I’m delighted to be taking part in the #BlogTour for Helen Fitzgerald’s “Worst Case Scenario”. I always know that when I pick up an Orenda book then I’m in for a huge treat and something very different. Thanks to the author and Orenda Books for the ARC for review and thanks to Anne over at Randomthingstours for inviting me to take part.
Before I share my thoughts, here’s what the official blurb says:
A delicious dark, relentless and chilling psychological thriller by the international bestselling author of The Cry
‘The harrowing plot keeps you gripped until the final, devastating revelation’ Sunday Mirror
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.
Helen Fitzgerald can open a book and then some. Queen of the opening lines, she has absolutely nailed it again with this one! My jaw dropped in a true WTF moment and stayed like that throughout the whole book!
Mary Shields is a criminal justice social worker in Glasgow. She lives by one rule “I must not think about that” in a bid to keep home and work separate. It’s a rule she finds almost impossible to obey. Sick to the back teeth of dealing with the dregs of society, she decides to hand in her notice and go out with a flurry of “F**K You’s”.
Using a brilliant blend of humour and stark reality the writer manages to convey a completely realistic picture of the stresses and strains that Mary and her team face. I loved Mary, and I suspect that many women of a similar age to Mary and I will love her too.
When Mary decides to resign it frees her from every professional constraint she has been under and I was howling with laughter as I watched her spiral out of control, no longer trying to pretend she cared. I must admit I read it shouting “go Mary” and with an undisguised envy, hands up who honestly hand on heart can say they have never once in their professional lives wanted to stand up and say f**k you!
Mary is probably the boldest protagonist I’ve read for a while. Helen Fitzgerald doesn’t spare the blushes as we join Mary on a menopausal journey which will have you snorting with laughter and dropping your jaw in horror at the same time. It’s impossible to work in that field and not develop a twisted sense of humour, it’s a requirement and this novel is entirely relatable both in terms of the very real pressure that staff are under but also in relation to the bureaucratic nonsense that is local government. Helen Fitzgerald addresses the media shitstorms that face social workers every day – damned if they do and damned if they don’t.
The narrative took me right inside the head of Mary, short snappy and sometimes seemingly chaotic sentences demonstrate the turmoil inside her mind. Yet the structure makes perfect sense; it’s authentic and it’s addictive. Perfectly poignant, deliciously dark, sorrowfully sad and humongously hilarious, Worst Case Scenario is genius! Buy it, read it, don’t miss it!
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About the author
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.