Saturday, April 22, 2023

All the Dangerous Things by Stacy Willingham

Rating: 4.5 of 5 stars 
Pages: 326 pages
Published: January 2023

All the Dangerous Things by Stacy Willingham had been sitting on my physical TBR (to be read) shelf for quite some time. I purchased it December 2022 with my monthly Book of the Month credit, but I didn't get around to reading it until April 2023 when I nominated it for my work book club read. The story centers around Isabelle Drake who literally cannot sleep since her toddler son, Mason, went missing nearly a year prior. This traumatic event has cost her marriage as well as shuteye time. To keep Mason's case alive, Isabelle accepts speaking engagements in hopes that a new clue will come forward to lead her to her son. The book opens at one such event where she is approached by a podcaster who wants to help give her story some exposure by producing a series of episodes (think NYT's Serial podcast). With help from this new avenue, Isabelle begins to recall more about Mason's disappearance and the death of her sister when she was a child, both events leading her closer to the truth. 

This is not my first Willingham read, I thoroughly enjoyed A Flicker in the Dark when I read it in July 2022, which prompted my purchase of her latest book. Willingham is an excellent writer and a mistress of suspense. She captures the reader early only, giving them no choice but to continue reading until reaching the end. While I enjoy a suspense-filled thriller, I also appreciated the other themes the author touched on with respect to motherhood, guilt and a sense of morality (or lack thereof) in personal choices.  

For those who might be wondering: My work book club enjoyed the book, but it was like the third book that involved a missing child so it wasn't received as well as it could have been if we'd selected different topics. 

Recommendation: I highly recommend this book for mystery lovers and armchair detectives who find crime-solving entertaining. The author provides enough red herrings to keep you guessing, but enough valid clues to keep you invested. The book could be triggering for some because it involves a missing child; however, I found the overall plot to be palatable and well executed. I can't wait to see if Willingham writes a third book and if it's also picked up by Book of the Month - which rarely disappoints in its monthly choices. 

Until next time ... Read on!

Regardless of whether I purchase a book, borrow a book, or receive a book in exchange for review, my ultimate goal is to be honest, fair, and constructive. I hope you've found this review helpful.


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