We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access .
The Hardest Thing Audiobook

The Hardest Thing: A Dan Stagg Mystery

Once a major in the U.S. Army, Dan Stagg fell afoul of Don't Ask Don't Tell. In his late 30s, tall, and muscular, Dan is prone to violence, always upholding what he views as justice. He's offered a great deal of money to protect the young male "secretary" of a powerful real estate broker. The vain, shallow - but most of all hot - young man's idea of protection includes sex. Dan quickly realizes something strange is going on: he's being used as a shield for a much more sinister operation and must choose between easy money and sex or the ideals that he embodied in the Army.
Regular Price:$20.72
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Publisher's Summary

Killing is easy. Love is...The Hardest Thing

James Lear does Lee Child

Once a major in the U.S. Army, Dan Stagg fell afoul of Don't Ask Don't Tell. In his late 30s, tall, and muscular, Dan is prone to violence, always upholding what he views as justice. He's offered a great deal of money to protect the young male "secretary" of a powerful real estate broker. The vain, shallow - but most of all hot - young man's idea of protection includes sex. Dan quickly realizes something strange is going on: he's being used as a shield for a much more sinister operation and must choose between easy money and sex or the ideals that he embodied in the Army. Why should he do the right thing - particularly when the army betrayed him? The Hardest Thing is a sexy gay mystery as only James Lear can write it: filled with lots of gay sexual encounters, romance, sweat, violence, and conspiracy.

©2013 James Lear (P)2013 Audible, Inc.

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (82 )
5 star
 (31)
4 star
 (32)
3 star
 (14)
2 star
 (2)
1 star
 (3)
Overall
4.1 (77 )
5 star
 (32)
4 star
 (23)
3 star
 (17)
2 star
 (4)
1 star
 (1)
Story
4.6 (75 )
5 star
 (54)
4 star
 (14)
3 star
 (5)
2 star
 (2)
1 star
 (0)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    HaloLove 01-23-15
    HaloLove 01-23-15 Member Since 2015

    🌺 Lover of Amazing Stories 🌺

    HELPFUL VOTES
    226
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    440
    217
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    17
    4
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "What In The World! LOL. 1/2/2015"
    Any additional comments?

    LOL

    I kid you not, this story takes off in physical violence, sex, and more violence and doesn't stop until the end. And I must confess, I enjoyed.

    A very entertaining audio! No room for a dull moment, that's for sure!!!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Aenis. Brooklyn Park,Minnesota 10-30-13
    Aenis. Brooklyn Park,Minnesota 10-30-13 Member Since 2013

    acnisja

    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A Great Story"
    Would you listen to The Hardest Thing again? Why?

    Author James Lear is a great writing, in that he keeps story moving while providing great details about the characters and the storylines.


    What about Charles Carr’s performance did you like?

    I loved Charles Carr voice. Very sexy and deep at times.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elaine 10-03-13
    Elaine 10-03-13 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    66
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    65
    48
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    11
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Best gay romantic adventure, Best Narrator!"

    THE STORY: 4 and half stars
    Dan Stagg, ex-Marine, is one fuck away from ending up on the streets. When he gets what seems like an easy job - 10 big ones up front and 20 more when he delivers the package, he thinks his luck has changed. Well, it has, but at a price he's not quite ready to pay. Especially when he's still grieving and embittered over the loss of his career and the only man he'd ever loved.

    Despite the bittersweet overtones to both Dan's and Jodi's characters, The Hardest Thing is easily the most enjoyable book I've read this year and its audio version the best I've heard since I started listening to them earlier this year.

    While there is romance and Lear and his hero sorta know there is more to life than one easy fuck to another, both happily make use of every situation to get one more fuck in for the reader. And I happily went along for the voyeuristic ride because Dan is about one of the most likeable characters I've come across in a long, long time. Lear has given me an MC I can sympathize and laugh with, and at, from one chapter to the next. The title of the book does make it sound like the start of a series and if so, I wonder whether Dan and Jodi will be the main couple, both fucking their way through one adventure after another.

