Lear, James. “In the Ring: A Dan Stagg Novel”, Cleis Press, 2018.
Corruption, Power and Passion
Most of you know that I do not read much erotica but I never miss a James Lear tale because he rises over what I call “trashy porn. Lear writes literary smut. Not only does he arouse the reader sexually but also literarily so if you have not read him than I suggest you do. “In the Ring” is a volume in his Dan Stagg series and here Stagg becomes involved in a world of concealed identities, double agents (some of whom are quite beautiful) and as the tile of this review says corruption, power, and passion.
The world thinks that Stagg is dead having been killed in Baghdad by a bomb. Now with a new identity and high-tech gadgets, our tough Marine officer goes deep undercover (and under covers) to penetrate an extreme right-wing group of terrorists. While he is on loan from the CIA and MI6, Stagg goes to England to investigate a corrupt boxing promoter and “his stable of vulnerable, sexually compliant, young athletes.” Stagg has no idea yet of what fun and muscle awaits him.
Using the disguise of a martial arts instructor, Stagg is soon drawn into a dark world of blackmail, prostitution, and pornography; a world where sex and money are always available. He needs to be able to hide who he really is to fulfill the mission. On the other hand he might find this to be a new life if he works for Alan Vaughan, the mastermind behind this terrorist plot.
The more involved Stagg becomes the greater the erotic, romantic and deadly adventures become his. He actually faces the politics and the criminal activity that lies beneath the seductive cover of the life he is forced to pursue. It does not seem to be a bad life at all but he needs a good deal of willpower to keep him from drowning in it.
James Lear really knows how to tell a story and he knows just how much erotica is necessary to keep us reading.