Loose zippered, tough talking and violent ex-Marine Dan Stagg is a likeable character

The Hardest Thing: A Dan Stagg Mystery

Written by James Lear

Reviewed by Jon Michaelsen

James Lear_The Hardest Thing

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 by the neck and pull you head first into his story before you realize what is happening and can breathe. 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 simply 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 very likeable, one that reminded this reader on more than one occasion of the more mainstream hetero heroes like Lee Child’s “Jack Reacher”, Barry Eisler’s “John Rain”, or David Baldacci’s “Lee Adams”.

One thing is for sure, this reader eagerly awaits the next Dan Stagg mystery.

UPDATE: New Releases, Re-releases and Current WIPs

Many of you know my former publisher, loveyoudivine, closed its doors for good June 30, 2013 and I had to move quickly to figure out a plan for my published titles and future works. I needed to wait until the rights for FALSE EVIDENCE (Murder Most Deadly I) and SWITCH HITTER returned to me before looking for a new publisher. I have found a wonderful publisher who not only agreed to re-release these novellas, but also offer re-editing and new covers.

The re-release of SWITCH HITTER, a sexy erotic thriller novella co-written with author, Alex Morgan, was released by my new publisher, Wilde City Press (http://www.wildecity.com/books/gay-erotica/switch-hitter/#.Ug7CiO7D_IU) this week, which you can pick up currently at their website, and in a couple weeks at other fine etailers such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, All Romance eBooks, and others. SwitchHitter_cvr-FINAL

For those curious about the sequel to FALSE EVIDENCE (Murder Most Deadly I), I am happy to report that I have signed a contract to release both parts I and II with Wilde City Press. After much discussion with my editor, we’ve decided to release both parts combined in one novel with the title, MURDER MOST DEADLY. In fact, my current WIP is the second and final portion of FALSE EVIDENCE, which we are targeting for release later this year. I will keep you updated via my blogs here, GoodReads, Amazon, Lazy Beagle Entertainment

False Evidence: Murder Most Deadly 1
False Evidence: Murder Most Deadly 1

(http://www.lazybeagleentertainment.com/murder-most-deadly-1–false-evidence.html), as well as on Facebook and share the new cover with you as soon as I am able.

More exciting news! I have also signed a contract to release my debut full-length novel, PRETTY BOY DEAD, the first in a planned series with Wilde City Press (http://www.wildecity.com/). Check out the first peak of the blurb at Lazy Beagle Entertainment: (http://www.lazybeagleentertainment.com/pretty-boy-dead.html).

Though straddled with a little setback this year, I’m really excited about my upcoming releases and new projects. Once I have finished with my current WIP, I plan to finish PRINCE of the SEA, which is a southern gay romance set in the beautiful coastal town of Tybee Island, Georgia, and includes a supernatural element that I’ve really enjoyed writing. Of course, in keeping with my style the story does include a mysterious and thrilling theme.

SWITCH HITTER available now from Wilde City Press

SWITCH HITTER

by Alex Morgan and Jon Michaelsen

SwitchHitter_cvr-FINAL

Blurb:

Top ranked National League baseball player, Jase Dockery, was having a record-breaking year until a sluggish bat threatened to derail his streak. To the world Jase is a hero, but the MVP harbors a deeply guarded secret…one that just might end his career.

To satisfy his craving for domination, Jase agrees to a tryst with the captain of APD S.W.A.T. The night of unbridled passion has him fantasizing about his next rendezvous with the hard-bodied cop the next day at practice, but his pans are soon derailed by a stalking fan who abducts the nation’s hero to hide out in a lake cabin outside the city.

Can the smitten S.W.A.T captain locate Jase before the humiliation that awaits him with risking coming out to his comrades?

excerpt…

Jase swallowed hard and counted to ten before taking a breath. Jesus Christ! He expected his subjugator to bust him over the head, take his wallet and bike, but nothing happened.

“I…look, I’m sorry, man,” Jase managed. “Just forget it, all right? I made a mistake.” He flinched as the arm slipped higher around his chest. “I really need to go, now.”

