A BJ Review: The Hardest Thing: A Dan Stagg Mystery by James Lear


Rating:  4.5 stars out of 5

Killing is easy. Love is… The Hardest Thing

The Hardest Thing coverDan Stagg, formerly Major Dan Stagg in the military, was forced out of the Crops when he lost his partner Will to a sniper in Afghanistan and in his grief violated the DADT system in place at the time. Now, having recently lost his job as a bouncer at club, he’s ripe for the picking when offered a lot of money to get a sexy young male “secretary” safely out of town and provide him protection. But Dan quickly comes to realize that something is fishy and soon things begin to go very wrong.

This isn’t flowery prose or whitewashing. This author puts you right inside this hardened former military man’s head, and he pulls no punches. Its raw, gritty, and lots of messy sex. Lots. But don’t let that fool you. This book is in no way light on story. There’s a plot here with plenty of twists and turns. It’s humorous at times and rip-you-heart-out sad at others.

Here’s the thing… I toyed with giving this less stars for a brief minute because normally, I don’t enjoy books in which there’s detailed sex happening being the MCs and other people. Usually that comes across to me as cheating and often prompts me to put the book aside. I never once considered doing that here. I can’t say I enjoyed reading those parts, but the author did make me understand. These are both broken guys who are a product of what they’ve been taught and the lives they’ve led.

Just when I thought I’d gotten a handle on them and on how the story was going to play out, I realize I’m wrong. There are twists right up to the end, folks. Which is why I’m not revealing too much of the story in this review. I will say that the end had me in tears. Because yeah, sometimes love is the hardest thing. While I didn’t quite understand exactly why Dan loved Jodi, aside from the sex, I did completely believe that he loved him. Sometimes the heart just loves whom it loves. I will be eager to read the next installment in this series.

Cover Artist: ?I like the cover in that it’s gritty and urban, giving a good clue of contents. But when I read that Dan Stagg is actually bald, I felt a bit unhappy at the cover model being so unlike the character. (Note if anyone knows who the artists is please send us the name so we can credit them.)

Sales Links for eBook and paperback:   Cleis Press       Amazon    Buy It Here
Book Details:

paperback, 255 pages –
Published November 14th 2014 by Cleis Press (first published January 1st 2013)
ISBN 1306434912 (ISBN13: 9781306434911)
seriesDan Stagg Mystery #1

Note:  James Lear is the nom de plume of prolific and acclaimed novelist, Rupert Smith. He lives in London and is the 2008 Winner of Erotic Awards “Best Writer”.