This was another author that I saw at the Orenda Roadshow and was certainly intrigued after hearing the passage that the author read out.
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.
This is the first book that I have read by this author and I wasn’t too sure what to expect when I picked it up but I was quite happy to throw my expectations out the window once I started reading because I have never read a book quite like this before. I’m not even sure I have the words to describe the reading experience properly, but I’ll try my best.
Manic is the word that keeps popping into my head and I feel like it’s the best word to sum up Worst Case Scenario. From the start there is this energy that catches you and pulls you along as you follow the situations that Mary gets herself into all the while torn in two about what you actually want to happen.
I think the best way I can describe Mary is as extreme, she is an on-edge character who is swinging from high to low easily and who just doesn’t really care anymore. She had the potential to be an unlikeable character because a lot of the time I found myself questioning her actions and the things that she was saying, but actually, in this instance, I found that I liked her more for it. She is honest almost to an uncomfortable level but it is refreshing and just makes everything that bit more humorous.
This wildcard nature means that I was constantly on my toes for what was going to happen next, everything was so unpredictable and any time I thought I was getting a handle on a situation something would happen out of the blue that turned everything on its head once again. There were so many occasions when I was agreeing with Mary one minute and then thinking that it was going to be disastrous the next, and it usually was.
Worst Case Scenario is a mile a minute book, exceptionally original and also really funny, even if sometimes you know you shouldn’t be laughing. It definitely brought out some extreme emotions, I could switch from anger to empathy within one page, and there was certainly a lot of incredulity especially at the end. There is a lot left to interpretation and imagination and it definitely works for this book.
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.