The Hardest Thing: A Dan Stagg Mystery

The Hardest Thing: A Dan Stagg Mystery

by James Lear

NOOK Book(eBook)

$10.99 $16.99 Save 35% Current price is $10.99, Original price is $16.99. You Save 35%.
View All Available Formats & Editions

Available on Compatible NOOK Devices and the free NOOK Apps.
WANT A NOOK?  Explore Now

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781573449465
Publisher: Cleis Press
Publication date: 05/20/2013
Series: Dan Stagg Series
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 245,786
File size: 352 KB

About the Author

James Lear is the nom de plume of a prolific and acclaimed novelist. As James Lear, he is the author of The Back Passage, The Secret Tunnel, Hot Valley, The Low Road, and The Palace of Varieties. He lives in London. Straight Up "This might make a nice change-of-pace for erotica fans and mystery lovers alike, so if you want a book that packs heat, grab this one." —Dallas Voice "It's exciting, compelling and a rip roaring read of a story. I'll definitely be reading more Dan Stagg mysteries." —The Romance Reviews "This dazzling, fast-paced, roller coaster of an adventure story does not disappoint. With plenty of scintillating twists and turns, smoldering sexcapades, and the provocative, darkly-humorous narrative of Dan Stagg at its wheel, this is action/adventure that takes you places. Deep into the dark, seedy underbelly of the human mind and then deeper, into the vulnerable, soft places of the human heart. Top all this off with a visceral and tender ending and you’ve got what I would call a hole-in-one winner, one that I can’t wait to read again and again." —Rainbow Book Reviews

Read an Excerpt

"New York City on a dirty night in July is not my favorite place to be. I’d rather be almost anywhere else—I was thinking of the beach in Connecticut or up in the Green Mountains of Vermont, or any of those overseas places I’ve travelled, most of them warzones, where you can breathe without feeling like someone just threw up on your shoes. But New York is where I am, and short of a miracle New York is where I stay, with temperatures in the 80s and humidity in the 90s and me in my late 30s wondering what the hell happened to my life. A couple of years ago I had a career and a salary, status and respect and a sense of purpose. Now I’m working nights at a shitty club in the East Village for minimum wage. I don’t even have a uniform; the security company is so damn cheap that I have to provide my own. So it’s black polyester slacks, a black T shirt and a pair of black shoes from my dress uniform that I still keep shined—old habits die hard. I look like a burglar, except you can see my face. But nobody looks at my face except to snarl in it or shout in it or, on particularly lively nights, to spit in it. And tonight was one of those nights.
During the week, the Panther Club on East 9th Street is pretty nice by local standards—not too busy, mostly local kids who work in offices by day and fancy themselves as hipsters by night, drinking and posing and listening to the DJs or the bands who trot out third-rate art-rock and enjoy their fifteen minutes. I don’t mind the weeknights: no trouble, easy money, nobody getting too crazy because tomorrow is a working day. It’s the Fridays and Saturdays I hate, when the out-of-towners pour into the East Village to feel like freaks for the weekend, and they can’t get really freaky without getting really wasted. And that’s when I earn my few bucks an hour.
This particular Friday night started like all the others. Quiet till nine, the usual jerks wearing sunglasses in the dark, standing at the bar or smoking on the sidewalk, the smoke hanging in the air like fog, collecting under the awning where I have to stand, making my eyes sting and my clothes stink. I hate the smoking laws. Why can’t they be allowed to kill themselves inside the club, and let those of us who work outdoors breathe some nice healthy exhaust fumes instead? And then, at two minutes after nine, by some mysterious signal, along came the Assholes. They came up the street in twos and threes, never alone, guys mostly, a few tough-looking girls, all of them with that schoolyard swagger as if they’re the kings and queens of the universe and people like me are somewhere down there with the rats and roaches. By half nine the club was full, drinks were getting spilled and the atmosphere was turning nasty. A line was forming on the street—it never ceases to amaze me that people will actually wait in line to get into a place like the Panther Club—and you could smell aggression in the air like cheap perfume. Now, I have nothing against aggression. After twelve years in the US Marine Corps I kind of value it. I like a kid with attitude, if he knows what to do with it. But these guys were just dull drunks with a grudge against life, looking for a fight to perk up Friday night, and if they hadn’t started something by the time they got to the door they were more than happy to have a crack at the sap in the polyester slacks.
I don’t know where the average out-of-towner thinks that security guys like me are recruited from. Perhaps he thinks we’re former schoolteachers or unemployed librarians. The fact is that most of us are ex-military, and that means that we have probably killed more people than he has fucked. I lost count of the number of lives I’ve taken. Some of them I shot. Some of them fell victim to missiles that I had a hand in firing. But I killed a fair few—twenty, maybe more—with my bare hands. I know exactly how to do it. I can break a neck with the precision of a chiropractor—just a twist and a click and the job’s done. So if you’re looking for a fight in the East Village on a Friday night, you might want to stay away from the Panther Club.
And this is how the story began."

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

The Hardest Thing: A Dan Stagg Mystery 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hot scenes worth plenty to visualize about.
pilgrimKG More than 1 year ago
Any book that makes me laugh out loud by page 7 deserves a buy! I haven't finished it yet, but the author's narrative style already has me hooked. A great read so far!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Scarlet_Slept More than 1 year ago
From the second I picked up The Hardest Thing, I absolutely couldn't put it down. I think I finished it withint 24 hours, and it was incredibly enjoyable reading! Love Lear's writing style, and his dry wit coupled with incendiary and innovative encounters make for an awesome combination. Recommended for anyone who likes thrillers, fun function, and/or gay literature. Trust me - you don't have to be a gay man to love Lear.
QuixoticOrchid More than 1 year ago
I thought The Hardest Thing would be a great read for Memorial Day weekend. You have a United States Marine. Because the fellow marine he loved died by snipper fire, when he broke down in tears, he failed the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" clause in his contract and was kicked out after twelve years of dedicated service. Left to find himself again, he takes an extremely shady job as an escort/bodyguard and the book begins. He's the good guy? No, he's the bad guy. No? Well, he's not the baddest guy in the book. The author went so deep into character than you really feel for this guy, his heroic darkness. His story was fast paced, high action, and so fully detailed, good/bad boy Dan Stagg brought tears to my eyes. I can't wait to see him again.