Awhile back, I mentioned to somebody that I thought it would be fun to write a kinky murder mystery, as those are the two genres I read most frequently. To my surprise, they informed me that Laura Antoniou, a well known author and speaker in the kink scene, was going to do just that. I knew I had to check out the book once it came out- and I have to say, The Killer Wore Leather was worth waiting for!
Laura Antoniou is best known for her Marketplace series- well, maybe best known by other people, because I have never read them. I’ve never read anything else she’s written, actually. However, I do know that her books have a good reputation and that she’s built up quite a following from them. I did see her give a presentation on the kink scene and she was incredibly funny, so I at least went in to reading the book with expectations of it being humorous. Thankfully, she did not disappoint!
The Killer Wore Leather is a tale of murder at a leather title contest in NYC. Nobody seems terribly broken up when Mack Steel, the current title holder, is murdered before the contest starts- which leaves a ton of suspects, all trapped in one hotel as the kinky convention unfolds around them. Detective Rebecca Feldblum, NYPD’s only openly lesbian detective, gets put on the case, and not only manages to crack it, but alters her own life in the process.
One of my favorite things about this book is that while the characters and the elements are kinky, it’s done in a way that makes this book accessible to all, kinky or vanilla. Ok, maybe not for the less open minded, but if you wanted to test the waters with somebody as far as bringing up kink, this might be a good book to recommend. Wouldn’t really out you, but could make it easier to get their opinion on the topic and presents the kink world as pretty non-threatening. I also love how while poking fun at the various segments of the kink world, Antoniou manages to never be mean spirited. All of the teasing is all in good fun, from somebody who obviously has seen it all play out in real life for a long time. Antoniou is able to give us some very human characters, many of whom will feel like people you know as you read the book. Personally, my favorite was Bitsy- and I can’t lie, her storyline made me so happy for the character! I feel like that character especially would have been under served by a different author- but she was able to shine, thanks to Antoniou.
Antoniou’s exploration of so many facets of kink culture was a double edged sword. I loved that so many faces of the community were shown, but it also means that it was a pretty long book. It didn’t drag, but it definitely could have been a bit shorter. I actually guessed the killer fairly early on, but the book being so long and with so many characters, I second guessed myself a few times- pretty rare for me when reading mysteries. I would definitely love to see Rebecca and the rest of these characters again, so I wouldn’t have minded if a few “types” were left out and explored in further books. Of course, that’s fingers crossed for more BDSM mysteries from Laura Antoniou!