REVIEW – Worst Case Scenario by Helen Fitzgerald

Worst Case Scenario

Published March 16, 2019 by ORENDA BOOKS

 

“Every time Mary tried to relax in a bath, a paedophile ruined it.”

With a first line like that, I was pretty sure this was going to be one wild read.

Shocking, hilarious, moving, twisted, and gritty are some of the words that come to mind when I think of this novel.

Fifty-two year old, Mary has worked as a probation officer in Glasgow for almost thirty years. Mary is currently going through “the menopause”. She is stressed and moody, and all alone while her husband works away from home. Taking sick time is frowned upon and Mary is on notice for how many sick days she’s taken.

But now Mary has had enough. She gives her one month notice.  This way she can leave with her record intact and her head held high.

How much can go wrong in one month?

Mary is meeting her last new client who is in prison for murdering his wife. While incarcerated, Dr. Liam MacDowall wrote a book, “Cuck: Letters to My Dead Wife. The book and MacDowall will be released soon. They have a meeting to go over all of the rules and restrictions MacDowall will have to abide by once released. MacDowall’s lawyer, publisher, counselor, and twenty-six-year-old daughter, Holly attend the meeting. MacDowall plans to live with Holly after his release.

Mary met with Holly a few days earlier and the visit did not go well (but it had me in stitches). Mary doesn’t think Holly should let her father live with her “A load of shite. I’d prefer to share a house with Hannibal Lecter”.  Holly can’t believe how Mary talks to her and tells her that she’s going to make a complaint. Mary has no problem handing her a complaint form. Years ago this would have had Mary in a tizzy wondering how she could fix things.

That evening, after the meeting, Mary tries to settle in for the night…

”This might have been the day, the hour, the minute, the moment that she made the decision that ruined her life”

Mary will soon realize just how much can go wrong in one month.

I thought this was a terrific read! It was also a quick read at just over 200 pages.

The author, Helen Fitzgerald obviously has a terrific sense of humor. Mary is a character many will relate to. Her dry sense of humor and outspokenness is delightful. I often wondered, did she really just say that? Her struggle with “the menopause” is hilarious and realistic!

 “A hot flash is like an orgasm. If you’re not sure you’ve had one, you haven’t.”

Worst Case Scenario” makes no apologies. This book may not be for everyone, but in my opinion, it was a great read.

Dark, compelling, disturbing and unsettling… but oh so entertaining!

 

I’d like to thank Orenda Books for providing me with a copy of this novel. All opinions are my own.

REVIEW – The First Mistake by Sandie Jones

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Published June 11,  2019 by Minotaur Books

 

Alice appears to have it all. She has a great family, a wonderful home, and a successful business.

Alice’s first husband, Tom died over ten years ago, and it was devastating. But eventually, she met and fell in love with Nathan and married for the second time.

Alice and Nathan have been trying to land a deal for a big project in Japan. AT Designs is the company that Alice and Tom started. Nathan joined the company and takes care of the business side of things while Alice takes care of the creative part.

Alice’s best friend is Beth. Beth’s daughter Millie goes to school with Olivia. Alice and Beth are very close and supportive of each other. They both lost their husbands, although it was in very different ways. Beth’s ex cheated on her and Beth is still quite angry about it.

Alice is thankful she has such a loving and loyal husband in Nathan.

Then Nathan starts acting strangely. But he seems to have an answer for everything. Alice WANTS to believe what he tells her, but her head and heart say two different things.

Is she being played for a fool?

One night Alice is browsing Facebook when she comes across a profile that shakes her entire world.

Luckily she has her best friend to lean on…

But after her next conversation with Beth, Alice’s world explodes yet again.

Is there anyone Alice can trust?

So many secrets, so many lies, and a whole lot of drama had me quickly flipping the pages of this engaging psychological suspense novel.

The novel is broken into three parts. Part one is Alice’s point of view. Part two is from Beth’s perspective and part three brings everything together. There were times I found myself annoyed with Alice and Beth and some of the decisions they made, but overall, this was quite an enjoyable read.

The First Mistake” was an interesting story of suspicion, jealousy, and betrayal. It also had some very surprising twists. I was positive I had things figured out, but in most cases, I was way off.

 

I’d like to thank Minotaur Books for providing me with an advanced copy of this novel. All opinions are my own.

REVIEW – Wherever She Goes by Kelley Armstrong

Wherever She Goes

Expected publication: June 25th, 2019 by Minotaur Books

 
What a great read!

Aubrey Finch has made mistakes. The pain in her shoulder is a reminder of a big one.

Aubrey is separated from her husband, Paul who has primary custody of their daughter, Charlotte. Aubrey didn’t want to uproot her daughter until she found an acceptable place for them to live. It was supposed to be temporary. That was six months ago. Aubrey and Paul are civil with each other. They both seem to want the best for Charlotte. But Aubrey knows if Paul ever found out about her past, he wouldn’t be so civil.

