I read and loved The Cry by Helen Fitzgerald when it was first published and like many others was captivated by the recent TV adaptation. So I was prepared to be wowed by Worst Case Scenario, the author's latest book published by Orenda Books.
The opening sentence sets the scene:
"Every time Mary tried to relax in a bath, a paedophile ruined it."
Mary Shields is a senior probation worker having to deal with some of Glasgow's most unpleasant characters. She is also menopausal and almost burnt out. The fact that her husband now has an amazing deal on the table means that she can quit her job. It gives her a devil may care attitude and a lifeline... what can possibly go wrong? In a word – everything.
What should be Mary's last big case is Liam Macdowall, imprisoned for murdering his wife. 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. Released on licence into Mary’s care, Liam's star is shining brightly – a media darling. But Mary is convinced there's more to Liam's crime than meets the eye. She is determined to see justice done but at what cost – to her and her family?
Worst Case Scenario is both dark and extremely funny. The OMG and laugh out loud moments are countered by gasps of "Noooooo!" The depiction of a woman in the throes of the menopause – hot flushes, irrational anger and the like – will hit home to all of us who have been there and probably cause trepidation to those who have it all to come!
Authenticity is inscribed through this narrative like Brighton through a stick of rock as Helen Fitzgerald is delving into her experience as a criminal justice social worker. Having close friends working in similar roles, this book makes me admire them even more. The narrative is uncompromising, shocking at times and brilliantly executed and I love the play on words in the title.
PWT rating: ♥♥♥♥♥
Worst Case Scenario by Helen Fitzgerald is published by Orenda Books and is available from Amazon and bookshops.