25 September 1956 |
Manchester, Lancashire, England
|Education||BSc in biochemistry|
|Alma mater||Bath University|
|Known for||Thriller books: Dan Shepherd Mystery and Nightingale Series|
Stephen Leather (born 1956) is a British thriller author whose works are published by Hodder & Stoughton. He has written for television shows such as London's Burning, The Knock, and the BBC's Murder in Mind series. He is one of the top selling Amazon Kindle authors, the second bestselling UK author worldwide on Kindle in 2011.
Leather was employed as a biochemist for ICI, shovelled limestone in a quarry, worked as a baker, a petrol pump attendant, a barman, and worked for the Inland Revenue. He began his writing career as a journalist, working for newspapers such the Glasgow Herald, Daily Mirror, The Times, Daily Mail, and the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong.
Leather began writing when he was in college; however, he "never managed to get beyond a few pages," and did not begin writing full-time until he had worked as a journalist for more than ten years.
His first novel, Pay Off, was written while he was still employed at The Daily Mirror. It was published from the "slush pile" at HarperCollins. The novel is a thriller about a merchant banker who takes revenge on two gangsters who killed his father. The book is set in Scotland, where Leather worked for five years on The Glasgow Herald as a business writer.
His second novel, The Fireman, was written while he was working as the business editor of the South China Morning Post. In The Fireman, a British tabloid journalist travels to Hong Kong to discover why his sister committed suicide. Both novels, and his third, Hungry Ghost, were published by HarperCollins.
Leather wrote his fourth novel, The Chinaman, while working as night news editor on the business desk of The Times in London. At the time, the Provisional Irish Republican Army's bombing campaign was at its height, and in The Chinaman, a Vietnamese man loses his family in an attack loosely based on the bombing of the Harrods department store in London. Having been turned away by the authorities, the man, a former Viet Cong assassin, travels to Ireland and hunts down the men responsible.
Leather's novels frequently include themes of crime, imprisonment, military service, and terrorism. Settings are typically London and the Far East. Leather writes different series in slightly different genres. The main character of one series, Dan 'Spider' Shepherd, is a former Special Air Service soldier who becomes an undercover cop. Another series, "Jack Nightingale", is about a former police negotiator who becomes a private investigator; this supernatural detective series is also published by Hodder & Stoughton and includes the books Nightfall, Midnight, Nightmare, Nightshade and Lastnight.
Leather has written screenplays for London's Burning, The Knock, and the BBC's Murder in Mind series. Two of his novels, The Stretch and The Bombmaker, were screened for made for TV movies and filmed for Sky Television. The Stretch starred Leslie Grantham and Anita Dobson, two popular soap opera stars from the U.K.
Amazon Kindle releases
Leather became successful in the Amazon Kindle market in 2010. Amazon UK opened an eBook store that year. As reported in The Guardian, Leather anticipated that people buying eBooks would be seeking bargains, and he priced his books at the minimum price for independent writers in order to get his books into the top ten. He then marketed the books on various forums online.
Early in 2011, Leather's books The Basement, Hard Landing, and the vampire novella Once Bitten occupied the top three places in the UK Kindle bestseller list, a feat matched only by Stieg Larsson with his The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo trilogy. That same year, Leather was the second bestselling UK author on the Kindle worldwide, beaten only by Lee Child.
Awards and recognition
In 2002, Leather's book Tango One was nominated for the inaugural CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger, awarded by the Crime Writers' Association. His book Hard Landing was nominated for the award in 2004.
His book Cold Kill was nominated for Best Novel in 2007 by International Thriller Writers Inc. In 2011, Leather sold over 500,000 eBooks and was voted by The Bookseller magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the UK publishing world.
2012 Harrogate Crime Writing Festival
On 5 August 2012, journalist Nick Cohen wrote in The Observer that Leather had created phony Twitter accounts in the name of another writer, and used those accounts to praise Leather's own books. Cohen quoted Leather's response to a question, as a panelist, at the Harrogate Crime Writing Festival, which was recorded for BBC Radio 4:
"As soon as my book is out I'm on Facebook and Twitter several times a day talking about it. I'll go on to several forums, the well-known forums, and post there under my name and under various other names and various other characters. You build up this whole network of characters who talk about your books and sometimes have conversations with yourself."
