"During my third year at university I'd worked as a barman, and one evening had fallen into conversation with a drunken journalist. He made his job sound so much fun that I decided there and then that I was going to be a writer."

I'm sure all of us at E2 have had a similar, romantic epiphany that led us to where we are, but Stephen Leather differs in that he banked his whole career on a friend's slurred ramblings. And he hit payoff, with the practically patented genre of the cookie-cutter political / crime thriller, where plot throws all feasibility out the window and defers to deus ex machina and where character relations and development have all the depth and appeal of a sheet of cardboard.

But unlike Robert Ludlum, Stephen Leather has the consideration to make his books entertaining. Covering plot topics as diverse from the IRA to Chinese drug lords (usually with a secret U.S. conspiracy tucked away in the background) a Stephen Leather novel engages the reader to a surprising extent, as long as the reader is able and willing to dive through plot holes the size of the sun without serious question.

No biographical information is supplied. You don't need to know anything about the man besides his name and how good his books are. His name is Stephen Leather. He writes awesome books. That's just how kick-ass he is, if you couldn't already tell from the opening quote. He's British, as far as I know, and I'm not sure if any of his works are available outside of the U.K. Go on amazon.co.uk and see what you can 'rummage up' in terms of some discount paperbacks. Yes. It's worth it. Really.

Here's a list of Mr. Leather's novels to date:

The Vets (1994)
Long Shot (1995)
The Birthday Girl (1996)
Hungry Ghost (1996)
The Fireman (1996)
The Solitary Man (1997)
Pay Off (1997)
The Tunnel Rats (1998)
The Stretch (2000)
Tango One (2002)
The Eyewitness (2003)
Hard Landing (2004)
The Double Tap (2004)
The Chinaman (2004)
The Bombmaker (available 2005)

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