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“The Killer Wore Leather” Erotic Reading Review

"The Killer Wore Leather" Erotic Reading ReviewThe Killer Wore Leather“, a novel written by Laura Antoniou and published by Cleis Press, is a 402 page novel. A mystery novel, the entire book is set during a BDSM leather conference after one of the title-holders is mysteriously murdered. The book is paperback and average in size. Laura Antoniou is also the writer behind the best-selling “Marketplace” series, so you definitely know that you’re getting a great author with this one. There’s nothing too obviously sexual about the cover (aside from the kink reference), so while it may not be work-appropriate, you could get away with reading it in public places.

Here’s the official description for the book:

“In Manhattan’s Grand Sterling Hotel, home of the annual Mr. and Ms. Global Leather contest, last year’s hunky but haughty winner lies dead on the floor of his suite, mysteriously wearing only a pair of frilly, bright yellow panties. Cormac “Mack” Steel made a lot of enemies during 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 from all over the world at this year’s event, some of whom had very personal issues with the fallen leather world royalty.

Enter Detective Rebecca Feldblum, who must navigate a world of doms and subs, masters and mistresses, pups and trainers, leather, latex and lingerie, to discover who murdered the late Mack Steel—and hopefully do it before the weekend is over and everyone goes home.”

One thing to understand about this novel is that it’s not really an erotic novel. It’s definitely a book for adults – definitely. However, it’s not really erotic. There are some sex-type scenes, but it’s nothing that will work as masturbation material for most people. Instead, the draw about this novel is the fact that the entire novel takes place at a BDSM leather conference which leads to many adult themes including regular discussion of the BDSM lifestyle as well as fetishes.

The author did a fantastic job of portraying a BDSM conference semi-well as well. I can’t speak 100% from experience since the conference portrayed in the book was a Leather competition, but from my experience with kink conferences, the book was pretty on-par. In some instances, people were portrayed a little more dramatically than I think would be realistic, but the set-up process, the scheduling, the volunteers, and the classes made it seem like the author possibly had attended a couple conferences before choosing to write this novel.

My only complaint about the conference portrayal is that there almost seemed to be TOO much kink pushed into this conference. Some of the things that were in this conference: a Leather Pagent, Play nights, AA conferences, bar meet-ups, packs of puppy-play people, bootblackers, polyamorous people, a leather competition, alternative relationships, Old Guard, NuKink (Like the modern “Under 35” kink groups), Spiritual rooms, Kink classes, Gay/Lesbian groups, hotel-room orgies, rubber lovers, leather lovers, Gorian-types, kink-education writers, kink bloggers, and more.

Along with that, the author doesn’t seem to have too much of a negative bias towards kinky people. Some of the characters have their own prejudice going into it, but as they continue the investigation and learn more about the conference and people, you can slowly, and believably, see as the character’s personalities and demonization of kinky culture changes. Some of the characters still believe BDSM is a negative thing by the end of the book, but the villianization of kink ends, and the characters even find themselves understanding how some people could be into these fetishes. The author did an amazing job of portraying exactly how a non-kinky person would look at someone’s fetish. (“Wait. You’re polishing shoes and you’re turned on by it?”)

So how was the story? Surprisingly amazing. Along with being realistic and following the development and growth of the non-kinky people, the mystery was amazing. There were multiple suspects, and the author did a fantastic job of withholding evidence to make for a great guessing game. To be honest, I didn’t expect the killer to be the killer, but all of the evidence made sense in the end. Along with being a pretty accurate portrayal of a BDSM conference, Laura does an amazing job of crafting an immersive mystery novel complete with sex, kink, and alternative relationships.

The book was just an overall fantastic read. The book didn’t pull me in so much that I couldn’t put it down, BUT I did have the urge to finish the entire book in one day. It easily took about six hours to read the entire thing, but I really enjoyed the book. The reviews mention a lot of “funny”, but I honestly don’t agree with that. It was entertaining, but there was really no point where I was laughing. An amazing book? Definitely. A comedy? Not so much.

I also loved the inclusion of the “Zodians”. For anyone that’s ever read into or learned about “Gorians”, it’s the author’s personal take on that. That was probably the most “funny” thing about the book.

Really, if you enjoy mystery novels, want a look into the BDSM lifestyle or are just involved in BDSM yourself, I think you’d really enjoy “The Killer Wore Leather”. It’s a longer mystery novel, but it’s totally worth the time, and Antoniou did an amazing job of bringing character development in a realistic portrayal of how non-kinky people would view the conference. Plus, the entire mystery aspect was a mystery until the end. Afterwards, I closed the book completely satisfied with how the book had turned out. Thanks to Cleis Press for sending “The Killer Wore Leather” for my review.

The Erotic Reading Review is a regular column written by Kayla. This column brings you reviews over erotica, instructional, and other types of sex-related books.

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