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"In Lieu of Flowers is a coming-of-age story, set in the fifties, presented in vivid Technicolor. Billy Barnes lives and dies in a world rich with incidents, accidents, and colorful characters. " - Michael Ivey, Broadcast Director, Storyteller, and Former Commentator on NPR's All Things Considered
"Rath is a gifted storyteller...He has created a tapestry of fully developed characters, and exposed a slice of our national DNA which touches on the celestial hierarchy, ancient history, poetry, gypsy culture, race, mob influences, and an encyclopedia of the distinctive styles of our jazz and blues legends." - David J. Shanahan, Author, Raconteur, and Former Theater Critic
"[A]n intimate blend of drama, humor, trial, and triumph." - Bernard and Pat Sweeney, Sandy Beach Amusement Park Restaurateurs
"The narrative of Billy's guardian angel not only provides a perspective on Billy's life, his exceptional musical talents, and the life of his immigrant parents--but also paints a rich portrait of Anï¿½el's heavenly world. What a wonderfully well-researched, fascinating tale, elegantly written by a great storyteller." - Tim Busch, President of Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc.
"[A] murder mystery that is a beautiful love story in disguise." - Emil J. Brolick, Former President and CEO of Wendy's Company
"[A] perfect escape...complete with youth, the promise of talent, a benevolent and worldly guardian angel, food you can smell and taste, music you want to hear again and again, and complex, interesting humans living out their lives." - Theresa Loar, Lecturer on International Affairs and Former Diplomat
"[D]etailed descriptions reveal the insights and experiences of its author, whose 'coming of age' in rural Bellefontaine, Ohio was affected by his emerging love and knowledge of jazz and his perceptive awareness of the local gypsy culture, the disturbing mafia, and the realities of social injustices." - Mabel G. Freeman, Ph.D., Retired University Administrator