#Blogtour Worst Case Scenario by Helen Fitzgerald @FitzHelen @OrendaBooks @annecater #RandonThingsTours #WorstCaseScenario

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Worst Case Scenario by Helen Fitzgerald  Orenda Books  May 16th 2019

Mary Shields is a moody, acerbic probation offer, dealing with some of Glasgow’s worst cases, and her job is on the line. Imprisoned for murdering his wife, Liam Macdowall has published a series of letters to the dead woman, in a book that has made him an unlikely hero – 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.

My Review

I’ve always wondered what the world of a probation officer would look like and Fitzgerald definitely didn’t stint on detail.

Mary, the officer in question was for me brilliant and, I am assuming everything a probation officer shouldn’t be. Her professionalism appeared to be flushed down the toilet as you watched her throw away her career in her obsession with her client Liam MacDowall. Did it frustrate me, did I want her to stop? The simple answer was no, as Fitzgerald used Mary to show us a person run ragged by a system full of paperwork and bureaucarcy, of overwhelming caseloads and a wider system of social workers just ripe for collapse.

A dark portrait you might think, but oh no, Fitzgerald injected just enough humour to balance out what could have been a bleak, dark read. Mary was the unwittingly brilliant character that steered us through a myriad of paedophiles, and drug addicts, and her own personal journey through menopause and marriage that I could definitely relate to. There were times when I laughed out loud before being plummeted back into the depths of despair.

The whole premise of the Men’s Right’s Activist group was particularly apt for the times in which we live, as Liam and his sidekick Derek showed the best and the worst of such organisations. They were characters you definitely did not warm to, particularly Derek who I had to admit made me think quite violent thoughts as I found myself wanting to punch him for his hypocrisy and self righteousness!

I took this as a sign that Fitzgerald had well and truly got me in her clutches, had pulled me into the madness and chaos that was The Worst Case Scenario. There certainly wasn’t time to draw breath as she rolled us on to the next social reprobate and Mary’s mounting personal issues. How Mary managed to hold her nerve as everything collapsed around her I will never know, but that only made her more more endearing to me as the reader. I so wanted everything to be ok for her, and could only cross my fingers as I hoped that Fitzgerald would give me the outcome I wanted.  It was an outcome that came as a complete surprise, that in some ways was quite shocking, that made me take a step back and really think about what I had read. I won’t say anymore as it would be a real spoiler but let you discover for yourself.

If you were expecting another The Cry, Fitzgerald’s highly successful and TV dramatised novel, Worst Case Scenario was most definitely a step in the opposite direction. Yes, there was a crime, but that crime had been committed, the culprit found and justice served. Worst Case Scenario was more an examination of our social care system, of those probation officers, and social workers swimming against the monumental tide of clients, unrealistic deadlines, and fear of putting a step wrong. Fitzgerald’s portrayal was funny, serious, chaotic, unique and utterly brilliant and I loved it.

I have only one thing left to say and that is to ask Helen Fitzgerald to bring back menopausal Mary Shields, in another mad story as I feel there is more she wants to say and do!!

I would to thank Orenda Books for a copy of Worst Case Scenario to read and review and to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting MY Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

Helen Fitzgerald Author Pic

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.

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