The Hardest Thing: A Dan Stagg Mystery by James Lear
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Killing Is Easy. Love Is…
THE HARDEST THING
Once a major in the U.S. Army, Dan Stagg fell afoul of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. In his late 30s, tall, and muscular, Dan is prone to violence, always upholding what he views as justice. He’s offered a great deal of money to protect the young male “secretary” of a powerful real estate broker. The vain, shallow—but most of all hot—young man’s idea of protection includes sex. Dan quickly realizes something strange is going on: he’s being used as a shield for a much more sinister operation and must choose between easy money and sex or the ideals that he embodied in the Army. Why should he do the right thing—particularly when the army betrayed him? The Hardest Thing is a sexy gay mystery filled with lots of gay sexual encounters, romance, sweat, violence, and conspiracy.
The Hardest Thing is the first book I’ve read by James Lear. And I quite enjoyed it. The story’s subplots add such insightful musing, producing a richer story. As the scheme intensifies, unraveling truth from lies becomes increasingly more difficult. Especially pertaining to the puzzling pieces that encompass the young protégé/secretary Dan is hired to protect. Secondary characters, both good and bad, are essential in a good story. Lear doesn’t disappoint in this area. They are all well-defined and instrumentally placed at the right moments within the story. Frequently leading in ways just enough that have you query their motives.
From the beginning of the story the main character Dan Stagg has continued flashbacks into his past. These flashbacks are as integral to the story in as much as making Dan actions and personality perfect for the main character, seamlessly adding a twofold depth to his character--in so much that it binds all the forces within this story, hurling the reader toward its pinnacle finale.
When the young secretary adds sex to mix, Dan takes full advantage of what the young man offers him, over and over again. Instead of the heat burning itself out it grows to a full-out firestorm. Soon Dan can’t decipher if the feelings he has for this man are because of the explosively brute sex they share, or something more. Dan’s emotion stability is becoming more and more difficult to define the longer the two are together.
While together, the secretary divulges his past to Dan and a spiral of trepidation and conflict about this whole setup worsens. Soon an ominous series of events begin to commence, adding more fuel to Dan’s suspicions about this charade even more. When suddenly the young man disappears, Dan realizes he’s being played. The nagging question in Dan’s mind is what part the secretary ultimately played. With Dan, the last time he didn’t have a choice in the matter of his fate. This time, he’s not going out without a fight!
If you’re looking for a great mystery, with a lot of action and suspense, together with graphic and unrestrained sex, then I highly recommend you read Lear’s, The Hardest Thing!
Title: The Hardest Thing - A Dan Stagg Mystery
Author: James Lear
Release Date: August 11, 2013
Genre: GLBT (m/m)/Mystery
Publisher: Cleis Press
Rating: 4 Stars
Heat Level: III ~ Requires a Diagram: Love scenes are frequent, extremely detailed and very explicit. The storyline pushes the envelope, as do the sex scenes and may involve multiple partners, partner swapping. The story may also contain controversial subject matter not for the faint of heart.
Warning: Rape Scene