PRE-RELEASE REVIEW: 'In the Ring' by James Lear

Title: In the Ring

Series: Dan Stagg Mystery #3

Author: James Lear

Release Date: May 15, 2018

Publisher: Cleis Press

Cover Artist: Scott Idleman/Blink Design

Genre: Contemporary Romance; Erotic Romance; Mystery/Thriller

Length: 296 Pages

Tags: Gay; M/M; Menage; M/M/M; Law Enforcement

NOTE: There are tags or CW we chose not to disclose for sake of story arc.

About In the Ring

Dan Stagg is dead . . .

At least, as far as the rest of the world is concerned, he died in a bomb blast in Baghdad. In the Ring brings Dan Stagg to James Bond territory in an exciting story of concealed identities, beautiful double agents, corruption, power, and, of course, plenty of sex. With a new identity and some high-tech gadgets, the tough USMC officer goes deep undercover to penetrate an extreme right-wing terror group. On loan to the CIA and MI6, Dan travels to England to investigate a corrupt boxing promoter and his stable of vulnerable, sexually compliant, young athletes.

Posing as a martial arts instructor, Dan is drawn into a shadowy world of blackmail, prostitution, and pornography, where sex and money are in constant supply. Can Dan hold on to his true identity and complete the mission, or will he choose a new life working for the shadowy mastermind, Alan Vaughan? A series of erotic, romantic, and deadly encounters brings Dan face-to-face with the ugly political and criminal truth beneath the seductive surface of his new life⎯but is it too late to save himself?



I was absolutely thrilled when I saw James Lear was going to be releasing another Dan Stagg mystery, and In the Ring is everything I’d hoped it would be. If you’ve never delved into the dark and dirty world of James Lear you don’t know what you’re missing. Lear always provides a unique and intriguing mystery, a good dose of dry humor, and best of all the most hedonistic main characters I’ve ever read. In the Ring is the third book in this series and, taking into account the way Dan’s character evolves, I recommend reading them in order.

I’ll admit it, no interrogation techniques need be employed, Dan Stagg is this girl’s ultimate fantasy. Rough and crude and sexy; confident and strong and sexy; dominant and masculine and yep, you guessed, it SEXY. I can’t help it, there’s just something about a man who constantly assumes everyone wants to have sex with him… and they do! Dan Stagg can’t even step into the 7-Eleven without getting a Slurpee, if you know what I mean. I sure do hope there’s someone out there who’s actually living this guy’s sex life, god bless him!

In keeping with the story lines of the previous novels, Dan starts out at his absolute lowest point. This time he wakes up in a military hospital, seriously injured, and told his “death” has been made public so he can participate in a dangerous undercover op. True to form, this won’t get Dan down, at least not for long, because Uncle Sam has provided a hot-blooded, male nurse who is thoroughly vetted to speed his recovery.... Like I said, he can’t go anywhere!

Lear always provides a unique and intriguing mystery, a good dose of dry humor, and best of all the most hedonistic main characters I’ve ever read.

Dan accepts the assignment, because why not? Once again he has nothing, and no one, to lose. Armed with what the US military describe as his “‘uniquely valuable’” skills (his sexual prowess and his ability to kill with his bare hands), Dan is ready to take on whatever challenges he might face. Terrorists, a prostitution ring, blackmail, and more, Dan infiltrates the group in question and proceeds to do what he does best.

The path to the climax of the story has everything that made me a fan of this series, but what really gets to me about Dan Stagg is his complexity. On the outside he’s this tough, macho Marine, but the sweetly vulnerable man underneath is so attractive, it hooked me from the very first novel. Dan projects the image of a hardened, heartless man and proclaims he has no morals. However, in all three books, when faced with lines he won’t cross, he puts himself in harm’s way to save others. Done as a first person narrative, we get his unfiltered thoughts and honest observations. Sometimes the bravado is so transparent I just want to wrap him in a hug and kiss it all better.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the mysteries in each of the three Dan Stagg novels, and yes, there is an actual plot squeezed in between all the erotic sex! I hope the release of In the Ring signals many more publications to come from James Lear, and if you haven’t yet tried this wonderful author, pick up any one of his novels, I guarantee you’ll enjoy it.

A copy of In the Ring was provided to Kimmers’ Erotic Book Banter, by Cleis Press, at no cost and with no expectations in return. We offer our fair and honest opinion on behalf of our readers.

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Meet the Author

James Lear is the nom de plume of prolific and acclaimed novelist, Rupert Smith. As James Lear, he is the author of The Back Passage, The Secret Tunnel, Hot Valley, The Low Road, and The Palace of Varieties. He lives in London and is the 2008 Winner of Erotic Awards "Best Writer".

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For more visit Rupert Smith’s website!

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