    THT is a fun, bawdy contemporary tale that had me both laughing at, and assessing, the character at the same time. I was getting exasperated at Dan for being unable to pass up a fuck while Jodi was sleeping off his exhaustion after being on the run, when Jodi has been abducted and Dan is supposed to be trying to rescue him; but Lear so cleverly wraps me around Dan's finger (or another appendage, rather) that I, who am particularly critical about inappropriately-timed sexual trysts in my romantic fiction, am prepared to be magnanimous on this occasion.

    ...because this is that type of book - smutty and rough, bursting with graphic sex and a hero whose self-deprecating humor made me putty in his hands.

    Now, if Jodi were some sweet, innocent romantic counterpart to Dan, I guess I would have balked at Dan's tom-cat ways but Jodi can handle himself and taken together, this couple of gay characters make THT a very different type of gay romance that I normally read - and so much better than most. It has action, sex, suspense, sex, romance, sex. While pure porn can be boring and too many or lengthy sex scenes in MM romance gets me impatient to be moving on with the story, I enjoyed every sexual encounter Dan grabbed (in case it's the last fuck he'll ever get). Why? Because Dan is able to preempt every one of my reactions when his insatiable cock, yet again, zeroes in on a new ass like a diving rod.

    Despite his promiscuous nature, I can believe that Dan has come to love Jodi towards the end of the book and is ready to move on from his grief of losing Will. I was given a subtle HFN but in this instance, it was sufficient for me.

    What wasn't, though, and caused me to deduct half a star, is that the story is told completely from Dan's POV and, as usually happens, I don't get to know the second MC as well as the first. What I felt was needed in this case was an epilogue to give me a more balanced feel to the book. Especially when Jodi is not the man he led us all to believe he was. The Jodi Dan and we are introduced to at the start of the book is nothing like the young man we are left with. His subterfuge and lies were too casually dealt with for someone like Jodi who's fallen in love with someone like Dan.

    This book does beg for a sequel, IMO, as I would like to know how Dan copes with the new man in his life and heart, is he going to carve out a new career or will he continue to eke out a living taking one odd job to another (Jodi isn't exactly low-maintenance). I'd like to know the effect Jodi's brain hemorrhage and the recent events have on him and his future with Dan.

    I'd like to see Dan and Jodi move out of Jodi's Dad's house and into their own home so that Dan won't have to share the couch with the other biting critters that have taken up residence there.

    THE NARRATOR: 5 stars!
    Charles Carr did a fantastic job. His ability to give different voices to Dan and Jodi made it easy to distinguish between the two characters, or when it's Dan and the other secondary characters.

    Carr's skill at communicating the relevant expression to his words is one other narrators ought to emulate. I've heard narrators who are so deadpan they have no business narrating anything and I've heard those with the sexiest voices ever (Boulton, LeFleur, Morey et al) but none of them do as great a job as getting the characters' personality or the author's intent across as well as Carr does.

    More than 5 stars, for the narration and Audible is to be commended for this excellent production. If you're planning to listen to, or want to try, an audiobook, make it THIS one. It's at a special price of $3.99 right now if you're an Audible member. Otherwise, beg, steal, borrow or sell your body to get it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susie Santa Cruz, CA, United States 10-16-13
    Susie Santa Cruz, CA, United States 10-16-13 Member Since 2012

    I'm Audible's first Editor-at-Large, the host of In Bed with Susie Bright -- and a longtime author, editor, journo, and bookworm. I listen to audio when I'm cooking, playing cards, knitting, going to bed, waking up, driving, and putting other people's kids to bed! My favorite audiobooks, ever, are: "True Grit" and "The Dog of the South."

    HELPFUL VOTES
    1720
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    912
    272
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    300
    19
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Noir Comes Out"

    An ex-army bodyguard and a uppity rich kid in danger. James Lear has made an “homme-fatal."

    Every sexual encounter moves the plot along at a brisk pace, Lear keeps it real.

    There are lies and double crosses, and an edge-of-your-seat climax that had me biting my nails, and nearly weeping.

    And can we just talk about narrator Charles Carr for a second? Hand this man an Audie Award right now.

