Barrett was born in Bondi, Australia, the son of George and Marguerite Barrett. He left school at 14 to do a few odd jobs before taking on a trade as a butcher around the eastern suburbs of Sydney. He gave up his trade when a hind of beef fell on him and injured his shoulder. While he was on worker's compensation, he completed three writing courses at the WEA (Workers' Educational Association). When his sickness benefits ran out he worked in various jobs, DJ, barman, or went on the dole. His first writing job was gag writing for disc jockeys on Radio 2SM. He also signed on with a casting agent and started acting in commercials and television series and appeared in what he says are 'two classic A-grade clunkers'; the movies Bullamakanka and The Empty Beach.
Les is back and on the detox ... All it took was a summer's day and a flat tyre on his push-bike, and Les is out on bail and on the run from a gun-happy street gang intent on a drive-by. So, with Warren's help, Les Norton defendant, becomes Len Gordon film director, safely ensconced at the ultra-swish Opal Springs Health Resort till Eddie can sort things out back in Sydney. Unfortunately, the first thing Les finds on arrival is motivational guru Alexander Holden dead at the front gate. Then, before you can say 'soya beans with tahini and lime dressing', the cops arrive and Les is up to his neck in a land of a thousand acronyms, fighting off steroid-happy body builders, sex-crazed socialites, violent greyhound owners - and, worst of all, caffeine withdrawals - while at the same time matching wits with the four acrimonious writers-in-residence. Was Alexander Holden murdered? Or was it an accident? Find out in the gripping climax and food fight when all is revealed - in the library. Robert G. Barrett's latest Les Norton adventure, Crime Scene Cessnock, set in New South Wales's beautiful Pokolbin Valley, is a whodunnit with a difference, and proves once again why Barrett is, to quote The Australian newspaper, 'the king of popular fiction'.