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Confessions of a Fake Sheik: 'The King of the Sting' Reveals All [Hardcover]

Mazher Mahmood
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 Sep 2008

Jaw-dropping insider's revelations from the world's number one investigative journalist.

Meeting a supermodel who secretly doubles up as the world's most expensive hooker, encountering a doctor who wants to murder his mistress, coming face to face with famous celebrities dealing cocaine, or enjoying a cosy dinner with members of the Royal family.

It's all in a day's work for the world's best known investigative reporter, the News of the World's Mazher Mahmood. A Who's Who of the rich and famous have fallen prey to his disguise as the Fake Sheik.

Confessions of a Fake Sheik reveals for the first time the full story behind these amazing stories, the story of a lifetime in and out of the Arab robes - exposing corrupt officials, drug dealers, paedophiles, people traffickers and Islamic terrorists. Sometimes humorous, often frightening but always sensational, this is a gripping account of a life behind the headlines.

A long list of politicians, celebrities, officials and footballers have blamed the Fake Sheik for their downfall. He is also the scourge of the criminal world with his work having led to more than 230 convictions. A Russian mafia boss has put a £30,000 price-tag on his head.

Now in, his sensational book, the man dubbed "the King of the Sting" details his methods as well as the secret deals that led to several stories being toned down to save careers and marriages. He also exposes celebrities and politicians who until now thought they had got away with it.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; First Edition First Impression edition (1 Sep 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007288093
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007288090
  • Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 531,188 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"This is an appalling piece of journalism."
Her Majesty The Queen, referring to the "Sophiegate" exposé

"Thanks for my underpants. It's a fair cop and I suppose it's a great honour to be exposed by the most famous journalist in Britain."
James Nesbitt

“Explosive stuff'.”
Four star review in London Lite


"This is an appalling piece of journalism."

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Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars
3.4 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sheikdown 6 Jun 2010
This is a bit more then the light-weight book it might seem at first although it must also be seen in the context of the subject.

These are the tales of the News Of The World's `fake sheik' and the stings undertaken on a variety of celebs, royals and crooks. It's easy to be dismissive because of the newspaper concerned or this type of journalism but the reality is that the `fake sheik' uncovered some major stories over the years. It is amazing how many people were taken in my reporter Mazher Mahmood dressed like a sheik. Victims include Sven Goran Eriksson, Royals such as Sophie Wessex, Diana butler Paul Burrell, the directors of Newcastle football club and assorted TV stars, models and some very dodgy crooks. Told in brief chapters it is actually quite entertaining and an insight into the type of journalism but also the extreme greed of so many people.

Far more fun then it ought to be.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Mazher Mahmood was the News of the World's 'fake sheik', best known for doing stings on celebrities, catching them snorting coke, offering sex for money, or saying things that they really shouldn't have said. It also highlights his 'non-sheik' work, posing as an immigrant or a wealthy crime figure to expose criminals and paedophiles; his work has resulted in well over 200 arrests. Each chapter, for the most part, deals with two exposes - one celebrity, one non-celeb (and sometimes non-sequesters, where one incident reminds him of another). The book has a slightly annoying tendency to tell stories in a non-chronological order; there is nothing wrong with using this method, but it was a little strange emotionally discovering that his friend/minder 'Jaws' was severely disabled by a car crash, only to find him participating in the next chapter.

Mahmood clearly has a highly moral outlook and has a sincere drive to expose those who he feels have done wrong. For me, he comes across as somewhere between a hero and vry arrogant. After saving the life of a female doctor (by setting up her former-lover who was planning to have her murdered), he seems surprised that she wrote to complain to the PCC rather than to thank him. Similarly he seems surprised when Michelle Collins wrote to complain about the article regarding her abusive husband, rather than thank him for exposing her plight. I can't help but think that had he approached them before the articles were published and explained to them his concerns, and warned the female doctor that he planned to name her and have photos of her, that they would have been more positive towards him.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Buy At Your Peril! 8 July 2009
I bought this book from the pound shopand I can safely say I feel short-changed. Mazher Mahmood is quite simply a poor man's Piers Morgan. Whereas Morgan mingles with the A-list and the creme-de-la-creme of the celebrity world, Mahmood instead likes to spend his time with Z-listers like Sophie Anderton, Jodie Kidd, Paul Burrell, Faria Alam, Gillian Taylforth and Prince and Princess Michael of Kent. Although I am Asian myself, Mahmood plays too much on his background and how he is a non-white person in a world ful of white middle-class hacks. Although this is undoubtedly interesting, it does tend to get dull after the first fifty mentions. Mahmood is a bad journalist, an even worse author (I had to skip entire chapters because of the dreadful way they were written) and a pretty awful human being. He is however a very good con artist, but not a journalist.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A rare page turner !!! 13 May 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
What a character is this fellow !! The stories he relates are truly enthralling- in the Afghan hills with the Taliban, with royals on drugs, with gangsters in Albania- it's all here...... I don't know how he does it- but thankfully he does, as he's put so many truly bad people to a place where they can do no further harm........... !!! excellent stuff !!!
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10 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book is perhaps one of the most insightful, yet accessable books on journalism ever written. While many journalists write self-celebratory career reflectives that focus on their own record of sacrifice and devotion, Mazher Mahmood focuses on the fact that journalism is ultimately about people. We do get personal insights but these are lightly sprinkled with a relevancy to each story.

It is effectively a "greatest hits" compilation that deals with all of his most high profile cases including Sven, The Beckhams, Britney Spears and Sophie Anderton amongst others. However, as he explains, it isn't all glitz and Mr Mahmood has helped to nab a whole rogues gallery of crooks, including the shocking tale of the woman who tried to sell her young daughter's virginity to the highest bidder. In fact, to date, over 230 criminals have been brought to justice because of his work and it is this fact that elevates this book from being not just great fun but "Exhibit A" into the importance of journalism today.

Mr Mahmood writes in a very engaging way that covers all the stings without delivering rehashed versions of the News of the World stories. He expands upon them by giving un-expected anicdotes at the point of scene with a particularly explosive insight into his expose upon chat-show legend Jerry Springer. Generally, we all know what happend, but Mr Mahmood makes the book engaging by telling the reader how it happend, why it happend and what happend next.

It all works on so many levels, it is great fun to read for celeb fans but for journos it does deliver a timely reminder that journalism is no "pen and paper" trade. The Sheik delves into this to excite and entertain with the public interest at heart. It is this attitude that has helped save lives and bring down the corrupt.
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