Author John Leake at the Northern Light Convention 2023

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About John Leake
John Leake studied history and philosophy with Sir Roger Scruton at Boston University. He then went to Vienna, Austria on a graduate school scholarship and ended up living in the city for over a decade, working as a freelance writer and translator.
His first book, Entering Hades: The Double Life of a Serial Killer (Sarah Crichton Books, FSG) was a New York Times Sunday Book Review “Editors’ Choice,” a Men’s Vogue “Best Book of 2007,” and the inspiration of The Infernal Comedy, starring John Malkovich.
His second book, Cold a Long Time: An Alpine Mystery, was winner of the 2012 Independent Publisher Award. The German translation, Eiskalter Tod, published by the Residenz Verlag was a bestseller in Austria. His investigative work for the Jack Unterweger, Duncan MacPherson, and Angelika Foeger stories has been the subject of numerous television documentaries produced by A&E Biography, Discovery, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s “Fifth Estate,” and the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation’s “Am Schauplatz Gericht.
In March 2020, when SARS-CoV-2 started to spread in the United States, he perceived that the pandemic response was illogical at best, and possibly criminal. He found it especially suspicious how quickly public health officials dismissed repurposed medications such as hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin. In November of 2020, he watched a video of Dr. Peter McCullough’s U.S. Senate testimony about early treatment. He sensed from this performance that Dr. McCullough was likely to lead the way in developing a more rational, honest, and humane response to the crisis. He made contact with McCullough in Dallas, Texas, where both authors live, and together they wrote "The Courage to Face COVID-19."

The Vienna Woods Killer
John Leake
In 1991, four women disappeared from Vienna’s red-light district, their bodies found later in the Vienna Woods. In the ensuing media frenzy, one reporter – the flamboyant writer and freelance journalist Jack Unterweger – distinguished himself for his hard-hitting interviews with the Chief of Police and Vienna’s prostitutes. Despite months of investigation, the police failed to find a suspect. Then they considered a theory that at first seemed too far-fetched: the ‘Vienna Woods Killer’ was Jack Unterweger himself. But was he really the killer? The dapper writer was not only a literary celebrity, but also Austria’s greatest example of criminal rehabilitation.Sixteen years earlier he had murdered a girl, but in prison had discovered literature and been remarkably transformed. His children’s stories were read on national radio, and his acclaimed novel Purgatory was made into a film. The Austrian establishment campaigned for his freedom, and in 1990 he was released amid a blaze of publicity. In search of proof, Austrian and American investigators traced Unterweger’s movements in Europe and southern California, where women had been murdered in a similar way. Meanwhile, the lead investigator looked for clues in the suspect’s novels, plays and diaries, as well as in the disturbing secrets of his mysterious past. With privileged access to Unterweger’s diaries and the cooperation of those who knew him well, John Leake has written a penetrating book about history’s only recorded example of a transatlantic serial killer – described by the FBI as ‘a uniquely high-functioning psychopath’.

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