When Caspar Walsh was four years old his mother rejected him in favour of a boyfriend. His father became his primary carer. But Caspar's father wasn't classic dad material. He robbed banks. His currency was drugs and violence. Yet despite his unconventional, illegal lifestyle, he loved his son. That love couldn't protect Caspar from the harsh realities of the criminal world he inhabited; but it meant Caspar loved him back, looked up to him and emulated him.
Criminal is the story of a wild childhood marked by violence and abuse and the absence of a father who was no stranger to prison. It's the story of how Caspar became part of his father's world: dealing drugs, doing drugs, doing time. It tells of his sexual abuse at the hands of a surrogate father, of his own father's eventual suicide and how he tried to take his own life, too.
Ultimately, it's the story of how, as a young man, Caspar made the decision not to be a victim of his upbringing but to take control of his life, to rehabilitate himself and, by coming full circle to work with offenders, help to rehabilitate others.
"A surprisingly touching, beautifully written tale... While peppered with hair-raising accounts of scrapes with the cops, violence and abuse, Criminal never loses its sense of anticipation." News of the World
"This is a fine, unsparing book... If you want to understand why our prisons are bulging, and where some hope for the future may lie, read this book. Caspar strips his own life back to the bone." Helen Dunmore, author of The Lie
"An extraordinary autobiography. Vibrantly written with one of the most compelling characters in Caspar's father that I've come across in a long time. It's a masterful portrayal of the two sides of the man and demonstrates with absolute clarity how confusing love can be within an abusive relationship." Minette Walters, author of The Cellar