The Crime Writers' Association

Neil Root


Covering Darkness: Writing True Crime, published by Greenwich Exchange Publishing, March 2019 

Covering Darkness: Writing True Crime explores the wide-ranging genre of true crime writing and outlines the surprising literary lineage with a variety of writers – many of the highest quality – who have dedicated themselves to, or occasionally dabbled in, the form over the past four centuries.

Neil Root also analyses the key elements for effective true crime narrative writing, and the wider ethical implications and sensitivities unique to the style. Finally, it offers insights into fifteen of the best true crime writers since the 1960s and their seminal works in the Modern Masters section, taking in the different subject matters, approaches and methods of those leading practitioners in both book and feature writing forms.

True crime is under-represented in literary criticism. Covering Darkness: Writing True Crime aims to redress that situation, acting as both a succinct primer and a highly readable critical guide. See

Crossing the Line of Duty, published by The History Press, March 2019

Crossing the Line of Duty explores, for the first time, how the Sweeney (the Flying Squad), the Elite Serious Organised Crime Unit and the Obscene Publications Squad (the Dirty Squad) descended to unprecedented levels of corruption in the 1960s and 1970s, leading the infamous gangster Charlie Richardson to say that ‘the most lucrative, powerful and extensive protection racket ever to exist was administered by the Metropolitan Police’. Sir Robert Mark, who became commissioner of the Metropolitan Police and cleaned it up, said that it was ‘the most routinely corrupt organisation in London’. During his time as commissioner, 50 officers were prosecuted, while 478 took early retirement. Using Metropolitan Police files obtained under Freedom of Information, which have not been accessed since the 1970s, author Neil Root can finally tell the story of how both the Flying Squad and Obscene Publications Squad of the Metropolitan Police became systemically corrupt in the post-war years, and how they reached a nadir in the mid-1970s. It also shows how this culture of corruption has been a blueprint for Met Police corruption today, and how the enormous near-autonomous power wielded by elite squads allowed the corruption to fester and grow. See


The Murder Gang- Britain’s Elite Group of Crime Reporters in the Golden Age of Tabloid Crime published by The History Press, March 2018

Gone: The Disappearance of Claudia Lawrence: Mainstream Publishing, Random House, March 2013

Frenzy! Arrow Publishing, Random House, August 2012 (updated paperback edition)

Frenzy! Heath, Haigh & Christie: The First Great Tabloid Murderers: published by Preface Publishing, Random House,2011.

Who Killed Rosemary Nelson? (with Ian Hitchings) John Blake Publishing, 2011

 20th Century Spies: published by Summersdale Publishers, March 2010.

Cold Blooded Evil: The True Story of the Ipswich Stranglings, John Blake Publishing, 2008



Non-fiction - Longlist 2018: The Murder Gang
Non-fiction - Longlist 2020: Crossing the Line of Duty