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On The Table Read Magazine, “the best book magazine in the UK“, in Shadowside by Neil Root, 15 year old inmate Dorothy has disappeared from a 1930’s asylum, and Fleet Street hack Harry Rose feels compelled to find her.


One of the UK’s pre-eminent true crime writers Neil Root brings into play all that he knows about the machinations of the criminal mind for his debut novel, Shadowside. This journalist and author’s first foray into the world of fiction is nothing short of a literary masterpiece.

Transporting readers back almost ninety years and leaving his natural habitat of London, Fleet Street journalist Harry Rose takes centre stage as arrives at the Sunnyside asylum on the south coast in search of a missing girl, who has vanished without trace…

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Both professionally and personally, Rose feels compelled to find out what has happened to 15 year old Sunnyside inmate Dorothy. This task is made all the more tricky as Harry (and readers) are taken deep into an underworld of miscreants and manipulators, all based out of this seemingly very usual (and very dull) 1930’s seaside town. Quickly, Harry becomes enmeshed in the tentacles of mystery within a dangerous world called Shadowside.

Some stories need to be told…But will Rose find the girl and live to tell the story?

Whilst delivering a second-to-none mystery, Shadowside’s trump card has to be Neil Root’s encyclopaedic knowledge and passion for crime history. Using all that he knows to inform and illuminate his storytelling (including details of some historical true crimes), his plot retains a plausibility and authenticity rarely seen in the legion of thrillers that are published annually.

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Neil Root

Born in London in 1971, Neil Root is known for his meticulous research, nuanced writing, and ability to delve into the psychology of criminals and victims alike.

Root’s fascination extends beyond just the gruesome details of crimes. He delves into the social and historical contexts surrounding them, examining the motivations of both perpetrators and victims. This holistic approach brings depth and understanding to his narratives, avoiding the pitfalls of exploitative storytelling.

He writes true crime, literary criticism and fiction. He is also a journalist and writes feature and news articles for national newspapers, magazines and websites and is a documentary contributor. Two of his books have been longlisted for the CWA Gold Dagger for Non-Fiction. His first novel Shadowside was published in 2023.

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