Aubrey loves her daughter, but motherhood has never come naturally to her. She watches the other parents; tries to “observe and assimilate”.  She reads all the articles and blogs but she just can’t relate to the other parents.

One day while doing cartwheels with Charlotte at the park, Aubrey meets another young mom who doesn’t seem to fit in either. They strike up a conversation as they watch their children play.

“I see this young woman, with her old needle scars and her worn jeans and her shabby sneakers and the way her face glows every time her gaze lights on her son, and she’s the mother I connect to.”

A few days later Aubrey is jogging through the same park. She notices a boy on the swings. It looks like the boy from the other day. Aubrey doesn’t see his mother anywhere. Suddenly she hears someone shout and the boy heads in the direction of a big SUV.  But when she hears him cry out. “No! Let me go!” Aubrey starts to run in his direction. The car pulls into traffic and roars off.

It’s gone.

Aubrey tries to explain what she saw to the police but they tell her that no one else saw anything. The police also say that the other parents see Aubrey watching them and their kids. “You make some of the other parents uncomfortable”.

Aubrey contacts the police again and they tell her no one has reported a child missing. She feels like no one believes what she saw, but her gut tells her she’s right.

Aubrey tries to put it out of her head. Her daughter needs to be her primary focus.

“Even if I am right, is it worth the risk to help a stranger?”

Then she sees a story in the local news that changes everything. Suddenly, Aubrey is more involved than ever. She still worries about being exposed. Her past coming out could ruin everything, but she can’t just stand by. She NEEDS to help. Aubrey knows what it is like to be left behind, to wait for someone…anyone to come. She’s going to find a way to prove what she saw.

But if she continues to investigate will she be putting her own child in danger?

How far would you go to save a child that wasn’t your own? 

I really enjoyed this engrossing and thought-provoking read.  I thought it was a unique take on a missing child story.

I really felt for the main character. Aubrey is a single mother who isn’t confident in her parenting skills. She hasn’t always made the best decisions but she was a relatable character. I was fully invested in the story and wanted Aubrey to succeed.

Overall, this was a touching and well-paced domestic suspense novel that held my interest from start to finish.

I’d like to thank St. Martin’s Press for providing me with an advanced copy of this novel. All opinions are my own.

REVIEW: Saving Meghan by D.J. Palmer

Saving Meghan

Published: April 9th 2019 by St. Martin’s Press

 

After reading the description for this novel, I couldn’t wait to read it!

“Saving Meghan” opens as forty-eight-year-old Becky Gerard is boarding a flight to Los Angeles. When the flight attendant asks everyone to turn off their phones and other electronic devices, Becky wonders if she’s made a mistake. She can’t turn off her phone; it’s her only connection to her fifteen-year-old daughter, Meghan. She didn’t want to leave Meghan, but her mother is very ill and this may be the last chance Becky has to see her. Her sister, Sabrina told her it was just a matter of days.

“I know you have your issues, we both do, but she’s our mother”

Now as the hatch to the plane closes, Becky grips her phone, waiting for a reassuring text from her husband, Carl. Even a quick “Meghan’s fine” or “No worries” would reassure her. He KNEW how nervous she was about leaving Meghan. Carl FINALLY texts her back and the words make Becky’s blood run cold…

“We’re at the hospital”

Her daughter Meghan has been sick and nobody seems to know what is wrong with her. Her symptoms: muscle weakness, fatigue, headaches, weight loss and more. Test after test and doctor after doctor. Becky feels helpless. Her whole life has become about Meghan’s health.

We are given insight into Becky’s childhood. Her mother was far from a normal mother, but Becky was desperate to please her. Her mother showed her and her sister how to manipulate people, how to use their doubts and fears against them to get what they wanted. Becky vowed she would never be like her mother.

Could Becky be more like her mother than she realizes?

We also hear from Meghan. She says she doesn’t care about the things she used to care about. She is tired of seeing so many doctors and not getting any answers. However, she’s thankful her mother is there for her. Becky is her advocate and her best friend, and Meghan trusts her completely. But her father is a different story. Meghan thinks he misses his soccer star…his perfect daughter. She wishes he would reassure her that everything will be fine. But most of all she just wants him to believe her.

“He thought my biggest secret was that I was faking it. But we both know that wasn’t true. My biggest secret was that I knew his”

What secrets is Meghan keeping?

Then Meghan gets even sicker.

Becky Gerard just wants the best for her daughter…

Right?

This was one of those reads that I really hated putting down. I was desperate to know what was going to happen next. The story is told from three points of view; Becky, Meghan, and Dr. Zach Fisher.

EVERYONE was keeping secrets.

I thought this was a very enjoyable read. I was totally on edge. Someone had me fooled. I did guess a few things correctly, but I had no clue how things would turn out. Was everything completely believable? Maybe not. But this intriguing story about secrets, betrayal, and revenge had me gripped.

I thought “Saving Meghan” was a very unique domestic/medical suspense novel and I look forward to reading more from this author.

 

I’d like to thank St. Martin’s Press for providing me with an advanced copy of this novel. All opinions are my own.