The front cover of Stalking Aidan shows a terrifying, ruthless-looking man holding a huge blood-soaked knife with an evil glint in his eye. This couldn't be farther from the image I instantly built up of the central character, Aidan McRaney. He has admittedly just been released from prison after eight years inside for killing Brian Fitzwalker, but there were attenuating circumstances : he was doing his job as a minder, protecting gangland boss Frankie Lamond, and Fitzwalker had just killed Leanne, the woman Aidan loved, in front of him. Nobody seems to bat an eyelid at the fact that Leanne was the boss's girlfriend and Aidan was married to another woman though, which brings me to the side of Aidan that I really couldn't stand - his attitude to women. Basically, if she's got a pulse, Aidan will jump into bed with her, often having two or three women on the go at once. His attitude to his ex wife is cavalier, to say the least, he doesn't take any of the women's feelings into account and there is not one single female character in the book, apart from his sisters, that he doesn't have sex with - even his teenaged step-niece is fair game. After eight years in prison, he thinks he has some serious catching up to do but even so, this side of his personality made my skin crawl.
Apart from that, he seems like a fairly nice guy though. He's working for his brother's landscape gardening firm, is desperate to keep on the straight and narrow and rebuild bridges with his young son and is always willing to help out damsels in distress. Gangland isn't quite so willing to let Aidan go though and, when he starts being followed by a mysterious biker, he knows that someone is out to get him. Despite his misgivings, he finds himself drawn back into the criminal underworld as a means to stay alive.
As Aidan is governed by his groin rather than his brain, we could forgive him for being so blind to the immediately obvious, but I did work out exactly who was behind all of Aidan's woes very early on, so it annoyed me that he was so unobservant. At times, some of the characters' behaviour seemed nonsensical - if Aidan knew that his life was in imminent danger and he had just been shot at, I don't think he would have come out of hiding and gone to a party, even if he was sure to get his leg over, and Verdi turned out to be a rather unlikely middle-aged Lara Croft !
Overall, though, it was an enjoyable read. I felt more sorry for Aidan's loved ones, caught in the crossfire as collateral damage, than Aidan himself, but I did find myself caught up in the story, shocked and sickened by the violence of the criminal underworld that was inevitably drawing Aidan further and further back in.
star rating : 4/5
RRP : £8.99
RRP : £8.99
Disclosure : I received the book in order to write an honest review.