The man breathed against his neck. “Are you sure you don’t want to stay? I’m horny as hell tonight, and you’re precisely what I need. Lady Velvet has never disappointed me. Anonymity is as important to me as it is to you, she assured.”

Jase didn’t answer in words, but in the thickening of his cock. Tendrils of lusciousness rose from the base of his balls, and surged through his abdomen. He glanced down at the hand covering his left, at the thick fingers that clamped over his own. Lady Velvet had said the man was a cop, a S.W.A.T. officer at that. What luck!

Fighting off fear, Jase found his voice. “I-I’m not sure this is a good idea,” he said, still feeling uneasy. The man’s hand moved up to caress his chest, fingers tweaking his hard tits. Jase held his breath, ready to drop his load right there on the bike without shedding his clothes.

“My friends call me Cap.” The tip of a moist tongue slid up the base of Jase’s neck as the man’s hand settled on his crotched and squeezed hard. “I hear you’ve been a real dick lately and need some attitude adjustment.”

Those final words sealed the deal. Concern and fear evaporated in the heat churning between them. Jase wanted nothing more than to lose himself in the arms of this beast, captain of a S.W.A.T team.

Jase dismounted his motorcycle, and faced Cap. His heart skipped a beat and his breath caught in his throat. The mustachioed face, more handsome than any professional athlete or model, stared back at him. The brown eyes seemed to draw him in, engulfing his vision. He couldn’t look away, didn’t want to look away. Cap’s torso seemed to explode from out of his narrow waist. His T-shirt stretched across a huge, muscular chest.

The gorgeous specter smiled, and Jase’s legs nearly buckled.

“Let’s see what Lady Velvet has in store for us.” Cap draped an arm around Jase’s shoulders and led him to the elevator.

http://www.wildecity.com/books/gay-erotica/switch-hitter/#.UgKlgu7D_IV

 

 

“IM” by Rick R Reed (Audio Book) A Wonderful, Eerily Suspensful Novel!

IM by Rick R. Reed – Narrator Taavi Mark

Reviewed by – Jon Michaelsen

IM_Rick R Reed

I first read IM, by Rick R. Reed back in July 2008. It was actually the first novel I had ever read by Reed, but certainly not the last. I have since become a huge fan of his writing and read several of his novels since, including my two favorites, “Tricks” and the sequel, “Rent”.

In my original review of IM, I wrote how I thoroughly enjoyed the way the author handled the various POV changes throughout the story effortlessly and fluidly, well balanced for this kind of mystery, suspense/thriller novel – which also includes an intriguing love-story between ex-cop, Ed, and his new boyfriend, Peter. It’s precisely because of the different POVs within the novel that I was a little apprehensive at first listening to the audio version narrated by Taavi Mark.

I had enjoyed reading the print version so much that I decided to through caution to the wind and just go for it – and I am so glad I did. Not only did I enjoy listening to the twisty mystery of a serial killer of gay men he plucked from the internet again, I had the luxury of popping in my headphones and sitting back to get lost in this wonderfully suspenseful  thriller.

Let me just say right off the bat, this novel is out-and-out scary, but it’s the narrator’s voice that makes the experience downright creepy. I felt Tavvi Mark had perfectly captured the serial killer’s state of mind, but his voice inflections were spot-on, to the point where listening to the words of Reed’s awesome novel became bone-chilling. The challenge of a good narrator if he (in this case) can project enough voice variation to discern each character and still come across authentic  enough to keep the listener engaged, to not sound dull or boring by simply “reading” a script. Tavvi Mark is able to perform this act and much more, especially in the case of the psychotic killer, who comes across as decidedly eerie.

As I mentioned in my review of the print version a few years back, I greatly enjoyed the romantic sub-plot between Ed and Peter and would love to know more of their story, should Mr. Reed endeavor as he has done with other unforgettable characters readers have grown to love.

https://www.facebook.com/AudioBooksNowHearThis

http://www.audible.com/listener/A8NE0FPK2W9X0/IM/ref=pd_seeReview?asin=B00DDVPY90