This very carnal read has a nice noir tone but one should definitely be aware that it is a very spicy and gritty read. I liked the author’s writing style but was a bit disturbed by the number of inconsistencies in the story itself and the lack of fidelity displayed by the main characters. It is a compelling read but there are many unanswered questions about the underlying motives for several characters’ actions, particularly the liaison who is responsible for introducing the two main characters. There are poignant moments and a superficial look at Dan’s motivations through flashbacks but the overall story is a bit superficial and it is a little difficult to believe the intensity of the connection formed between the two men, especially given their actions. Dan’s sizzling encounter with the partner he has previously ignored in the gym and his abrupt role reversal seems at odds with his behavior up to that point. This is an entertaining and sexy story but one definitely has to be willing to suspend disbelief and just enjoy the antics of these lusty characters.
“The Hardest Thing” by James Lear is an erotic ‘Dan Stagg’ m/m mystery and features a retired Marine who is still recovering from the death of his lover which indirectly resulted in him losing his position in the military. Mourning and aimless, he eventually defaults into a job which requires that he act as a bodyguard for an attractive younger man, Stirling McMahon, whom he is supposed to transport to New Hampshire. Their mutual lust seems to be morphing into a deeper connection, if only they can get through the lies and dangers that they face together and apart. There are plenty of temptations that they also must come to terms with while they decide what they truly mean to each other, if they both live long enough to work out the boundaries of their relationship.
Killing is easy. Love is... The Hardest Thing
James Lear does Lee Child
Dan Stagg is an ex-military man who fell foul of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. Dan is in his late 30s, tall, muscular, balding, dark hair (what’s left of it). He had a successful career with the US Marines and rose to the rank of Major, with active service in the first Gulf War, Kosovo and Afghanistan. He received extensive combat training and, later in his career, trained others. In 2008 he had a relationship with a younger male soldier who was killed in Afghanistan. In the aftermath of his lover’s death, Dan was busted by the military authorities when he refused to keep quiet about the nature of the relationship. Since 2009 he’s been back in civilian life, and is finding it very hard to adjust. Like Jack Reacher, Lee Child's protagonist, Dan is prone to violence, always upholding what he views as justice. He has few personal ties, nearly no belongings, tries to live under the radar.
When we meet Dan, he’s working as a security guard at a nightclub in New York City. His life seems to be going nowhere ? he’s not earning much money, he has