The Next Chapter

Musician David Francey recommends a true story of a worst-case scenario

Musician David Francey recommends Belinda Hawkins' nonfiction book about a miscarriage of justice that left a young Australian man in jail for life in Bulgaria.
In Every Parent's Nightmare, journalist Belinda Hawkins tells the story of a young Australian man sentenced to life in prison in Bulgaria.

Musician David Francey read the nonfiction book Every Parent's Nightmare because he knew the author, Belinda Hawkins, who is a journalist with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Francey's latest album is Empty Train.

It's the true story of a young Australian man who fell afoul of the justice system in Bulgaria. He was very much an idealistic young man, on his walkabout as they say in Australia, and one night in Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria, he runs to the aid of a couple of Gypsies who are being trashed by what looks to him like a mob of soccer hooligans. In the fracas, he — unintentionally I believe — ends up stabbing a young man and killing him. The story basically deals with this young man and his father and their attempt to get the true story out. He is essentially railroaded into prison on a life sentence. This is the story of how his father has tried to save him from a lifetime in a Bulgarian jail.

I just think of myself at that young man's age and the chances I took that could have gone so badly and didn't. I was lucky, I suppose. I have a son who's very close to that age now, and should he start travelling, these are going to be the things I'm worried about!

David Francey's comments have been edited and condensed.