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.
"Forget the bloody Da Vinci Code, Mick. We've got to crack the Tesla Legacy. If we don't, we're both dead."
Newcastle electrician Mick Vincent had almost everything in life he wanted. Jesse Osbourne, the Stockton bookshop owner he loved. A big house at Bar Beach he owned. And a 1936 Buick Roadmaster he cherished. The only thing missing in Mick's life was a pressure plate for his Buick.
Through a strange old lady, Mick finds his pressure plate. He also finds a diary belonging to Nikola Tesla, the electronics genius reputed to be smarter than Einstein. But what was Nikola Tesla doing in outback New South Wales in 1925? Building a doomsday machine powerful enough to blow up Australia and half the world, according to Jesse. And it's sitting on a fault line. Even though the Tesla Legacy is highly classified, the Pentagon spy satellites are zeroing in and a hit squad from the United States Department of National Security is out to kill them.
With the hint of an oil company conspiracy in the air and ASIO in the background, Mick and Jesse set off to find the Tesla Legacy first - their only clues, a lost mountain of copper ore and an old racehorse called Tears of Fire.