Karen Sullivan, publisher of Orenda Books, has announced the acquisition of World English Language rights for Helen FitzGerald’s Worst Case Scenario, and a second title, Australia Day, in a two-book deal negotiated with Phil Patterson of Marjacq Scripts.

Both an defiantly dark satire of (and poke at) the domestic noir genre, and a genuinely chilling, engrossing and complex psychological thriller, Worst Case Scenario features 52-year-old Mary Shields, a moody, ascerbic probation officer, whose job dealing with Glasgow’s worst cases is on the line. Her latest charge is Liam Macdowall, imprisoned for murdering his unfaithful wife. Released on licence and into Mary’s care, he publishes a book, a series of letters to his dead wife, that makes him an unlikely hero, and poster boy for the Men’s Rights Activists … much to Mary’s horror and fury. Things become complicated when Liam’s daughter and Mary’s son form a relationship, which Mary is determined to stop, at any cost. Caught in a system she no longer believes in, Mary develops a poisonous obsession with Liam and his world, and becomes determined to impose her own brand of justice … with devastating consequences.

Karen says, ‘I am in awe of anyone who can vigorously attack social issues while creating a work of heart-pounding, relentless suspense, and managing to couple this with deliciously dark, unapologetic humour is absolute genius. Worst Case Scenario is a fresh, important, tragic, funny and hugely relevant thriller that had me alternately biting my fist and pounding it. This is pure entertainment, and a vivid and exciting example of how the crime genre can escape its confines to become something extraordinary. I was mesmerised by the complex plot and divine characterisation, but also the effortlessness of Helen’s beautiful and perceptive writing. This is exactly type of book I want to be publishing at Orenda, and I am absolutely delighted to welcome Helen to the team.

‘Television rights for Worst Case Scenario have bought by a major studio at auction, and the dramatisation of Helen’s novel The Cry, starring Jenna Coleman and Ewen Leslie, airs on BBC One this Autumn. We’re also hugely excited about Australia Day, perhaps best coined as “domestic disaster noir”, which is both Broadchurch in its exploration of small-town secrets, and a fast-paced, action-packed thriller that features a devastating bush fire and its impact on a community. I honestly cannot wait to get my hands on this.’

Phil Patterson says, ‘I am thrilled that Helen is with Karen and Orenda. I have watched them publish with passion and verve.’

Helen FitzGerald says, ‘Karen Sullivan’s passion and boldness are already inspiring the same in me.  I’ve been writing like crazy since we closed the deal, and enjoying it more than I have in years. Orenda is the place for me.’

Worst Case Scenario will be published in May 2019 by Orenda Books, and Australia Day a year later. For more information, please contact Karen@orendabooks.co.uk.

 

 

 

 

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