Stephen Leather - Author

About the Author

Stephen Leather was a journalist for more than ten years on newspapers such as The Times, the Daily Mail and the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong. Before that, he 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 writing full-time in 1992. His bestsellers have been translated into more than ten languages. He has also written for television shows such as London’s Burning, The Knock and the BBC’s Murder in Mind series.

Photograph © Mark Mathers

 

Featured books by Stephen Leather

White Lies The 11th Spider Shepherd Thriller

White Lies The 11th Spider Shepherd Thriller

Author: Stephen Leather Format: Paperback Release Date: 12/02/2015

Dan 'Spider' Shepherd is used to putting his life on the line - for his friends and for his job with MI5. So when one of his former apprentices is kidnapped in the badlands of Pakistan, Shepherd doesn't hesitate to join a rescue mission. But when the plan goes horribly wrong, Shepherd ends up in the hands of al-Qaeda terrorists. His SAS training is of little help as his captors beat and torture him. Shepherd's MI5 controller Charlotte Button is determined to get her man out of harm's way, but to do that she's going to have to break all the rules. Her only hope is to bring in America's finest - the elite SEALs who carried out Operation Neptune Spear - in a do-or-die operation to rescue the captives.

eBooks of the Month
Lastnight The 5th Jack Nightingale Supernatural Thriller

Lastnight The 5th Jack Nightingale Supernatural Thriller

Author: Stephen Leather Format: Paperback Release Date: 05/06/2014

The cops aren't getting anywhere so Jack Nightingale's nemesis, Superintendent Chalmers, asks him for help. Nightingale discovers that the murdered Goths had one thing in common: a tattoo connected to the secretive Satanic child-sacrificing cult called the Order of Nine Angles. As Nightingale closes in on the killers, the tables are turned and he finds himself in the firing line, along with his friends and family. The Order will stop at nothing to protect their secrets and Nightingale realises that there is nothing he can do to protect himself. Nor can he run, for the Order has connections across the world. It leaves him with only one way to stop the carnage - and that's to take his own life ...

eBooks of the Month
True Colours

True Colours

Author: Stephen Leather Format: Paperback Release Date: 21/11/2013

The Russian oligarchs are the world's new elite. They treat the world as their plaything, travelling without borders and living lives of unimaginable luxury without fear or restraint. But when an assassin starts killing off some of the world's richest men, an oligarch with friends in high places seeks the protection of MI5. And Spider Shepherd is placed in the firing line. But while Shepherd has to save the life of a man he neither likes nor respects, he has to deal with a face from his past. The Taliban sniper who put a bullet in his shoulder turns up alive and well and living in London. And Shepherd is in no mood to forgive or forget.

eBooks of the Month
Fair Game

Fair Game

Author: Stephen Leather Format: Paperback Release Date: 24/11/2011

Kidnapping is one of the cruellest crimes - lives are put at risk for cold, hard cash. But when Somali pirates seize the crew of a yacht off the coast of Africa, they bite off more than they can chew. One of the hostages has friends in high places and Spider Shepherd is put on the case. He goes deep undercover in an audacious plan to bring an end to the pirate gang's reign of terror. But as Shepherd closes in on his quarry he realises that there's much more at stake than the lives of the hostages and that the pirates are involved in a terrorist plot that will strike at the heart of London.

eBooks of the Month
Soft Target

Soft Target

Author: Stephen Leather Format: Paperback Release Date: 23/04/2005

His last book, Hard Landing, saw undercover policeman Dan Shepherd in trouble in prison.  Now he is an assassin in a very tough and dangerous world.  The action is good, the storyline is good, at times riveting and the further developments, the quirky and personal complications, endear one to the on-going hero.  In fact, the whole thing is good.Comparison: Lee Child, Robert Crais, Harlan Coben.Similar this month: Karin Slaughter, Michael Cordy.

