Review of All the Dangerous Things by Stacy Willingham
I was hooked on Willingham's past and present storylines and by her unreliable narrator Isabelle, who is desperate to find her missing son--even if it means facing the painful truth of her own traumatic history.
A year ago, Isabelle Drake's toddler son was taken from her. She can't rest until Mason is returned to her (she's not sleeping except for catnaps, and she's starting to fall apart physically and mentally), so when a true-crime podcaster offers to interview her and get the story out so Mason may be more likely to be found, she says yes.
Isabelle can't stop searching for her son, but she begins to wonder if she's an unreliable source of memories surrounding Mason's death.
Her own pain and delirium make her wonder whether her lost child, estranged husband, estranged parents, her other heartbreaking losses, her unaccounted-for hours sleepwalking, and others' mysterious reactions to her mean she's somehow to blame for the ruins of her life. Or does she continually have bad luck and understandably shuts down her connections to others to avoid further heartbreak?
Is she paranoid, or is the podcaster taking too deep of an interest in Isabelle's personal past rather than trying to solve the mystery of Mason's disappearance?
I have a realllly tough time reading missing-children stories, and somehow I missed that key plot point of Willingham's newest mystery before settling in to read it, but I felt somewhat confident that I was in good hands with Willingham and that things might turn out all right--if not neatly, then without unimaginable horrors coming to light.
I like the way Willingham builds tension and offers twists without making me feel manipulated by shifty details. I was hooked on both the past and present timelines of this story.
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Willingham is also the author of A Flicker in the Dark.
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