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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’ Terri White

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, having a drink; 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.

Reviews

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