eBooks of the Month
Midnight

Midnight

Author: Stephen Leather Format: Ebook Release Date: 19/06/2012

Your sister is going to hell, Jack Nightingale. Somehow, variations of that line keep former police negotiator Nightingales life careening in wild, unforeseen directions. This time, it is uttered by a dead woman hanging over a staircase, her neck broken by the laundry cord she tied around it before tossing herself over the banister. But Jack and his sister have been separated since birthHow can he save someone hes never met? Nightingale goes on the hunt for the sister he never knew, but everyone he talks to about her dies horribly. Its as if someoneor somethingis determined to keep them apart. If he's going to save her, he's going to have to do what he does best: negotiate. But any negotiation with the forces of darkness comes at a terrible price, and first Jack must ask himself a question: is every soul worth saving? Sharp and intense, UK master Stephen Leathers second book in The Nightingale Trilogy is a taut, relentlessly paced thriller as terrifying and dark as midnight itself.

eBooks of the Month
First Response

First Response

Author: Stephen Leather Format: Paperback Release Date: 25/08/2016

From the bestselling author of the Spider Shepherd and Jack Nightingale series comes First Response, the utterly addictive new thriller by Stephen Leather. London is under siege. Nine men in suicide vests primed to explode hold hostages in nine different locations around the city, and are ready to die for their cause. Their mission: to force the government to release jihadist prisoners from Belmarsh Prison. Their deadline: 6 p.m. Today. But the bombers are cleanskins, terrorists with no obvious link to any group, and who do not appear on any anti-terror watch list. What has brought them together on this one day to act in this way? Mo Kamran is the Superintendent in charge of the Special Crime and Operations branch of the Met. As the disaster unfolds and the SAS, armed police, and other emergency services rush to the scenes, he is tasked with preventing the biggest terrorist outrage the capital has ever known. But nothing is what it seems. And only Kamran has the big picture. Will anyone believe him? A chillingly plausible and pulse-pounding depiction of how London might be held to ransom in a concerted terrorist attack: this is thriller writing at its very best.

eBooks of the Month

Other books by Stephen Leather

Fast Track

Fast Track

Author: Stephen Leather Format: Paperback Release Date: 06/01/2022

'Stephen Leather writes really exciting action thrillers. It's like being there yourself' CHRIS RYAN, AUTHOR OF Zero 22 'The fast-paced action scenes are expertly choreographed; the description of settings - from the luxurious bars where Ankara's gangsters gather, to Dubai's glittering skyscrapers - is brisk and richly detailed' FINANCIAL TIMES Who can you trust if you can't trust the people tasked with protecting the nation? Murderous jihadists have been crossing the English Channel, passing themselves off as asylum seekers. MI5 have been keeping them under surveillance, but what starts as a simple terrorist takedown goes badly wrong and dozens of innocent civilians are killed in the heart of London. And the screw is tightened when a bomb takes out senior members of the Secret Intelligence Service. Someone within the security services has been working to their own agenda, and only Dan 'Spider' Shepherd can identify the bad apple. His search for the rogue agent takes him to Turkey and then to Dubai, where his masters order him to carry out a breathtaking act of revenge.

Standing Alone

Standing Alone

Author: Stephen Leather Format: Paperback Release Date: 06/01/2022

What makes a good man become an assassin? A Navy SEAL has gone rogue, selling his skills to the highest bidder as a professional assassin. Ryan French no longer cares who he kills so long as the price is right. His former bosses want him taken down, but they're not prepared to get their hands dirty so they need a Brit to do the job. SAS trooper Matt Lastman Standing is a lethal killing machine with experience in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. Plus he's worked with French in the past. It's not a mission he wants, but Standing made a bad choice in his past and it has come back to haunt him. Now he's hunting French in the lawless Wild West forests of Humboldt County, where the US produces most of its legal - and illegal - cannabis. But French isn't the only predator in the wilderness - there are Mexican cartels, Russian Mafia and Hungarian gangsters - and Standing has to overcome them all to get to his target.

