This is the second mystery in recent years to be set in the leather community, following the 2011 work by Chicago-area writer Mark Zubro, Black and Blue and Pretty Dead Too (MLR Press). Where Zubro’s work places his established characters of openly gay Chicago detective Paul Turner and his pun-infected straight partner Buck Fenwick in a killing at a major leather event, The Killer Wore Leather is an expansion of author Laura Antoniou’s skill with short stories into the framework of a satirical crime novel.
Antoniou, well known for her collections of erotic fiction and nonfiction writing on leather, most recently as a contributor to the anthology Fifty Writers on Fifty Shades of Grey (Perseus, 2012), sets her tale in the context of the weekend of “ Mr. Global Leather “ (modeled on the International Mr. Leather contest) and draws upon her own extensive familiarity with the kinky community in populating her array of suspects. People unfamiliar with this subculture can identify with the character of a mainstream news reporter who is assigned to cover the event and winds up coping with both alternative culture shock and the stresses of following an ongoing murder investigation.
The plot is fast-paced, the characters engagingly realized, and the book deftly spiced with dry humor that makes the reader both laugh and think for a moment about the point being made. The accurate information provided on the standards of behavior and the consensual nature of kink/BDSM for both gay and heterosexual practitioners make this novel a distinctive addition to any LGBT collection.
Reviewer: Robert Ridinger
Northern Illinois University