Monday, August 26, 2013
The Hardest Thing: A Dan Stagg Mystery by James Lear
Reviewer: Jon Michaelsen
Publisher: Cleis Press
Loose zippered, tough talking and violent ex-Marine Dan Stagg is a likeable character
If you have read author James Lear before, you know he is a prolific erotica writer, and you also have come to know is how effortlessly Lear can reach out, grip you buy the neck and pull you into his story before you have a chance to realize what is happening. THE HARDEST THING: A DAN STAGG MYSTERY proves no different, and if I may dare say, one helluva thrilling ride.
The novel has all the elements a good mystery, suspense/thriller should have; a hard-ass, down on his luck ex-Marine with violent tendencies robbed of a stellar twelve year career because of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”, an well-connected organized crime connection abled by dirty cops and even shadier men, an extraordinarily sexy and talented boy-toy, a bunch of ready cash…and lots of sex!!
Did I say lots of sex? THE HARDEST THING is the first Dan Stagg mystery to be released featuring the hardened ex-marine, and Lear has done a superb job developing such a damaged character readers will quickly fall for, and cheer on as he batters his way through brutal circumstances to stay alive, and keep his human “package” breathing. Only thing he didn’t count on ever again, never hoped for again was to fall in love.
But for all the loose zipper, tough talking, heavy handed bravado, Stagg is a very likeable protagonist, one that reminded this reader on more than one occasion of more mainstream hetero heroes like Lee Child’s “Jack Reacher”, Barry Eisler’s “John Rain”, or David Baldacci’s “Lee Adams”.
One thing is sure, this reader is eagerly awaiting the next Dan Stagg mystery.