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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

All the Dangerous Things

Narrator: Karissa Vacker

Macmillan Audio

ISBN: 9781250803856

Publisher: St. Martin's Press/ Minotaur Books

Publication Date: 01/10/2023

Format: e-book and audio 🎧

My Rating: 5 Stars ++ (ARC)

Following up on her instant New York Times bestseller, A Flicker in the Dark, Stacy Willingham delivers a totally gripping thriller about a desperate mother with a troubled past in All the Dangerous Things.

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-guessing who she can trust... including herself. But she is determined to figure out the truth no matter where it leads.

My Review

Southern storyteller Stacy Willingham returns following her smashing debut hit, A FLICKER IN THE DARK, with her sophomore novel, which is even better, ALL THE DANGEROUS THINGS —a compelling, emotionally charged psychological thriller standalone based on every mother's worst nightmare.

A mother's toddler son is abducted—and she questions her memories and past.

Complex characters, heart-pounding suspense, and a stunning conclusion. What starts as a child abduction warps into something far more twisted and nefarious.

Journalist Isabelle Drake struggles with overwhelming grief and guilt a year after her toddler son, Mason, disappeared one night from their Savannah, Georgia, home.

She cannot sleep, wrestling with severe insomnia, after what happened and second-guessing what she could have done differently. It has been over a year. Her 18-month-old son was abducted from his crib in the middle of the night.

Her husband, Ben, left her six months ago and has already found a girlfriend, Valerie. He seems to have moved on. Something Isabelle cannot do. Ben never really wanted to be a father.

Ben made her feel guilty for working part-time as a writer traveling to North Carolina. But she knew she could not be a good person or mother without first being true to herself.

Did it ignite something dangerous in Ben? NO CLUES or suspects. She cannot rest or move on with her life until he is found.

She will do whatever it takes, including speaking at conferences about her son. Anything to keep the case alive and draw out anyone who knows anything about her son.

While speaking at the TrueCrimeCon convention, she is approached by Waylon Spencer, a successful podcaster solving cold cases. He offers to help Isabella and get her story out to a broader audience with the hope of finding Mason.

However, to do so, he has to delve deeper into Isabelle's background, causing some unwanted memories to resurface, including a childhood tragedy.

What is Waylon's connection?

Her sister drowned, and it ended her father's congressional career. What happened that night in the marshes so long ago with her sister (Margaret), mother, herself, and father? What is her family hiding?

Who took Mason? Is he still alive? Who can she trust to help her? Can she even trust her memories of that night? Where nothing is as it appears.

Haunting! A perfect title, a beautifully rendered tale with vivid descriptions of the area, and excellent storytelling.

The novel is told from the point of view of Isabelle. Alternating from past and present, we learn of her childhood and early relationship with her husband, Ben.

"But aren't all of our lives just stories we tell ourselves? Stories we try to craft so perfectly and cast out into the world? Stories that become so vivid, so real, that eventually, we start to believe them too?"

From highly charged topics of mental health, motherhood, trauma, memories, marriage, and grief—as well as dark hidden family secrets are explored. The author handles them with compassion and sensitivity.

Captivating, atmospheric, vivid, lyrical, disturbing, thought-provoking, and emotional!

There are flawed, complicated, and messy women characters. We see in the novel firsthand, the damage and social pressures and weight on women and expectations of motherhood. I enjoyed the Author's Notes and resources about mental health included.

I enjoyed reading the e-book and listening to the audiobook, narrated by one of my favorite narrators, the fabulous Karissa Vacker! The performance was spellbinding. Highly recommend the audiobook.

I fell in love with Stacy's debut, and her fans and new ones will devour ALL THE DANGEROUS THINGS. Fans of authors, Matt Goldman, Mary Kubica, and Jennifer Hillier's Little Secrets will enjoy.

Check out my #AuthorElevatorSeries Interview with Stacy (A Flicker In the Dark), where we go behind the scenes of the author and book.

@JudithDCollins | #JDCMustReadBooks

Pub Date: Jan 10, 2023

My Rating: 5 🌟 STARS


"True crime's trending appeal and Willingham's mastery of the domestic mystery promise popularity for this one... those who crave resolution will appreciate that Willingham tucks the story's ends in tight."

–Booklist (starred review)

"[A] lyrical thriller... this involving, thought-provoking page-turner raises disturbing questions about the nature of the stories people tell themselves to make sense of the world. Willingham remains an author to watch." ―Publishers Weekly

"Pacey and sinister, All the Dangerous Things has a palpable tension that keeps the pages turning."

―Karin Slaughter

"All the Dangerous Things explores the often devastating secrets within families, the hard days of early motherhood, and the lies we not only tell each other but ourselves. Packed full of twists and turns, I couldn’t stop frantically turning the pages. Stacy is a must-read author for me now." ―Sarah Pearse

“Brilliant! With a sure hand, the author draws us inexorably into a harrowing blend of gothic storytelling and psychological suspense, dishing up new shocks every time another layer is peeled back. I was as sleepless as our protagonist―since I had to finish this marvelous thriller in one sitting!”

―Jeffrey Deaver

“A sensational thriller… Dark, engrossing, and atmospheric… sublime tension. EXCELLENT.”

— Will Dean

Praise for A Flicker in the Dark

"[Karissa] Vacker switches easily between the higher female voices and the lower male voices, creating recognizable and believable characters.... Listeners will enjoy a gripping and twisty story." —AudioFile on Earphones Award winner A Flicker in the Dark

"Exceptionally smart, entertaining."

―The Washington Post

The gripping A Flicker in the Dark sets a terrific course for the new year, shining a bright light on a new author to savor in Willingham.”

―Oline Cogdill, South Florida Sun Sentinel

“A smart, edge-of-your-seat story with plot twists you’ll never see coming. Stacy Willingham’s debut will keep you turning pages long past your bedtime.”

―Karin Slaughter

Check out my FUN

Stacy Willingham

(2022) debut



About the Author

Photo Credit: Mary Hannah Harte Photography, LLC

Stacy Willingham is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of A Flicker in the Dark, as well as the upcoming All The Dangerous Things.

Before turning to fiction, she was a copywriter and brand strategist for various marketing agencies and earned her BA in magazine journalism from the University of Georgia and MFA in writing from the Savannah College of Art and Design. Her work is currently being translated in over 30 countries.

She lives in Charleston, South Carolina, with her husband, Britt, and Labradoodle, Mako, where she is always working on her next book.

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