cover image All the Dangerous Things

All the Dangerous Things

Stacy Willingham. Minotaur, $27.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-250-80385-6

Journalist Isabelle Drake, the narrator of this lyrical thriller from bestseller Willingham (A Flicker in the Dark), is struggling with overwhelming grief and guilt a year after her toddler son, Mason, disappeared one night from their Savannah, Ga., home. She’s tried just about anything to find Mason, even addressing conventions of true crime addicts, but these emotionally draining efforts don’t seem to be making any more headway than the stalled police investigation—which is why the usually guarded Isabelle agrees to cooperate with podcaster Waylon Spencer in hopes of persuading any listeners with possible leads to come forward. Answering Waylon’s painfully probing questions, including ones delving into the childhood tragedy that ended her father’s congressional career, could either provide the fresh perspective the podcaster promises—or prove one of her worst decisions ever. Though some of the climactic twists don’t quite convince, Isabelle’s vivid memories of a past she’s coming to question nicely intersect with her increasingly dangerous drive for answers. 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 a writer to watch. Agent: Dan Conaway, Writers House. (Jan.)