Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Thriller Writer Stephen Leather Is at It Again

Stephen Leather, the man who believes in winning at
any cost - ethics be damned.
British thriller writer Stephen Leather has stepped in it again.  Leather was first exposed as a prolific "sock puppet" way back in 2012 when Jeremy Duns broke the news via his Twitter account. In Leather's case, being publicly shamed for his disgraceful behavior does not seem to have had the desired effect.  According to this article from The Guardian, Leather simply took his behavior further underground like the worm he apparently is.
Over the past week, the authors Steve Mosby and Jeremy Duns have each alleged that Leather is behind websites set up to attack them. On 4 January, Mosby blogged about the launch of the site fuckstevemosby.com, which featured an exhaustive collection of the times he swore online. Mosby claims that the site was set up by Leather. Duns, the author of the Paul Dark spy novels, then blogged a lengthy analysis of the reasons why he believes Leather is behind a series of sites abusing him – including the claim that the recently established site fuckjeremyduns.com briefly redirected to Leather’s own site about his character Spider Shepherd.
Leather did not respond to a request for comment from the Guardian, but the publisher Hachette said it has “advised him not to say anything to anyone at the moment”. In a statement Hachette said it would “do everything we can to put an end to this very unpleasant matter immediately” and that it “wholeheartedly condemns harassment and intimidation of any kind.” 

Leather is not the only author guilty of sockpuppetry but he takes it to an extreme by trying to damage the competition the way he does. Using fake identities to heap false praise on one's own work is bad enough, but using similar identities to directly trash the work and reputations of the competition is much, much worse.  Frankly, I have never read Stephen Leather and the chances of that ever happening have just gone from slim to none.

Here's a link to a September 4, 2012 post that I wrote when this story broke the first time around.  At that time, the chief culprit appeared to be writer R. J. Elroy, but Stephen Leather was also said to have been guilty of the same despicable practice.

Might I suggest that you read Steve Mosby and Jeremy Duns, Leather's two targets, rather than Leather?

Jeremy Duns

Steve Mosby


  1. Thanks for the eye-opening warning. I don't know that the author would have been in my "must read" stack up until now, but I know that he will never be considered even if publishers/marketers send free ARCs. He sounds like an unpleasant piece of work, and you've provided a valuable service with you posting. Again, thanks!

  2. Tim, hard to believe he's been caught doing this same kind of thing twice in less than three years...slow learner. Sad thing is, he is said to be a pretty good writer by his peers. Apparently, that's not enough and he wants to slant the playing field in his favor.