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.
A deliciously dark, unapologetically funny psychological thriller by the international bestselling author of The Cry
‘It takes a special kind of evil genius to write crime this dark and make it this funny. I feel like ONLY Helen FitzGerald could have created this book. Shocking, gripping and laugh-out-loud hilarious from the first line to the last. Brilliant’ Erin Kelly
‘The main character is one of the most extraordinary you’ll meet between the pages of a book’ Ian Rankin
‘Outrageous, extremely funny and ultimately devastating’ Ambrose Parry
It’s fantastic to be taking part in the #BlogTour for a book I fell head over heels for – Helen Fitzgerald’s “Worst Case Scenario”. Orenda books are the very best that there are and I know that if Karen has chosen a book then I’m going to absolutely love it. Thanks to the lovely Anne Cater at Randomthingstours for inviting me to take part – she knows what I like and always recommends great reads that keep my bookshelf groaning at the seams…
Helen Fitzgerald is definitely a writer at the top of her game and I could not put this book down once I’d started it over my half-term break in gorgeous Elie. It was the perfect book to take on holiday with me as it certainly gave me a great deal of food for thought as I relaxed in the sunshine.
This really is a book with something for everyone. It’s perfectly pitched as a social commentary, a thriller and it’s also darkly hilarious at times. What an addictive combination. Mary’s battles against the system – and the menopause – are brilliantly depicted and she definitely comes alive on the page even as her world is unravelling all around her. I love a book where the main character has you from the very first page and Mary’s first few meetings will have you hanging on her every word – whilst feeling like you are on the edge of your seat wondering just how this is all going to end…
Mary’s job is definitely unenviable and if you find it difficult to think about the world that she inhabits – peopled with paedophiles and violent offenders – then this might not be the novel for you. Mary is a survivor, but even her strategies are wearing thin as she battles a system where it is almost impossible to feel like you are making any sort of difference.
Mary’s voice is distinctive and laugh-out-loud funny at times, whether battling her supervisor or the loathsome Jimmy McKinley and you will definitely be rooting for her even though it’s fair to say that she is not a big believer in following protocols, biting her tongue or keeping herself out of bother.
This book has some absolutely killer lines – and that’s one of the things that made it such a perfect holiday read. Again, if you are easily offended by some pretty ‘choice’ language and feel queasy thinking about violent crimes then this might not do it for you – but I fell for Mary hook line and sinker and couldn’t tear myself away from her story until I found out how things were going to end. What a read!
Her relationship with Liam MacDowell was perfectly portrayed and I would love to see it evolve on camera. This would make a perfect TV adaptation and I’m really praying that someone sees sense and brings Mary and her exploits to our screens sooner rather than later. I think that she’s a cult heroine in the making and some of her ‘killer lines’ could definitely catch on in a big way…
If you like your novels compelling and witty, with a side order of black humour then I definitely recommend that you treat yourself to a copy. Maybe not one for the easily offended or squeamish, but certainly a novel that grabbed me and wouldn’t let me go and one that I couldn’t stop thinking about since I finished reading it.
I ended up re-reading sections to myself for its turns of phrase and really can’t wait for someone else I know to read it so we can talk about the world it depicts. I would love to recommend it to my book group and see what they made of it as there is certainly a lot to discuss here and I know that some of them would love Mary’s attitude and get as caught up in her story as I was. You should definitely try and get yourself a copy as soon as you can and get to know Mary for yourself. She’s some woman!
Ian Rankin’s recommendation surely holds more weight than mine, so what are you waiting for?
Writer on the Shelf
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.