Leather's comment was widely reported, and, on 3 September 2012, forty nine other British authors, including Ian Rankin, Lee Child, Val McDermid, Mark Billingham and Stuart MacBride, issued a group statement in which they 'unreservedly condemn' the use of sock puppets, or paid reviews. The statement mentioned Leather, and also R. J. Ellory and John Locke as 'three cases of abuse we know about'. The Crime Writers' Association also condemned the use of 'fake identities on blogs, Twitter or Amazon' by authors.
|Publication year||Title||Original publisher||ISBN||Notes|
|2014||White Lies (A Dan Shepherd Mystery)||Hodder & Stoughton||ISBN 978-1444736588||Hardcover (2014), and eBook (2014)|
|2014||Lastnight (Nightingale Series)||Hodder & Stoughton||ISBN 1444742655||Hardcover (2014), and eBook (2014)|
|2013||Nightshade (Nightingale Series)||Hodder & Stoughton||ISBN 9781444740684||Hardcover (2013), Paperback (2013), Audio Book (2013), and eBook (2013)|
|2013||True Colours (A Dan Shepherd Mystery)||Hodder & Stoughton|
|2013||False Friends (A Dan Shepherd Mystery)||Hodder & Stoughton||ISBN 1444736779|
|2012||Nightmare (Nightingale Series)||Hodder & Stoughton||ISBN 1455866792||Hardcover (2012), Paperback (2012), Audio Book (2012), and eBook (2012)|
|2012||Short Fuses (Four free short stories)||Three Elephants||Available via eBook only|
|2011||Fair Game (A Dan Shepherd Mystery)||Hodder & Stoughton||ISBN 0340924969||Hardcover (2012), Paperback (2012), Audio Book (2011), and eBook (2012)|
|2011||Midnight (Nightingale Series)||Hodder & Stoughton||ISBN 1444700669||Hardcover (2011), Paperback (2012), Audio Book(2012), and eBook (2012)|
|2011||Crime Scene Singapore: The Best of Singapore Crime Fiction||Monsoon Books||ISBN 9810854374||Paperback (2011) and eBook (2012)|
|2011||The Basement||Amazon Encore||ISBN 1612181481||Paperback (2011), Audio Book (2012), and eBook (2011)|
|2011||Once Bitten||Amazon Encore||ISBN 1455871702||Paperback (2011), Audio Book (2012), and eBook (2011)|
|2011||Bangkok Bob and The Missing Mormon||Monsoon Books||ISBN 9810877765||Paperback (2011) and eBook (2010)|
|2010||Rough Justice (A Dan Shepherd Mystery)||Hodder & Stoughton||ISBN 0340924934||Hardcover (2010), Paperback (2010), Audio Book (2010), and eBook (2010)|
|2010||El terrorista (Books4pocket Narrativa) (Spanish edition)||Urano||ISBN 8492801409||Available in paperback only|
|2010||Nightfall (First in Nightingale series)||Isis Large Print||ISBN 1612182291||Hardcover, Paperback, Audio Book, and eBook (2012)|
|2010||Dreamer's Cat: A Sci-Fi Murder Mystery with a Killer Twist||Three Elephants||ASIN B00486U6VU||eBook|
|2010||Furia en la sangre (Spanish edition)||Urano||ISBN 8489367779||eBook|
|2010||Infiltrado (Books4pocket Narrativa) (Spanish edition)||Urano||ISBN 8492516992||eBook – Spanish version of Soft Target|
|2009||Live Fire (A Dan Shepherd Mystery)||Hodder & Stoughton||ISBN 0340921730||Hardcover (2009), Paperback (2010), Audio Book (2009), and eBook (2009)|
|2008||Dead Men (A Dan Shepherd Mystery)||Hodder & Stoughton||ISBN 0340921706||Hardcover (2008), Paperback (2008), Audio Book (2008), and eBook (2008)|
|2007||Hot Blood (A Dan Shepherd Mystery)||Hodder & Stoughton||ISBN 0340921692||Available in paperback and eBook|
|2006||Cold Kill (A Dan Shepherd Mystery)||Hodder & Stoughton||ISBN 0340834102||Hardcover, Paperback, Audio Book, and eBook|
|2005||Private Dancer||Three Elephants||ISBN 9810539169||Paperback and eBook edition Available in English and German.|
|2005||Soft Target (A Dan Shepherd Mystery)||Hodder & Stoughton||ISBN 0340834072||Hardcover (2005), Paperback (2005), Audio Book (2005), and eBook (2008)|
|2004||The Tunnel Rats||Ulverscroft||ISBN 0753170655||Hardcover (2004), Paperback (2006, Audio Book (2009), and eBook (2009)|
|2004||Hard Landing (A Dan Shepherd Mystery)||Hodder & Stoughton||ISBN 0340734116||Available in Hardcover, Paperback, Audio Book, and eBook|
