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What is it about crime that we find so fascinating, even if at the same time the details are repugnant? Why exactly do we immerse ourselves in true crime podcasts and TV shows? Has this appetite for gore shifted over the years? And what role does the crime reporter play in all of this?

In this compelling book, Martin Brunt draws on the most shocking and harrowing stories he’s covered over the past thirty years to document the life of a crime reporter and assess the public obsession with crime that his reporting caters for. He also considers the wider relationship between the press and the police, the impact of social media and the question of why some crimes are ignored while others grip the nation.

Featuring many undisclosed details on some of the biggest cases Brunt has covered, from the ‘Diamond Wheezers’ to Fred and Rose West, this blend of storytelling and analysis is not only a riveting overview of the nature of crime reporting but a reflection on the purpose of the profession in the first place.


“Peek inside the secret world of crime with this brilliant book by Martin Brunt, Britain’s top crime correspondent. Renowned for the accuracy of his reporting, his calm manner and authority, Martin casts wise eyes over the criminal fraternity, the police who try to catch them out and the press who cover our most sensational crime stories. Highly recommended.”

Howard Sounes, author of Fred & Rose

“Martin Brunt is the crime correspondent I always trust. When he speaks, I listen. Shrewd and insightful, he has unparalleled connections and specialist knowledge that allow him to see beyond a specific crime and view the context in which that crime has been committed – a rare gift in an underrated journalistic discipline. This book is a must-read.”

David Wilson, Professor Emeritus of Criminology

“A cracking tale from a reporter with the inside track on many of Britain’s most notorious crimes and how they were investigated – and how they were covered by the media.”

Duncan Campbell, investigative journalist and author of Underworld

“We forget that journalists are also experts in crime. They see more cases in a year than many police and science experts might see in a career. It was a revelation to consider cases from their perspective. A rare book that covers a topic anew.”

Professor Sue Black, author of All That Remains and Written in Bone

“This volume is riveting and informative, but it has left me perplexed: do I admire investigative journalists, or am I dismayed by them and the way they work? I have years of experience working in criminal investigation, but Martin Brunt’s revelations have shocked me to the core. If you want to know how the journalist gets the news for us, and are prepared for the truth behind the headlines, I recommend this book. It is a gripping read.”

Patricia Wiltshire, author of Traces: The memoir of a forensic scientist and criminal investigator

“Martin Brunt has a deserved reputation for excellence as a reporter – his experiences and insights will make required reading for professional and amateur criminologists.”

Gerald Seymour, bestselling author of Harry’s Game
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  • Hardback, 368 pages
  • ISBN: 9781785907784
  • 25 April 2023
  • £20.00
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  • eBook
  • ISBN: 9781785907791
  • 25 April 2023
  • £14.99
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