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Hardcover / ISBN-13: 9781474620567

Price: £16.99

ON SALE: 28th April 2022

Genre: Biography & True Stories / Memoirs

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As heard on the HOW TO FAIL podcast with Elizabeth Day

‘I was utterly floored by the emotional depth of About A Son – a book that reaches so deeply into the human experience that to read it is to be forever changed. It is an unflinching examination of grief, a painstaking deconstruction of injustice and a dispatch from the frontiers of the human heart’ Elizabeth Day

On the evening of Halloween in 2015, Morgan Hehir was walking with friends close to Nuneaton town centre when they were viciously attacked by a group of strangers. Morgan was stabbed, and died hours later in hospital. He was twenty years old and loved making music with his band, going to the football with his mates, having a laugh; a talented graffiti artist who dreamed of moving away and building a life for himself by the sea.

From the moment he heard the news, Morgan’s father Colin Hehir began to keep an extraordinary diary. It became a record not only of the immediate aftermath of his son’s murder, but also a chronicle of his family’s evolving grief, the trial of Morgan’s killers, and his personal fight to unravel the lies, mistakes and cover-ups that led to a young man with a history of violence being free to take Morgan’s life that night.

Inspired by this diary, About a Son is a unique and deeply moving exploration of love and loss and a groundbreaking work of creative non-fiction. Part true crime, part memoir, it tells the story of a shocking murder, the emotional repercussions, and the failures that enabled it to take place. It shows how grief affects and changes us, and asks what justice means if the truth is not heard. It asks what can be learned, and where we go from here.

What's Inside

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The book that everyone will be talking about this year: a staggering work of honesty, empathy and humanity, wholly unlike anything else you will have read. Whitehouse is a masterful storyteller who builds an intimate, immersive and unflinching portrait of a boy lost to preventable violence and the family who loved him. I found it absolutely compelling from the first word to the last and know I will never forget it
Terri White, author of Coming Undone
An incredibly compassionate and moving story of loss, grief and enduring love. The portrait of a father's determination and resilience left me filled with both heartache and hope. David Whitehouse is a singularly gifted and deeply compelling writer and this beautiful book opened my eyes to what creative non-fiction can be and do.
Cathy Rentzenbrink, author of The Last Act of Love
A work of such staggering beauty, such sheer, abject dread. My heart ached, and still does, but I'm so glad I read ABOUT A SON. I'm so glad David Whitehouse wrote this book. It's profoundly intimate and despairingly universal. It's a story of life and loss, and grief and love. It's remarkable.
Chris Whitaker, bestselling author of We Begin at the End
I feel very lucky to have read this book. Extraordinary and important . . . a triumph
Adam Kay, bestselling author of This Is Going To Hurt
A book of love and grief, and about what justice can and cannot deliver. I shall always remember Morgan and his family
Sunjeev Sahota, author of The Year of The Runaways
About A Son is a story of grief and the urgent all consuming need for closure when truth and justice are denied. Told with such skill, almost like a letter to the grieving father, a gift that honours the details of the crime and its aftermath, while transforming them into art. Both forensic and compassionate, it asks how do we come to terms with the tragic loss of a beloved son, failed by the system and taken far too early. This is an enthralling and beautiful book that stands as a lasting testament to the power and pain of familial love
Lily Dunn, author of Sins of My Father
David Whitehouse's account of the senseless, preventable murder of a much-loved son, brother and friend, and the unfathomable grief that fuelled his father's quest for the truth, is an astonishing achievement. About A Son is a book that will stay with you for a long, long time. A memorial to Morgan Hehir, the love he gave and the love that surrounded him in his all too short life, it is as beautiful and brilliant as it is heart-breaking
Dan Davies, author of In Plain Sight, winner of the Gordon Burn Prize
About A Son is a remarkable work of narrative nonfiction that invites us into a private universe of extraordinarily deep love and loss. It is a beautiful book that should be read by all
Francisco Garcia, author of If You Were There
I was lucky enough to bag a preview copy of this startling piece of non-fiction a few months ahead of its official release in April. Weird thing to say, but the author might have invented a new genre of literature here, so unique are the events leading up to the book's publication. Part evidence-led true-crime investigation and part psycho-spiritual communion with the essence of grief itself, About A Son is unlike anything you've ever read, I guarantee. This deserves to be massive in 2022
Time Out
David Whitehouse has taken a father's 'unique record of grief' and turned it into a poetic indictment of policing in austerity Britain. About A Son is an original true crime masterpiece and a tribute to human resilience over official intransigence
Michael Gillard, author of Untouchables and Legacy
A devastating book. With great empathy, perceptiveness, and skill, Whitehouse reframes the scenes of a senseless tragedy, giving voice to the untold sorrow of a bereft father, and somehow-don't ask me how-manages to return you to the edge of hope. It's insightful, profoundly moving, and big-hearted. Read it
Benjamin Wood, author of The Bellwether Revivals
Shocking, harrowing and sensitive . . . brings their love for Morgan to vivid life. Whitehouse writes in a spare style reminiscent of Gordon Burn
Observer, Book of the Week
This book! It's about being a father and losing a son. It's about trying to make sense of a senseless thing. It is tender and beautiful, and it is an angry book, a book whose anger is balanced and honed, anger as a tool, slicing through systemic indifference and obfuscation to what is true and right. Yes it's about a murder, about the loss of a life and future. But there is so much love here, and pride and even hope; Whitehouse takes you right to the heart of what it is to be human
Marianne Levy, author of Don't Forget to Scream
An astonishing tale of profound love and grief . . . The facts tell nothing of the staggering emotional heft held within its 272 pages, as this singular blend of memoir, reportage and true crime investigation enmesh the reader in a tale of profound love, towering grief and intense indignation at a justice system that let down the Hehirs . . . . Exceptional . . . as much as it is about his death, it is also a tribute to who Morgan Hehir was, and the memory of his life will live long inside anyone who reads it
The i
A feat of creative non-fiction. A mix of true crime and memoir, it's a book that pays tribute to Morgan as a young man whose life was suddenly cut short, while also being a book about Nuneaton itself, capturing the grit and tragedy beneath the surface of the town, as well as a sense of community and openness. Whitehouse's writing is brilliant and devastating
The Skinny
You absolutely must not miss this extraordinarily compelling work of creative non-fiction that is both deeply respectful and superbly crafted. It's one of those works that excels by defying categorisation, and yet if ever a book brought home the stark human reality that lies behind the words 'True' and 'Crime' it is this one
Caroline Sanderson, The Bookseller
I was utterly floored by the emotional depth of About A Son - a book that reaches so deeply into the human experience that to read it is to be forever changed. It is an unflinching examination of grief, a painstaking deconstruction of injustice and a dispatch from the frontiers of the human heart. David Whitehouse has written something of great power and truth. In doing so, he has ensured that Colin Hehir's beloved son, Morgan, and the family's fight for justice will never be forgotten.
Elizabeth Day, author of How To Fail
Gripping, moving and beautifully executed . . . This is the first book I've read in a long time that acknowledges the grief, rage and misery of a crime's aftermath, and it does so with such truthfulness, humanity and respect. Hugely affecting
David Nicholls