A deliciously dark, relentless and chilling psychological thriller by the international bestselling author of The Cry
Mary Shields is a moody, acerbic probation offer, dealing with some of Glasgow’s worst cases, and her job is on the line. Liam Macdowall was imprisoned for murdering his wife, and he’s published a series of letters to the dead woman, in a book that makes him an unlikely hero – and a poster boy for Men’s Rights activists.
Liam is released on licence into Mary’s care, but things are far from simple. Mary develops a poisonous obsession with Liam and his world, and when her son and Liam’s daughter form a relationship, Mary will stop at nothing to impose her own brand of justice … with devastating consequences.
A heart-pounding, relentless and chilling psychological thriller, rich with deliciously dark and unapologetic humour, Worst Case Scenario is also a perceptive, tragic and hugely relevant book by one of the most exciting names in crime fiction.
Outrageous, absolutely outrageous! Bold, unusual, shocking…
Bold: that’s Mary, she drinks too much, way too much; she hates her job, although she hasn’t always, it’s worn her down, worn her out. She’s going though the menopause, she scathing of her employers, her clients indeed pretty much anyone and she’s becoming reckless.
Unusual: with its outlandishly dark humour it’s difficult not to laugh but really what on earth are we laughing at? The actions of a woman who isn’t getting proper treatment for the menopause because she’s too worried about taking time off sick? So inundated with work that she racks up hours of Flexi just to loose it all at the end of the month because taking time off will just make everything worse? There’s no time to get everything done. No Time to do things properly. No time to look after all the others let alone herself. Others like Liam who’s out on license under Mary’s supervision – he flaunts the rules. Is he dangerous, could he really hurt his own daughter? What on earth does Mary’s son think he’s doing getting so close to Liam’s daughter? Still, does all of this really justify her actions? So what’s funny? Well all of it – and none of it – aren’t we laughing because it’s better than crying? Shouldn’t we just get angry? Just look what happens then!
Shocking: the way Mary (and, seemingly, most of her colleagues) is treated by those she works for and those who are under her care; the way Mary acts or speaks before she engages with what the consequences might be; but mostly for the absolute breakdown of the duty of care that must surely be in place, for the clients of course, but also for the officers? Without it how can they do their job and stay in good health – physical and mental? It’s not as though this situation is a new one, it’s been going on for years, decades. There are so many people with so many needs it’s not surprising that issues arise, things fall through the cracks. It’s so difficult and complex. So why be shocked that, with everything that Mary is going through and has done, it all boils down to a meeting about well, in the scheme of things, something so outrageously petty!
Helen Fitzgerald has such a unique voice and this audacious book from it’s jaw-dropping opening and throughout will resonate with and, no doubt, be loved by …. women going through the menopause, their families, their friends, probation officers, people in stressful situations, those with mental health issues …. simply put it will resonate with – everyone!
With thanks to Orenda Books and Anne Cater of RandomThingsTours for a copy of Worst Case Scenario by Helen Fitzgerald as always thoughts are my own and I have not received payment for this review.
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Helen FitzGerald is the bestselling author of ten adult and young adult thrillers, including The Donor (2011) and The Cry (2013), which was longlisted for the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year, and is now a major drama for BBC1. Helen worked as a criminal justice social worker for over fifteen years. She grew up in Victoria, Australia. She now lives in Glasgow with her husband.
Dead Lovely, published 2007
The Devil’s Staircase, published 2009
My Last Confession, published 2009
Bloody Women, published 2009
Amelia O’Donohue is SO not a Virgin, published 2010
The Donor, published 2011
Hot Flush, published 2011
The Duplicate, published 2012
Deviant, published 2013
The Cry, published 2013, adapted as a BBC serial (2018)
The Exit, published 2015
Viral, published 2016
Worst Case Scenario (2019)
Author of suspense novels Sketch, Justice For Belle, Search For Maylee, Aggravated Momentum, and a medley of short stories.
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