Dorian And Cash From ‘Twisted Romance’ Get Their Own Series: ‘Leather And Lace’ Reviewed

by Rachel Bellwoar

Ever fall in love with a story from an anthology, only to find out the author planned to bring those characters back for more stories – even a series of novels?

Yeah, doesn’t happen too often. It’s the beautiful and regrettable thing about anthologies. They’re usually self-contained, or at least the stories in them have to be able to standalone in case they don’t continue.

Leather and Lace first appeared in the debut issue of Twisted Romance (an anthology series from Alex de Campi that was published by Image Comics). Every issue had a piece of a prose in it. Magen Cubed’s was about a vampire named Dorian Villeneuve and a human named Cash Leroy who hunt monsters together. It’s a complete story, so there didn’t seem like much reason to expect a sequel, yet it’s not every day that you come across two characters who are so primed to have a series built around them like Dorian and Cash.

Cubed doesn’t spend much time on the logistics of what makes a vampire a vampire in her series, and it would’ve been nice to know how fast vampires heal, but she does give her characters little mannerisms that make them feel like real people. Cash’s two-finger salute for example, and the way Dorian always “peel[s] away the paper label” when he’s drinking a beer. These are the habits that people do unconsciously, without thinking, yet it’s not every writer that takes the time to include them in their work.

Rather than an entirely new story, Leather and Lace: Book One of the Southern Gothic Series is an expansion on the short story that appeared in Twisted Romance. Certain lines are the same but Cubed adds a few new characters and changes some of the plot points around. While this makes sense, since not everyone would have read Twisted Romance, it does mean there’s a lot more “will they or won’t they” in the book, on account of the book being longer.

In the short story you didn’t really know how Cash felt about Dorian, either, which added to the suspense of not knowing whether Dorian’s feelings were reciprocated. With the novel, you pretty much know what’s going to happen, which makes some of the obstacles seem frustrating because they’re not real threats.

Cubed is especially adept at changing between different characters’ points of view, and you get to learn a lot about who Cash and Dorian were before they met and started working together. The short story didn’t get into their upbrings that much, but hopefully we’ll get to meet Cash’s mom and abuela someday, because it sounds like they had a huge influence on him. Marcy is terrific as Dorian’s oldest friend and confident, and the scenes set at the karaoke bar, where Cash sings Stevie Nicks (hence the book being named after a Stevie Nicks song) are the scenes that will be forever associated with this series – the ones that, if this series ever gets adapted for television, the fans will want to see gotten right.

Leather and Lace: Book One of The Southern Gothic Series is available for pre-order now and comes out February 16th.

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