No Way to Run

A Mother and Son Story of Surviving Abuse

By Holly Crichton

Categories: Memoir
Imprint: Caitlin Press
Paperback : 9781987915181, 216 pages, September 2016


On September 3, 2010, the RCMP in Grande Prairie, Alberta, received a 911 call from Mat Crichton about a shooting on a local farm. Seconds later, miles from home, Holly Crichton got a shocking call from her son. "I just shot Dad," Mat told her. The violent end to a violent situation came as no surprise to the community; Holly and her sons had been living in terror from the abuse of her husband for many years. Surprisingly, when Holly and her youngest son were disabled in separate accidents, the abuse did not subside it only escalated. Fiercely protective of her younger son, Holly rarely left the farm. But in time, Mat met and married a woman he loved, moving into a house on the family's land. Encouraged by a family friend, Holly pushed her worries aside one September long weekend and set off with the friend for a music festival. She was there when Mat's call reached her. As she raced to Mat's side, she vowed that the vicious cycle of domestic violence that had claimed her husband's life would not claim her son's as well. But in a shocking turn of events, the police characterized the elderly father as the victim, and the son, Mat, as the aggressor. The community turned out in full force to prevent Mat from being convicted on a first-degree murder charge, and eventually the sentence was reduced to manslaughter. With an incredible support team of friends, neighbours and lawyers surrounding her, Holly mounted an epic effort on her son's behalf. No Way to Run is Holly Crichton's story of tenacity, hope, love and courage and a remarkable testament to the power of community. Crichton's humour and unending reserve of hope and perseverance is an extraordinary example of a woman and her children's choice to survive.


“A powerful story told with tenacity and courage. The spirit and love with which Holly lives her life shines through the pages of this book.”

— Donna Kane, author of Pioneer 10, I Hear You and Erratic