Stacy Willingham's debut novel A Flicker in the Dark was one of my favorite books of 2022 so when I heard that her second novel was being released this January, I knew that it was going to be just as good.

I was correct.

I wasn't able to get an ARC of the novel, All the Dangerous Things but luckily, it was a Book of the Month choice for December. I decided to wait it out and read it was my first book of 2023 and it was the perfect way to kick off the new year.

This was an intense, wild ride of a novel with lots of ups and down, twists and turns, and plot points that you really couldn't prepare for. 

All the Dangerous Things was released yesterday, January 10th.

Publisher's Summary

One year ago, Isabelle Drake's life changed forever: her toddler son, Mason, was taken out of his crib in the middle of the night while she and her husband were asleep in the next room. With little evidence and few leads for the police to chase, the case quickly went cold. However, Isabelle cannot rest until Mason is returned to her—literally.

Except for the occasional catnap or small blackout where she loses track of time, she hasn’t slept in a year.

Isabelle's entire existence now revolves around finding him, but she knows she can’t go on this way forever. In hopes of jarring loose a new witness or buried clue, she agrees to be interviewed by a true-crime podcaster—but his interest in Isabelle's past makes her nervous. His incessant questioning paired with her severe insomnia has brought up uncomfortable memories from her own childhood, making Isabelle start to doubt her recollection of the night of Mason’s disappearance, as well as second-guess who she can trust... including herself. But she is determined to figure out the truth no matter where it leads.

My Thoughts

This was such a good book and it kept me on the edge of my toes the entire time. I could not figure out what was the real story, who was telling the truth or how the story was going to play out. However, and spoiler alert I suppose, I really did not think that Mason was dead. I was convinced that he was alive and that he was going to be found.

Isabelle Drake was a likable character but not the most reliable narrator, mostly due to her sleeping problems. When you realize how her sleeping issues came to be, Izzy's story starts to make sense but gets even more sad. 

You were constantly rooting for Izzy to find her son but also suspicious of everyone in her life, including her. 

The story goes back and forth between past and present because there is something that Izzy has been suppressing, something that is the core of her being and the reason she doesn't even 100% trust herself. There are really two mysteries at the core of this novel: Izzy's past and her present. 

I can't say too much more about the plot without giving it away but I think, as someone who reads a ton of thrillers, this was one that kept things close to the chest. I really thought anyone could've been the kidnapper and some of the twists that the plot took were unexpected; some, of course, were slightly more predictable but there were so many jaw dropping moments.

I really liked how meta this novel was; the true crime community is right at the center of it and I think it can teach us a lot about how victims (and victims families) of the crimes we 'consume' feel about this form of 'entertainment'. It's not entertainment, it's their life and its gruesome and horrible. No one should have to be put through what they are put through.

Willingham is an excellent writer that understands how to pace a story to keep you hooked but not rush it and give you everything up front. She is so good at forming and delivering a story, as well as giving characters a back story that is tragic but helps them discover something in their future self.

I really enjoyed every moment of this book and cannot recommend it enough!


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