Nightmare

Nightmare

Author: Stephen Leather Format: Paperback Release Date: 22/10/2021

The third book in the Jack Nightingale supernatural thriller series. What goes around, comes around. Jack Nightingale learned that as a cop and discovered that it was just as true in the world of the supernatural. His life changed forever on the day he failed to stop a young girl throwing herself to her death. Ever since, he's been haunted by thoughts that he could have done more to save her. Now her cries for help are louder than ever. Is she trapped in eternal torment? Can Nightingale put things right? Or are the forces of darkness torturing and deceiving him in order to gain the ultimate prize - his soul? Nightingale will have to face down the powers of the police, south London gangs and Hell itself to find out. And evil is closer than he thinks . . .

Tall Order

Tall Order

Author: Stephen Leather Format: Paperback Release Date: 08/10/2021

He is one of the world's most ruthless terrorists, codenamed Saladin. He plans and executes devastating attacks and then, ghost-like, he disappears. Ten years ago he blew a plane out of the sky above New York - and now he's killed dozens in a London strike. But one of the latest victims is related to the acting head of MI5, who knows exactly who she wants on the case: Spider Shepherd. Dean Martin, a psychologically damaged former Navy SEAL, is the only person in the world who can identify Saladin. But Martin was killed ten years ago - wasn't he? Shepherd must find Martin and take him back to the killing fields on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. Revenge on the world's most wanted terrorist is long overdue, and Shepherd is determined to be the one to deliver it . . . ****************** Praise for Stephen Leather 'A master of the thriller genre' Irish Times 'As tough as British thrillers get . . . gripping' Irish Independent 'The sheer impetus of his story-telling is damned hard to resist' Sunday Express

Pay Off

Pay Off

Author: Stephen Leather Format: Paperback Release Date: 25/09/2021

Why does a wealthy Scottish financier set up a drugs deal with the IRA? Jeopardise his career, endanger his family and lover by tangling with the East End underworld and a ruthless mercenary? The motive is simple: revenge for a cold-blooded act of murder. His adversary is a dangerous gangland boss whose connections stretch from the Highlands to London and beyond. More than a match for a newcomer, especially when that newcomer's plans contain a fatal flaw which will be discovered only when it is much too late . . . ********* PRAISE FOR STEPHEN LEATHER 'A master of the thriller genre' Irish Times 'As tough as British thrillers get . . . gripping' Irish Independent 'The sheer impetus of his story-telling is damned hard to resist' Sunday Express

Dead Men

Dead Men

Author: Stephen Leather Format: Paperback Release Date: 24/09/2021

The fifth book in the bestselling Dan 'Spider' Shepherd series. Former SAS trooper turned undercover cop Dan Spider Shepherd knows there are no easy solutions in the war against terrorism. But when a killer starts to target pardoned IRA terrorists, Shepherd has to put his life on the line to protect his former enemies. While he is undercover in Belfast, a grief-stricken Saudi whose two sons died under torture in the name of the War on Terror is planning to avenge their deaths by striking out at two people close to Shepherd. As the Muslim assassin closes in on his prey, Shepherd realises that the only way to save lives is to become a killer himself.

The Vets

The Vets

Author: Stephen Leather Format: Paperback Release Date: 24/09/2021

Hong Kong. The British administration is preparing to hand the capitalist colony back to Communist China with the minimum of fuss. Colonel Joel Tyler, however, has other plans for the British colony - plans that involve four Vietnam War veterans and a spectacular mission making use of their unique skills. But while the vets are preparing to take the country by storm, their paymaster, Anthony Chung, puts the final touches to an audacious betrayal. The future of Hong Kong is at stake . . . ********* PRAISE FOR STEPHEN LEATHER 'A master of the thriller genre' Irish Times 'A writer at the top of his game' Sunday Express 'In the top rank of thriller writers' Jack Higgins

