"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."
"James Lear’s sexy gay mystery pays homage to classic pulp fiction as a former U.S. Army major must guard a beautiful young man. When Army vet Dan Stagg falls afoul of DADT he becomes entangled in a web of conspiracy."
"Although packed with a plethora of hardcore sex scenes, James Lear’s The Hardest Thing contains, at its core, a fine private detective mystery novel in this seventh in a growing list of similar works by the author. Any reader skimming it for the sexy parts will miss out on what is actually quite a good story."
"The writing is captivating and the suspense plot is thrilling. If you're looking for a book that travels at a breakneck pace, one which contains a flawed but loveable hero, then I would highly recommend The Hardest Thing with a grade of 'Excellent'."
"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."
Gay/Lesbian Fiction Book Reviews
"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
"James manages to convey action without having to go on and on about it a few closely written pages and I was in the scene."
"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!"
"A new erotic spin on an old mystery trope."
Books on Silver Wings
"For what is essentially a good summer read, The Hardest Thing will have you pondering as ex-marine Dan Stagg, whose grittier methods could be considered unacceptable by some, sets out to prove his worth. There's plenty of wit and humour and Lear's prose is concise, descriptive and, in using Dan Stagg as first person narrator, insightful of the man's rather complex relationship with himself."
Cathode Ray Tube
"One of the best gay erotic fiction stories I’ve read in a long time."
"A great romp of a thriller with quite a lot of sex!"
Lesbians North London
"The Hardest Thing about this book is putting the thing down!"
Airen Wolf Reviews
"Plenty of action and second-guessing to keep us reading."
"An entertaining and sexy story."
Night Owl Reviews
"Intriguing gay erotica/mystery hybrid novel and it's love, in case you were wondering."
Erotic Trade Only
"Red hot, filled with lots of sex, action, and romance."
"The Hardest Thing has all the bad-ass swagger of a really good noir but also a soft romantic underbelly that was lovely and very well written. A tremendously fun read--a great escape--with mystery, bad guys and have I mentioned a little (tons of) sex?"
"A great mystery with some of the hottest erotic fiction I’ve ever read."
Cameron D James
"Dan Stagg, the narrator of James Lear’s seventh novel, The Hardest Thing, is a hot-tempered ex-marine with a bad attitude and a limitless libido."
"The superlative quality of James Lear’s writing never fails to amaze me. From the opening lines of The Hardest Thing I was absolutely hooked."
"The Hardest Thing is a sexy gay mystery as only James Lear can write it: filled with lots of sexual encounters, romance, sweat, violence and conspiracy."
Erotica Readers and Writers Association
"I haven’t read a novel by a male in a long time but this one had me on page one with it’s narrated type opening. Love the different plot and fresh writing style."
"Dynamic, tautly written, The Hardest Thing delivers sex, action and romance with an equally deft touch. Dan Stagg is convincing as a soldier betrayed by DADT and as a man of passionate appetites. His story unfolds at a red-hot pace, together with his feelings for his mysterious protégé. A terrific, compelling read."
Harper Fox, author of Salisbury Key
"James Lear's The Hardest Thing blends an unruly literary sensibility with wild and raunchy excess. An enormously entertaining homage to classic pulp friction."
Josh Lanyon, author of Fatal Shadows
"The Hardest Thing is without a doubt James Lear’s most powerful novel yetgritty and gripping, steamy and suspensefula killer-thriller with a hero who is at once cold-blooded, hot-headed and sexy as hell. Dan Stagg is gay literature’s answer to Jack Reacher; he is a hero as daring and defiant as he is flawed and fallible. The hardest thing about this book is having to wait for the next Dan Stagg mystery!"
Geoff Knight, author of Curse of the Dragon God and Riddle of the Sands
Like many victims of the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, Dan Stagg is an ex-Marine having trouble fitting back into society. In his own words, he’s “a well-oiled machine with no ideas about right and wrong, good and evil.” He’s had his heart broken and he’s determined not to let that happen again. That is, until he meets a cute, spoiled client who needs to be protected, and then everything turns ugly once again. James Lear's The Hardest Thing is violent, fast-paced and very sexy, with a bad-boy hero you can't help but fall for. Dan Stagg is a gay action hero for the twenty-first century."
Neil Plakcy, author of the Mahu Investigations