Saturday, March 23, 2013
Review: The Killer Wore Leather: An S/M Mystery
The Killer Wore Leather: An S/M Mystery by Laura Antoniou
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The Killer Wore Leather is a fantastic mystery set at a kink convention. Having been to several of those myself, I very much appreciated Antoniou's keen observation of typical characters.
As others have said, this book is quite funny. (In fact, my first encounter with it was at a reading Antoniou did at a kink convention, where she had the audience howling and weeping as she laid chapter one on us).
On top of being funny, it's a page-turner, and it's poignant.
I don't read many mysteries, so I can't speak much to the conventions of that genre. What I do know is that Antoniou does a great job raising both short-term and long-term questions that pulled me through the book. Of course, I wanted to know the Big Answer to the main murder, but at any given time, I wondered how X person would react to Y question or if A and B would ever discuss this particular thing, or if C and D would eventually sleep together.
In many books, I'm interested only by certain subplots -- in The Killer Wore Leather, I cared about everything. I loved every viewpoint, whether of the reporter new to the world of BDSM, the self-absorbed Mistress Ravenfyre, or the world-weary lesbian detective. Each character is well-drawn, fully-realized, and very individual. No one is completely wrong or completely right, which is refreshing and the sign of a very good author. Even characters I was inclined to despise turned out to have their saving graces.
There are some very sexy scenes, and each is very individual to the characters and demonstrates an understanding of the heart of the kink in question. My favorite example is the eroticism with which Antoniou writes about boot blacks -- which was funny but also quite hot.
This leads me to the point about poignancy. Comedy can often have a deep side when it's realistic enough. There were plenty of moments in this book that left me genuinely sad or satisfied. Antoniou hits the nail on the head about many things that weary me about the kink community, but she does it with the love and respect that only an insider can have, and she doesn't neglect to show its bright spots, too.
I couldn't recommend this book enough.
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