Book Review: All the Dangerous Things by Stacy Willingham

Review by Sean Smith, Head of Adult Services

If you have been watching this space, you may have seen that one of my top choices for 2022 (and awarded the coveted Golden Gould award) was Stacy Willingham’s novel A Flicker in the Dark. So, I eagerly awaited the release of Willingham’s newest book, All The Dangerous Things, in January 2023.

Willingham’s second novel, another psychological thriller, in my opinion, does not disappoint. It features a young mother who is searching for her young two year old son who was kidnapped from her home, while the police, her husband, and seemingly the world, move on and assume the worst. Isabelle cannot move on, even as it takes a toll on her health with lack of sleep. After a true crime conference where she pleads for the return of her son Mason, she has an unexpected offer from a podcaster to focus on her story in an attempt to solve the case once and for all.

As you can probably guess Isabelle has some dark secrets of her own that she does not share or discuss with others. And, guess, what! Others around her also have deep dark secrets, too. This can be a tiring part of this genre, but I found Isabelle’s paranoia and self-alienation due to secrets the most gripping portion of the book, and of course, satisfying when the mystery starts to unravel. Once light shines on deep secrets held by those that surround Isabelle, Isabelle’s assumptions about herself- unchallenged by this self-imposed alienation- are completely shattered.

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