The Tunnel Rats

The Tunnel Rats

Author: Stephen Leather Format: Paperback Release Date: 24/09/2021

Two murders, thousands of miles apart: one in London, one in Bangkok. The bodies are brutally mutilated, an ace of spades impaled upon their chests. In Washington, a US senator receives photographs of the corpses. And realises that his past has come back to haunt him. Nick Wright is the detective trying to solve the mystery of the double killing. His hunt for a motive takes him to the Vietnam, where the American tunnel rats fought the dirtiest battle of the war against the Viet Cong. But his search places him in grave danger with a killer determined to protect the secrets of the tunnels. At whatever cost . . . ************ PRAISE FOR STEPHEN LEATHER 'A master of the thriller genre' Irish Times 'As tough as British thrillers get . . . gripping' Irish Independent 'The sheer impetus of his story-telling is damned hard to resist' Sunday Express

Takedown

Takedown

Author: Stephen Leather Format: Paperback Release Date: 17/09/2021

A heart-pounding new standalone thriller from Sunday Times bestselling author Stephen Leather. 'He has the uncanny knack of producing plots that are all too real, and this is no exception' (Daily Mail on First Response) When a British Special Forces soldier goes rogue, carrying out an attack at a US army base in Syria leading to the death of two men, ex-MI5 controller Charlotte Button is hired to work out what his plan is and to take him down before he can carry it out. Charlotte puts her best man on the case - hitman Lex Harper. It's up to Lex to assemble a crack team and get to the soldier before he carries out what could be a massive terrorist attack. But Charlotte might require Lex's help with a more personal problem too . . . As ex-MI5, Charlotte holds information on thousands of the agency's dirty operations, and keeps a store of those secrets in three flash drives hidden in separate safety deposit vaults. Now someone is taking extraordinary measures to recover the secrets through Hatton Garden-style robberies. So far two vaults have been raided, and two flash drives have gone. If the third is stolen, Charlotte's life will be in jeopardy. While it's down to Lex to prevent a potential terrorist attack on British soil, Charlotte must work out who is after her and what they want.

The Hunting

The Hunting

Author: Stephen Leather Format: Hardback Release Date: 04/02/2021

'I doubt if a more exciting and muscular book will come along this year' Peterborough Telegraph Money can't buy everything But it can buy revenge Can a doctor take lives instead of saving them? British doctor Raj Patel puts his own life on the line to treat the injured in war-torn Syria. His medical skills help casualties survive against all the odds. But Raj needs to rely on a completely different set of skills when he is taken hostage in a dangerous case of mistaken identity. Billionaire big-game hunter Jon van der Sandt is driven by revenge - his family have been killed by jihadist terrorists and he wants his vengeance up close and personal. He has hired ex Special Forces hard men to snatch the ISIS killers from the desert and transport them halfway across the world to the vast wilderness of his American estate. But they grab Raj by mistake, and once the killing begins it's too late to plead mistaken identity. To survive, he'll have to become as ruthless a killer as the man who is hunting him.

Slow Burn

Slow Burn

Author: Stephen Leather Format: Paperback Release Date: 31/12/2020

'Leather's latest full-throttle thriller could hardly be more topical . . . it hurtles off the page, grabbing the reader by the throat' Daily Mail 'This cracking Spider Shepherd thriller zips along like a sniper's bullet' The Sun Should we bring them back? There are thousands of jihadi brides in refugee camps in the Middle East. Some of them were once British before they were stripped of their citizenship. Were they brainwashed or simply naive when they set out for Syria as teenagers? And, if they were allowed to return, would they pose a threat to our country? Spider Shepherd is about to be sent on an extraordinary mission to the Syrian border by his MI5 boss. There he will have to decide which of the women he meets is still a threat, and if not, which of them has information useful to the Secret Service and can be allowed back. His are life or death decisions. But there is one bride he must take back to the UK whatever her circumstances. She is the wife of a notorious ISIS bombmaker, Salam Jaraf. Jaraf is an asylum seeker who has information on terrorist cells in Britain. But the bombmaker will only tell MI5 what he knows if his wife and son are brought to him. However, it soon becomes obvious that hostile forces are following Spider and Mrs Jaraf across Turkey. Bringing this woman back from the warzone will become one of the most dangerous missions Spider has ever undertaken.

