy, but that is only one of many reasons that I think my many FB artist friends, will enjoy this book. I posted a few days ago that once I received “Shoshana and read it, that I would write again to tell you my reaction. Halfway into the second chapter I had decided I was not going to even wait, that I knew for sure you would appreciate “Shoshana” and I would post immediately. As it turned out I achieved both, as I could not put the book down and finished it while neglecting everything else I had planned to do last night.
When I took a literature class a hundred years ago I know I came way with only a vague understanding of the meaning of and distinctions between metaphor, simile, analogy and “stuff like that” but clearly Michael has a rock solid grasp of ALL the tools a writer can use to make a story richer, deeper more compelling and rewarding for the reader . Time and again throughout “Shoshana” I just had to stop and marvel at his unique and colorful way of using words to bring each event to life. I enjoyed his use of imagery so much that I often found myself going back to reread a passage just to savor it’s craftsmanship. It reminded me of how I feel when looking at a painting . Some parts are just so exquisite that you can’t help but linger on them and then go back again to drink them in even more fully.
I’ve heard that good writers taste their words, swirl them around in their mouths, try a few ways to say the same thing but more clearly or more forcefully or more elegantly. They work at it until they not only say what they intended but in a way that “feels” and tastes just right. I can only imagine that Michael patiently and lovingly assembled the words to create “Shoshana” and that he took his time and rejected some very good phrases and paragraphs only to replace them with even better ones, not stopping until he felt he had achieved something special. I think he succeeded. I can’t wait to ask Michael about his writing process but I am pretty sure that “Shoshana” represents a lot of days, weeks, months, maybe years when Michael was not at the easel or playing the saxophone. If I learn that he was able to write this riveting book by just tapping into his vast reservoir of personal knowledge and letting the words flow naturally and spontaneously, then my admiration for him and envy of his writing skill will only become greater than it already is. Congrats Michael Barrett!

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