I picked this book up a while ago completely unaware that it was part of a series at the time, with Stalking Aidan being the first of the Aiden McRaney books. I’ve been meaning to post this for ages… especially being such a big J M Shorney fan since. I interviewed her recently and she’s so damn lovely.
Anyway, reading this book before the first one made absolutely no difference to my understanding or enjoyment. Without the reams of exposition you often find in some novels, Shorney gets right on with it, with plenty of action and showing, rather than relying on telling. It was only when some of Aidan’s nefarious past was revealed, succinctly and punchingly in one paragraph I might add, that I thought ” heavens, that would make a good book” and found after some digging that it already has ( one for the to-read list along with book 3 in the series, Progeny of a Killer)!!
In this one, Aidan is in the throes of fashioning a respectable life for himself working for his brother and rebuilding a post prison life. Business takes him to Dublin where he meets Caitlin, a young chanteuse with secrets of her own. His hopes of a legitimate life are soon dashed when his brother sells his business and Aiden is charged with the management of the Black Garter Club in Soho, owned by an incarcerated gangland boss. It doesn’t take long for Brazilian drug dealers to be on his case, Caitlin’s problems come back to haunt her and the mysterious ” Agency” is revealed…. you should read the book for more on them……
Aidan is a complex character and in many ways isn’t likeable, but he’s a man trying to make the right choices in the face of his past, urges and fears. Shorney crafts a character that is well rounded and has all the attributes you want in a returning protagonist-complexity, weakness, needs – like him or not he is human. It is a refreshing change from some stereotypes that you find in this genre. Then again, what Shorney also does very cleverly is create a cast of characters, all with distinct voices and a taste of a backstory that builds context without being bogged down by it. Without giving too much away, the end is a nice staging for future work, to which I look forward!