Copyright © Joe Hight. All rights reserved.

A Journalist Investigates the Life and Death of His Older Brother Ordained, Discarded, Slain by Police

J o e  H i g h t

Unnecessary Sorrow

Unnecessary Sorrow

THE BOOK

A Journalist Investigates the Life and Death of His Older Brother Ordained, Discarded, Slain by Police

Against the backdrop of a father’s return from the horrors of World War II and the hardships of the Great Depression’s Dust Bowl days, Paul Hight and his family take comfort in the routines of family, church, and rural life until a tragic accident shatters their world.


In the search for answers afterward, a decision is made that Paul will become a priest, a priest for life—as he and his family believe and the Catholic Church teaches. Yet when mental illness descends on Hight in his late twenties, instead of taking on his burden as it would a priest with cancer or heart disease, the church purges Hight from its priestly ranks.


Once again, the world becomes an uncertain, dangerous place, where voices taunt him and visions give orders he feels compelled to follow. While his family keeps Hight from becoming homeless, in the end, their help is not enough to keep him safe. On his own doorstep, Hight is shot and killed in an encounter with police that is seen too often with those struggling with mental illness. 

Haunted by his oldest brother’s death, journalist Joe Hight turns his investigative skills on finding the truth about his brother’s exit from the priesthood and the breakdowns in the mental health care and criminal justice systems that contributed to his death. He seeks lessons from the senseless death in the hopes that unnecessary sorrow might never happen again.

October 2019  |  The RoadRunner Press

Hardcover | $24.00 U.S.

ISBN: 978-1-937054-99-1


Trade Paper | $20.00

ISBN: 978-1-937054-02-2

Journalist, Columnist, Author