'Every day in the UK lives are suddenly, brutally, wickedly taken away. Victims are shot or stabbed. Less often they are strangled or suffocated or beaten to death. Rarely they are poisoned, pushed off high buildings, drowned or set alight. Then there are the many who are killed by dangerous drivers, or corporate gross negligence. There are a lot of ways you can kill someone. I know because I've seen most of them at close quarters.'
High-profile murder cases all too often grab our attention in dramatic media headlines - for every unlawful death tells a story. But, unlike most of us, a judge doesn't get to turn the page and move on. Nor does the defendant, or the family of the victim, nor the many other people who populate the court room.
And yet, each of us has a vested interest in what happens there. And while most people have only the sketchiest idea of what happens inside a Crown Court, any one of us could end up in the witness-box or even in the dock.
With breath-taking skill and deep compassion, the author describes how cases unfold and illustrates exactly what it's like to be a murder trial judge and a witness to human good and bad. Sometimes very bad.
The fracture lines that run through our society are becoming harder and harder to ignore. From a unique vantage point, the author warns that we do so at our peril.