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.

Leake grew up in Highland Park, down the street from Sandra Bridewell, and often visited her at her home to socialize with one of her children. He began his multi-year investigation in 2007, when Bridewell was arrested (and later pled guilty) for aggravated identity theft. Assuming the guise of a Christian missionary, she ingratiated herself with an elderly lady in Southport, North Carolina (near Cape Fear) to steal the unsuspecting victim’s identity and to plunder her financial assets. 
Leake visited Bridewell in pretrial detention and began documenting her life and wanderings. NBC News Dateline ("Tangled Web") and A&E (“The Black Widow: A Web of Suspicion”) produced documentaries on Sandra’s story at the time of her 2007 arrest, but these productions raised more questions than they answered.
With the assistance of former Los Angeles County criminalist Lynne Herold and former FBI forensic psychologist, Gregg McCrary, Leake analyzed the three gunshot deaths reported in the 1987 D Magazine feature. The Meaning of Malice tells the full story of the former Dallas socialite long suspected of being a Black Widow serial killer.