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All The Dangerous Things by Stacy Willingham: FAQs + Books Like It

Updated: Aug 14, 2023

Since I've read Stacy Willingham's books in the past, I know that when I pick one up there's no putting it down until it's finished. So when I started her latest release, All the Dangerous Things, I gave myself a full Sunday to just get lost in the story. As expected, it was an un-put-down-able, whirlwind of suspense and mystery that had me guessing right up until the very last second. (Kindle | Kobo | Hardcover)


But now that I've finished it, I'm able to answer some of the questions I had going into it and while reading it that I suspect you will have as well. I will also, as always, provide you with a list of five books like All the Dangerous Things to look at reading next if you're keen to read another good psychological thriller. (Warning: This article contains spoilers)

All The Dangerous Things by Stacy Willingham

What is the Book All the Dangerous Things About?

The book All the Dangerous Things by Stacy Willingham is about a mother, Isabelle Drake, whose son, Mason, is kidnapped in the middle of the night from his nursery. After a year with no leads or suspects, Isabelle is desperate for answers when she meets Waylon Spencer, a true crime podcast host who offers to help her look at the case from a new perspective. As she lets Waylon into her life though, Isabelle becomes suspicious of his questions and the intentions behind them. Should she trust him? Or is it the people closest to her that she shouldn't trust?


Is All the Dangerous Things Scary?

No, I wouldn't say All the Dangerous Things is outright scary. It is, however, suspenseful and unnerving at times.


How Long Does It Take to Read All the Dangerous Things?

According to How Long to Read, it will take the average reader approximately 5 hours and 6 minutes to read All the Dangerous Things.


Who Are the Main Characters in All the Dangerous Things?

There are quite a few characters in this book to keep track of, but here's a list of the main ones:

  • Isabelle Drake - Mason's mother, Ben's second wife

  • Ben Drake - Mason's father, Isabelle's ex-husband

  • Mason Drake - Isabelle and Drake's son

  • Allison Drake - Ben's first wife

  • Waylon Spencer - Podcast host, Allison's brother

  • Valerie Sherman - Ben’s mistress

  • Margaret Rhett - Isabelle's little sister

  • Elizabeth Rhett - Isabelle's mother

  • Henry Rhett - Isabelle's father


What Happens to Margaret in All the Dangerous Things?

Margaret is murdered by her own mother, Elizabeth, in All the Dangerous Things. Elizabeth had just lost her third daughter, Eloise, in childbirth and was suffering from postpartum psychosis. This condition caused her to "wax and wane, meaning a woman can be lucid enough to hold a conversation, then suffer hallucinations and delusions just hours later." As a result of this, she drowned Margaret and intended to do it to Isabelle too, except Henry, her husband, found them and stopped it before Elizabeth could continue.


Is Mason Found in All the Dangerous Things?

Yes - Mason is found alive and is returned to Isabelle in All the Dangerous Things. He was kidnapped by his father's mistress, Valerie, who then gave him to a woman she knew who was desperate for a child.


Who Is Waylon in All the Dangerous Things?

Waylon is not just the host of a true crime podcast, he is also the brother of Allison, Ben's deceased first wife. His intention was to work with Isabelle to learn more about Ben and find out whether or not Ben killed his sister.


How Does the Book All the Dangerous Things End?

After learning that she was not responsible for Margaret's death, but her mother was, Isabelle returns home. When she does, she figures out that Waylon is actually Allison's brother. They meet and Waylon explains that he suspects Ben is responsible for Allison's death.


This leads Isabelle to believe that Ben is responsible for kidnapping Mason, so she attempts to warn his new girlfriend, Valerie, that he is dangerous. However, when she does, she discovers that Valerie had been Ben's mistress since before Mason was taken. Valerie then confesses to kidnapping Mason, which causes Isabelle to physically attack her. Valerie dies in the fight and Isabelle stages the crime scene and plants evidence that point toward Ben as the killer. Later, Ben is arrested for Valerie's death.


It is at this point that the police find out that Valerie gave Mason to a woman from her grief counseling sessions who was desperate for a child. Mason is then rescued and returned to Isabelle one year after he disappeared.


5 Books Like All the Dangerous Things by Stacy Willingham

If you finished All the Dangerous Things and are left wanting more, then here are my top five recommendations of books like it to check out next.


A Flicker in the Dark by Stacy Willingham

1. A Flicker in the Dark by Stacy Willingham

First and foremost, let's start with the Stacy Willingham book that made me a fan. A Flicker in the Dark is similar to All the Dangerous Things in that both have an unreliable female narrator and a reporter/podcast host with alternative motives. Apart from that though, the story is very different but equally intriguing. Here's a short description: Chloe Davis is the daughter of a man who was convicted of kidnapping and murdering six local girls 20 years ago. However, when girls begin disappearing in exactly the same way again, Chlose knows it can't be him this time. So, who is it then?


What Lies in the Woods by Kate Alice Marshall

2. What Lies in the Woods by Kate Alice Marshall

If you were as convinced as I was that Waylon had something to do with the disappearance of Mason and had purposefully inserted himself in Isabelle's life, then you'll have a field day with the podcast host in What Lies in the Woods. This book is about Naomi, a woman who survived a brutal knife attack in the woods as a child. As an adult, she's tried to put it behind her, but she's sucked back in when her friend who witnessed the attack desperately asks her to return. When she does though, her friend is murdered, and now she has to face the truth about the past and present to solve her murder with the help of a true crime podcast host.


The Family Game by Catherine Steadman

3. The Family Game by Catherine Steadman

If Ben from All the Dangerous Things gave you the heebie-jeebies, just wait until you meet Harry's fiance and his family in The Family Game. To me, this book was totally unique and still lives rent-free in my head. Here's what it's about: Harry Reed is about to marry America's wealthiest bachelor, Edward Holbeck, even though she has never met his family. As she begins to be invited into the family's inner circle, she senses that they're not just your average quirky and annoying in-laws - they're something far more sinister and terrifying. Can she find out why exactly that is before the wedding?


Rock Paper Scissors by Alice Feeney

4. Rock Paper Scissors by Alice Feeney

Personally, I always find psychological thrillers with mistresses and love triangles interesting. But none have quite caused the same level of shock and confusion as the plot twist in Rock Paper Scissors by Alice Feeney. So, if you liked that element of All the Dangerous Things, then definitely consider adding this one to your list. It's about a couple who win a weekend away in the remote Scottish Highlands and it's only when they arrive that they realize someone is playing a very dark and twisted game on them. Now it's not just a matter of whether their marriage will survive, but will they?


We Are All the Same in the Dark by Julia Heaberlin

5. We Are All the Same in the Dark by Julia Heaberlin

If Isabelle from All the Dangerous Things was a police officer, I imagine she would have been something like Odette in We Are All the Same in the Dark by Julia Heaberlin. Here's why: Odette's brother was suspected of murdering her childhood friend, Trumanell, and the people of their hometown have never let it go. So, when her brother finds and rescues a young girl, Odette fears what the locals might do if they find out. She then begins the race to find out who the young girl is and what really happened to Trumanell. It's an investigation that will put not only her job as a police officer in jeopardy but her life as well.

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