Hi Besties. As the air slowly warms and spring approaches, settle in and check out Stacy Willingham’s sophomore title All the Dangerous Things. All the Dangerous Things is an immersive dive into a mother’s worse nightmare — and the secrets she uncovers as she tries to find the answers to questions that have been piling up for a year.
Genre: Psychological Thriller
All the Dangerous Things is a slow-burning mystery—submerging within the folds, and not coming up for air until the final page.
Isabelle has always been a deep sleeper, that is until that fateful night one year prior. With her husband sleeping peacefully next to her, her infant son was taken from his crib. Disappearing without a trace. In the year that followed, Isabelle’s life slowly disintegrates. And with the latest nail to her crumbling life, she has separated from her husband. Living in the eerie quiet of her home, Isabelle is lucky to get a few minutes of sleep, if any at all.
Making matters worse, what little clues she has been able to find amount to nothing. Creating severe desperation that even Isabelle doesn’t know what is real and what is in her head. Until, a true crime podcaster with a yen for solving mysteries, approaches her offering his help.
At this point, she has nothing to lose, reluctantly inviting him into her home, into the nightmare that is her life. Together, the pair follows the trail of Isabelle’s missing son—even when that trail leads them back to Isabelle’s childhood home, a place she has been avoiding at all costs.
Stacy Willingham creates a masterful mystery
Isabelle is the perfect “unreliable narrator”. The grief that Isabelle feels is so relatable, adding more to your immersion within the story. As her desperation increases, the more palpable it feels, the deeper you dive into the story.
With the addition of each “past” timeline, the layer of complexity and intrigue grows. Traveling back to Isabelle’s childhood home, the site of a terrible tragedy. Isabelle’s life was never the same after that incident. And although she knows she has done something terrible, everything from that night is hazy. Could the secret Isabelle she has repressed for years—manifested itself in her adult life, and cause her to harm her son?
At times, the story was slow, not to the point of boredom, but to allow the tension to build. And with each piece of foreshadowing that happened in earlier stages of the book expertly laid, the story unfolds, connecting the dots until the end.
The ending was quite satisfying. As you discover the things that Isabelle does you can’t help but feel like the way that the story turned you would do yourself if given the opportunity.
Reading the latest edition of Willingham’s works, and thoroughly enjoying them, solidifying her as an auto-buy author for me. Of course, how could I not make her an auto-buy author? I loved how messy and complicated the characters are. None is without faults, and none is pure evil either. This is an excellent second novel from Willingham, well worth adding to your 2023 to-be-read list.
I received a free review copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. All opinions are my own.