All the Dangerous Things by Stacy Willingham




At the opening of the book, the narrator gives the number of nights she hasn’t properly slept, which amounts to a year. This is since her baby son disappeared from his cot whilst his parents slept in another room. Unfortunately, not everyone she comes across is terribly sympathetic. It soon becomes clear why.

Told in the first person by the mother of the missing child, she comes across as a self-absorbed person at times, appearing at real crime conventions, giving interviews a year after the tragic event. Evidence doesn’t point at a break-in or anything violent. It is as if he just disappeared and the police can do little more. For the first half of the book it seems to be about bagging her dishy married boss and privately deciding to get pregnant.  All very tedious. Then she meets up with a true-crime podcaster and everything changes.

The timeline goes between the present and her childhood, where fragments remain about her family, especially her sister. The pace increases in the second half of the book, creepier, more disturbing and totally immersive. The story is tense and atmospheric and expertly expressed through to the unexpected ending, where everything is explained.

The themes are concerned with guilt: perceived and actual, typically for women and especially mothers, but also for men.  The search for truth and justice, silence and secrets.  A great read, recommended.

​Also by Stacy Willingham: A Flicker in the Dark



Published by HarperCollins on 2 February 2023.
​Advanced review copy supplied by the publisher.

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    All images copyright A.J. Sefton 2023. Model: Amanda Pennington.

Published at Thu, 02 Feb 2023 00:00:00 +0000

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