Today it is back to Mandie who has a review of the hilarious Worst Case Scenario by Helen Fitzgerald as part of our Year of Orenda. I reviewed this last year and you can find my review here but – spoiler alert – I loved it. So dark, so funny, so absolutely wrong and right. Here’s what it’s all about:
About the Book
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.Available from: Amazon | Kobo | Waterstones | Google Play | Apple Books
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.
When your sister keeps sending you messages with passages from the book she is reading with the caption “you need to read it, this is so you”, you kind of have to take notice. To be fair she wasn’t wrong … Not the whole people dying (or even the menopause part … not yet anyway) but I am a serial flex offender. There I have said it. In fact I think there should be a support group for us. The passages talking about the problems of use it or lose it flexi and being timed when making a drink or going to the loo are all too real and shouldn’t be as funny as they are, but they did have me howling. That being said, this book is so much more. I am not the fastest of readers so for a book to grab my attention to the point the family are fending for themselves whilst I finish it in one sitting, it has to be absolutely bloody brilliant. Helen Fitzgerald has created one of those books in Worst Case Scenario.
Mary Shields is quite frankly a mess, but I love her as a character. Maybe it’s because she is sarcastic and says what she thinks (I can so identify with that). Suffering from the effects of the menopause (something I know is looming and am not looking forward to) and just biding her time in a job she no longer loves as a probation officer; she becomes obsessed with her final case. She absolutely detests Dr Liam McDowell, a feeling that is made far worse when her son gets involved with Liam’s daughter. Her actions, instead of driving them apart seems to push them together. Her solution to this, whilst in her mind makes perfect sense, does in fact backfire so spectacularly, it does leave you wondering about her sanity, but it also had me laughing.
You may get the feeling from what I have written so far that this book is a laugh a minute read. It has its moments for sure but at the same time you are given a look into the life of a probation officer and all the people and problems they have to deal with. Some of it is really grim and I know that I would not want to do that job for all the money in the world. Juggling the pressures of workloads, family life and quite frankly some pretty disturbed people is enough to test anyone’s mental health and you can quite understand why people just snap.
As you read this review it will actually be a whole year since I read this book but even now I can still remember what it was about and how much I enjoyed it. For a book to have that kind of impact then it is special. If you haven’t already read it, trust me you should. It is as funny as it is dark but above all it’s a must for anyone’s reading list.
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.
Books by Helen Fitzgerald