James Lear's novel The Hardest Thing is a combo of crime, gay lit, and, corruption/ conspiracy theories. A former Army guy, Dan Stagg was before the repeal of don't ask/ don't tell. Lear doesn't get political, but he really reminds us that times better change or else we're in trouble people. Stagg gets caught between a rock and a hard place (figuratively and literally-wow). The military screwed him, but Stagg isn't entirely a bitter, hardened guy either. This novel is a great balance between erotica, crime fiction, and mystery. Stagg is a complex character with flaws, passion, and intensity. Although the title hints at future releases, this one reads great as a stand-alone novel. Loved it.