The Runner

The Runner

Author: Stephen Leather Format: Paperback Release Date: 23/07/2020

***'Thought-provoking, high-octane chase thriller with style' - Financial Times*** ***'Leather once again delivers high-octane thrill-a-minute action that reads like a pitch for a Netflix series' - Irish Independent*** The explosive new stand-alone thriller from the author of the Spider Shepherd series Sally Page is an MI5 'footie', a junior Secret Service Agent who maintains 'legends': fake identities or footprints used by real spies. Her day consists of maintaining flats and houses where the legends allegedly live, doing online shopping, using payment, loyalty and travel cards and going on social media in their names - anything to give the impression to hostile surveillance that the legends are living, breathing individuals. One day she goes out for coffee leaving the safe house from which she and her fellow footies operate. When she comes back they have all been murdered and she barely escapes with her own life. She is on the run: but from whom she has no idea. Worse, her bosses at MI5 seem powerless to help her. To live, she will have to use all the lies and false identities she has so carefully created while discovering the truth . . .

Short Range

Short Range

Author: Stephen Leather Format: Paperback Release Date: 23/01/2020

The explosive new thriller in the Spider Shepherd series Dan 'Spider' Shepherd's career path - soldier, cop, MI5 officer - has always put a strain on his family. So he is far from happy to learn that MI5 is using teenagers as informants. Parents are being kept in the dark and Shepherd fears that the children are being exploited. As an undercover specialist, Shepherd is tasked with protecting a 15-year-old schoolboy who is being used to gather evidence against violent drug dealers and a right-wing terrorist group. But when the boy's life is threatened, Shepherd has no choice but to step in and take the heat. And while Shepherd's problems mount up on the job front, he has even greater problems closer to home. His son Liam has fallen foul of the Serbian Mafia and if Shepherd doesn't intervene, Liam will die. ****************** Praise for Stephen Leather 'A master of the thriller genre' Irish Times 'As tough as British thrillers get . . . gripping' Irish Independent 'The sheer impetus of his story-telling is damned hard to resist' Sunday Express

Last Man Standing

Last Man Standing

Author: Stephen Leather Format: Paperback Release Date: 25/07/2019

Friendships forged in the heat of combat can be stronger than anything. So when SAS trooper Matt Standing is told that the former Navy SEAL who saved his life is in trouble, he doesn't hesitate to go to his aid - even if that means flying half way around the world to Los Angeles. Navy SEAL-turned-bodyguard Bobby-Ray Barnes has been accused of killing the man he was supposed to be protecting. Three other bodyguards were also killed and now Bobby-Ray is on the run. The dead client was a Russian oligarch with connections to the Kremlin. But who wanted him dead? And if Bobby-Ray wasn't the killer, who carried out the assassination and why is Bobby-Ray being framed? Standing is the only man who can answer those questions - providing he can stay alive long enough. For that he'll need the help of an old SAS friend, Dan 'Spider' Shepherd, and a ruthless network of secret service operatives. Praise for bestselling author Stephen Leather 'The sheer impetus of his storytelling is damned hard to resist' Sunday Express 'A master of the thriller genre' Irish Times 'As tough as British thriller writers get' Irish Independent

First Response

First Response

Author: Stephen Leather Format: Hardback Release Date: 01/06/2018

First Response by Stephen Leather

Light Touch

Light Touch

Author: Stephen Leather Format: Paperback Release Date: 25/01/2018

Working undercover is all about trust - getting the target to trust you and then betraying them in order to bring them to justice. But what do you do when you believe an undercover cop has crossed the line and aligned herself with the international drugs smuggler she was supposed to be targeting? When Lisa Wilson stops passing on intelligence about her target, MI5 sends in Dan 'Spider' Shepherd to check that she's on the straight and narrow. Now the lives of two undercover operatives are on the line. *********** Praise for Stephen Leather '[Leather] has the uncanny knack of producing plots that are all too real' Daily Mail 'Let Spider draw you into his web, you won't regret it' - Sun