|2003||The Eyewitness||Hodder & Stoughton||ISBN 034082400X||Hardcover (2003), Paperback (2003), Audio Book (2004), and eBook (2008)|
|2002||Tango One (Stephen Leather Thrillers)||Hodder & Stoughton||ISBN 0340770341||Hardcover (2002), Paperback (2006), Audio Book (2004), and eBook (2009)|
|2000||The Stretch (Stephen Leather Thrillers)||Hodder & Stoughton||ISBN 0340770325||Hardcover (2000), Paperback (2001), Audio Book (2001), and eBook (2009)|
|1999||The Bombmaker||Hodder & Stoughton||ISBN 0340689552||Hardcover (1999), Paperback (2005), Audio Book (2003), and eBook (2009)|
|1997||The Solitary Man||Ulverscroft||ISBN 0340628375||Hardcover (2004), Paperback (1997), and Audio Book (2010)|
|1996||The Double Tap||Hodder & Stoughton||ISBN 0753175002||Hardcover (1996), Paperback (1997), and Audio Book (2006)|
|1995||The Birthday Girl||Hodder & Stoughton||ISBN 0340632364||Hardcover (1995), Paperback (2006), Audio Book (2007), and eBook|
|1995||The Long Shot (Stephen Leather Thrillers)||Hodder & Stoughton||ISBN 0340632372||Published in eBook format in 2009|
|1993||The Vets||Pocket Books||ISBN 0671743031||Hardcover (1993), Paperback (1994), and eBook (2004)|
|1992||The Chinaman (Stephen Leather Thrillers)||Pocket Books||ISBN 0671743015||Hardcover (1992), Paperback (1992), Audio Book (2007), and eBook (2008)|
|1991||Hungry Ghost||HarperCollins||ISBN 0002236370||Available in Hardcover (1991), Paperback (2008), Audio Book (2008), and eBook (2008)|
|1990||The Fireman||St. Martin's Press||ISBN 0312038313||Hardcover (1990), Paperback (1996), Audio Book (2011), and eBook (2008)|
|1988||Pay Off||St Martins Press||ISBN 0312014872||Hardcover (1988), Paperback (2002), Audio Book (2011), and eBook (2009)|
|2001–2003||Murder in Mind||Wrote two of the first series episode (2001) and two episodes of the second series (2002). Also wrote an episode for the 2003 series.|
|2000||The Bombmaker||Made for TV movie based on the book written by Leather|
|2000||The Knock (Series 5)||Episode 2. 90-minute special|
|2000||The Stretch||Made for TV movie based on the book written by Leather. Movie created, written, and produced by Leather|
|1999||London's Burning||Episode 9 & 10. Screened March 2000|
|1998||The Knock (Series 4)||Episode 4, 5, and 6. Screened in 1999|
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- "THE CWA's 2004 Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award". Crime Writer's Association. Retrieved 13 August 2012.
- "ITW Thriller Award nominees and winners.". Thriller Writers. Retrieved 13 August 2012.
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- "The e-book debate - threat or opportunity?". Front Row (BBC Radio 4). 2012-08-29. Retrieved 2013-11-03.
(Quote, in response to audience question, at around 26.53)
- Kerridge, Jake (2012-08-06). "A crime author, at the festival, with a kindle". The Telegraph (London). Retrieved 2013-11-03.
- Kerridge, Jake (2012-09-04). "Are RJ Ellory's faked reviews the tip of the iceberg?". The Telegraph (London). Retrieved 2013-11-03.
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- Vinjamuri, David (12 September 2012). "Do Consumer Reviews Have A Future? Why Amazon's Sock Puppet Scandal Is Bigger Than It Appears". Forbes. Retrieved 2012-12-05.
- Flood, Alison (2012-09-03). "Sock puppetry and fake reviews: publish and be damned". The Guardian. Retrieved 2013-11-03.
- Miller, Laura (2013-01-01). "Talking with Daniel Mendelsohn about the year in literary criticism". Salon. Retrieved 2013-11-03.
- Hough, Andrew (2012-09-03). "RJ Ellory: fake book reviews are rife on internet, authors warn". The Telegraph (London). Retrieved 2013-11-03.
- Hayes, Steve (2012-09-04). "Leading writers condemn fake online reviews". Digital Journal. Retrieved 2013-11-03.
- Page, Benedicte (2012-09-03). "Condemnation grows for sock puppet reviews". The Bookseller. Retrieved 2013-11-03.
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