One alcoholic parole officer
One month to go
One last client
What could possibly go wrong?
Worst Case Scenario……
[ 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.
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.
[ My Review ]
Worst Case Scenario is the latest novel from bestselling author Helen Fitzgerald. Just released by Orenda Books, Worst Case Scenario has been described as ‘a heart-pounding, relentless and chilling psychological thriller, rich with deliciously dark and unapologetic humour….also a perceptive, tragic and hugely relevant book by one of the most exciting names in crime fiction‘
Before I share my thoughts on this quirky and insightful novel, I must mention that, for me Worst Case Scenario was more of a dark, dark comedy with a satirical twist, than a thriller. It’s a book that women ALL OVER THE WORLD will get, will understand….because it’s about THE MENOPAUSE.
Mary Shields is a Glaswegian social worker, working with criminals on probation. Her job is to keep tabs on them, keep them on the straight and narrow. Her role is to imagine the Worst Case Scenario and do everything in her power to prevent the possibility of this ever occurring. But Mary is a woman with little patience and, now that she is struggling with the menopause, her tolerance levels are especially low. Mary’s husband has just landed a big job and they make the decision that Mary can retire. Her stress levels are high and her moods are difficult for all to deal with, so Mary is ready to walk out the door. But she has one final month to complete her notice. Surely Mary can get through this without offending anyone?
Liam MacDowall is to be released from prison, after serving his time for murdering his wife. While in prison, Liam wrote a book, containing letters to his now dead wife. On his release from prison, this book is to be published, with the backing of a Men’s Rights Activist group. Mary has absolutely no time for Liam, his book or the Men’s Rights activists and she certainly does not shy away from making her feelings known. With her husband overseas with work, Mary is depressed, she is lonely, she is drinking too much and she is just pissed off. Mary has had enough. With Liam MacDowall now in her charge, she has no time for anything that comes out of his mouth and Mary let’s this be known. Aware it will result in many complaints, Mary doesn’t care. She’s leaving anyway……or is she?
Mary Shields is like the poster girl for HRT. Her story is extreme, yet her symptoms are real. Mary gets herself into a terrible bind and the more she tries to extricate herself from it, the worse it gets. Mary is soon living her own WORST CASE SCENARIO….
In the words of Helen Fitzgerald….’if Mary had slapped on a patch, none of this would ever have happened.’
Worst Case Scenario is a refreshing warts-and-all read about the impact of the menopause on a woman’s mental health. Mary is possibly/hopefully an extreme version as she puts political correctness to one side completely with no regard for anyone’s feelings or choices in life. Her behaviour is outrageous and at times hilarious as she attempts to make sense of her actions. She has no boundaries whatsoever and absolutely disrespects and belittles those in authority. Mary Shields has no filter. Her mood swings allow for no nonsense or stupidity from anyone she encounters. But Mary’s actions are accountable and Mary eventually has to pay the price….‘with devastating consequences’
Worst Case Scenario will resonate with many. Be it yourself, your mother, sister, wife, girlfriend, partner, significant other or even your boss, work colleagues and friends, we all will experience the effects of the menopause. As someone *ahem* approaching the big 50 in the not too distant future, I can only hope that I survive the years ahead without taking too many people’s heads off. I hope my family can cope with my moods and that I still have some friends left on the other side. Though I must admit, there is something quite exciting about saying what I think without a care about who I might annoy!!!
Worst Case Scenario is really a must-read. It’s unconventional style is bold, it’s theme is so very relevant and Mary Shields is a bloody outstanding protagonist!!
[ Bio ]
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.
Twitter – https://twitter.com/FitzHelen
(Image & Bio Courtesy of Orenda Books)