Author: Laura Antoniou
Reviewer: Danny Tyran
Publisher: Cleis Press
Mr. Global Leather has been murdered!
In the Grand Sterling Hotel of Midtown Manhattan, home of the huge annual leather/BDSM/fetish ball and contest, Mr. & Ms. Global Leather, last year’s male winner lies dead on the floor of his suite, wearing only very frilly, bright yellow panties. Cormac “Mack” Steel made a lot of enemies in his year wearing the studded leather sash, not the least being his co-winner Mistress Ravenfyre. But she is not alone � there are over three thousand attendees at this year’s fetish-festooned event from all over the world, some of whom might have had some very personal issues with the corpse.
Enter Detective Rebecca Feldblum of the Midtown East Precinct. Assigned to this doozy of a case because, as one of NYC’s only out lesbian detectives, her Lieutenant seems to believe these are “her people.” Shocked, amazed and alternately puzzled and amused, Detective Feldblum must navigate a world of doms and subs, masters and mistresses, pups and trainers, leather, latex and lingerie, and discover who murdered the late Mack Steel � and hopefully do it before the weekend is over and everyone goes home. In the process, she will discover more about the sexual underworld than she ever really wanted to know, and more about her own past than she could have ever imagined.
Written in the classic spirit of Sharyn McCrumb’s Bimbos of the Death Sun, The Killer Wore Leather is both an engaging mystery and a humorous glimpse into the world of modern, pansexual international leather/BDSM contests and conferences.
Only Laura Antoniou could write The Killer Wore Leather. In addition to being the author of the best-selling Marketplace series of erotic novels, she has over 20 years of experience teaching, speaking to and occasionally skewering the alt-sex communities around the world. With a wicked sense of humor, insider information and a twisted imagination, she crafts a spicy mélange of mystery and mayhem!
The Killer Wore Leather is a deliciously tongue-in-cheek murder mystery set at a leather convention, allowing readers into this private world of personalities and peccadiloes. The kinkiest game of clue ever with a sex toy as the murder weapon and every leather man and woman lacks an alibi. Cleverly crafted and highly humorous, Antoniou is at her wicked best in this pageturning fetish fest.
Obviously, Laura knows her subject; not so much the writing of a whodunit (this is a debut for her in this genre) as what happens at a Mr./Ms. Leather and Blackboot contest. She introduces us to the colorful BDSM fauna with a lot of humor.
I think the Zodians are in reality the Goreans: people who made the World of Gor (John Norman) their way of life.
I’m not sure what to think about the fact that the murdered guy, portrayed as an unpalatable, not to say totally unpleasant individual, was good for this story. As everyone hates him, we can suppose that any attendee or participant could be his murderer; and the attendance at this event is varied and numerous. Which prevents us from pointing the finger with certainty at a possible culprit; which is not a bad thing in a crime novel. But, on the other hand, the fact that this man was so despicable drives the readers not to pity the victim for what happened to him. Which is not necessarily a good thing since you don’t have as much to heart that the detectives discover the culprit that if you had liked at least a little the victim.
The only other not so positive comment is that while the description of the almost too many characters (it’s a convention, remember?) is both realistic and funny ─ one recognizes some of our acquaintances 😉 ─, the presentation of the MCs (the 2 detectives) seem to me a little too superficial for them to become dear to the readers. Having better known Rebecca, I could have felt more invested in her investigation and I’d have hoped to see her have a love affair with her ex.
The character I loved most was the murderer.
So, overall, this novel is very interesting and fun, especially for those who have already participated in BDSM conventions; but even the “outsiders” will be able to imagine themselves attending such an event. They’ll smile and even laugh several times since Laura presents the convention from outsiders’ point of view.