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The hardest thing
on 11 August 2013
Dan Stagg is a morose, friendless tough guy working club doors in New York for a few bucks. He used to be a Marine but had to leave when the fact that he was gay emerged. After losing his job an Italian man offers him a good fee for minding a wealthy man's secretary; while he's dubious about the legality of the matter he needs the money. A Glock is supplied and instructions to take the individual out of town. Stagg isn't nearly suspicious enough.
Stagg manages to get Stirling McMahon out of NY without any worse than a bruised arm. He's a pampered, sulking brat without respect for his close protection worker. But in rural White Mountains inns, the young man soon reveals himself as gay, so cue a lot of activity. Stirling was paid to pretend to be secretary to a real-estate developer and accompany him to weekend conferences. Someone with an unspecified grudge threatened the man's family and Stirling too. Or did they really? Stagg is already suspicious, and when a man tries to shoot them in their motel room it's clear that Stirling's boss now wants rid of the young man and has set Stagg up to take the blame.
I was surprised both that every man in the state appears to be gay, if closeted, and that fugitives would take so much time to indulge. There are many completely gratuitous scenes. As in many gay-themed novels we meet no credible women or, indeed, women. There is plenty of action and second-guessing to keep serious readers interested but Stagg isn't very intelligent, depending on his training and nothing else, so strong language and violence are foremost.