    His reading made me sweat! So much mastery of emotion and character. Sure he can seduce with the sex scenes, but his alpha-male voice for Dan Stagg, showing the cracks in the armor where he needed to was just stunning.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Blanchard San Antonio, TX 04-06-16
    Blanchard San Antonio, TX 04-06-16 Member Since 2014

    Dr. Carter

    HELPFUL VOTES
    11
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    44
    42
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Should be made into a movie"

    This story is one of the best I have selected. Great thought out characters and a plot that is full of surprises. The narration was great as well.

    Someone should make this into a movie.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    K.S. 02-24-16
    K.S. 02-24-16
    HELPFUL VOTES
    90
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    337
    140
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    7
    3
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Didnt like the MC and bad plot"

    I dont know, maybe this audio is written for men, because there were a number of scenes where the MC is a little too much like a macho man with questionable morals. He keeps thinking that he is inlove with the other MC but still have sex with other men allthough he does Think its wrong. And this i could get over if i could sence Any connection with the other MC, but i just dont feel it. He is kind of fatalistic and Funny at times due to this, but i just didnt like him and the other MC was not in my taste either. I dont Think it is a really bad plot in general but the Way they get out of Sticky situations by using sexual favours kind of ruins the plot because it is so unbelievable. The narrator does an excellent job and if u like the storyline or is in the mood for something with a kind of "b-movie with bad actors, sex and a gay twist" feel, Then at least it is told very Well.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    A. LoneFight Charlotte, N.C. 12-15-15
    A. LoneFight Charlotte, N.C. 12-15-15 Member Since 2016
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    18
    5
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great story and performance"

    I loved the narrator of this and found the story both erotic and also fun and interesting.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    DanBudda Detroit, MI USA 12-03-15
    DanBudda Detroit, MI USA 12-03-15 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    111
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    18
    14
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Too Good!! Funny, jaded and bitter. Just like you!!"

    This is a really good listen. Funny and HOT. The narrator is a revelation!! Just take a chance and try it, you washed up loser. What's one more mistake in what has obviously been a life full of them? Lots of hot sex scenes await you, hunky Marine action, steam room sex with a hung daddy, hustlers without a clue, Italian closet cases, unconscious (FAKE! Haha!) oral rape. Let's face it, Tiger, you ain't got nothing better to do but die and you're too damn lazy for that. Get this audiobook. Now. And tell me you like it, bitch.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    L & E's mom MARIETTA, GA, US 11-02-15
    L & E's mom MARIETTA, GA, US 11-02-15 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    191
    12
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "really good!"

    great story! HOT!!! Funny!!!!! wonderful narration, I'm really looking forward to the next installment of Dan Stagg.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    5thfoot 10-03-15
    5thfoot 10-03-15
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "More Lear. More Stagg, More Carr. NOW."
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    As an Angelophile I fell in love with Chandler, and read every book cover to cover. I lived where Marlowe worked, I gazed out of the windows he wrote about to the Los Angeles he described, and I loved every romantic moment of his construct that I passed through every day. I was never as taken by his snarky lead as after having read every writing as when Elliott Gould narrated his work.

    Now here, with the blatant brotherly eroticism of Dan Stagg I find my literary hero finally figuratively echoing Marlowe's gritty footsteps and he's... hot, raw, and a real man, perverted and idealistic in so far as it goes. He's romantic, edgy, fallible, punctual, charismatic, disgusting, attractive, and magnetic, and Charles Carr's voice makes him REALLY real, and believable.

    I will buy every Stagg Novel narrated by Carr from here on out, but not one not narrated by Carr. He gets Lear.

    Thank you Mr.s Lear and Carr for a delightful day, and night under the covers just like old radio days. Wow.


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    I haven't gotten to the end yet, and don't want it to end. This is ... awesome.


    Have you listened to any of Charles Carr’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No. I'm blown away.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Yes. The first utterance of Mr. Lear's text by Carr.


    Any additional comments?

    Mr. Lear and Mr. Carr have something that HAS to endure, or only will in this one piece. It's timelessness is powerful beyond words.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank you.

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.