Slow-burning suspense with dark twists!
Stacy Willingham is the New York Times, USA Today, and internationally bestselling author of A Flicker in the Dark and All The Dangerous Things. She earned her BA in magazine journalism from the University of Georgia and her MFA in writing from the Savannah College of Art and Design. Before turning to fiction, she was a copywriter and brand strategist for various marketing agencies. Her books are being translated into over 30 languages. She lives in Charleston, South Carolina, with her husband, Britt, and Labradoodle, Mako, where she is always working on her next book.
Told in a dual narrative, when we first meet Isabelle Drake, she’s a mother on the edge of sanity. It’s been one full year of insomnia since her son, Mason, was taken from his bed in the middle of the night, and police have no leads. But Isabelle’s childhood is shaded by a similar tragic event—the ‘accidental’ death of her little sister—and no matter how hard she tries, she can’t shake her past or the secret her parents’ made her promise to keep. The past timeline adds a nice layer of complex detail to her character adding the possibility of mental illness as a hereditary condition.
This book tapped into one of my worst fears, hooking me on page one and slowly leading tying up every single loose end. I felt like there were so many layers to this story, and as each piece unraveled, I was pulled deeper into the mysterious world of motherhood and mental health—two topics that fascinate me. I enjoyed the author’s ability to immerse the reader into the dark southern vibes and eerie setting of Savannah, Georgia. The memory flashbacks were vivid and dreamlike, leading me to believe that Isabelle might be capable of something very dark, making the twist at the end even more satisfying. Her characters were fleshed out and real—all messy and conflicted—and I had no issues distinguishing between them. This novel is definitely slower-paced than I’m used to, but there was enough tension to keep me turning pages. However, there were so many details to unravel, that if the pace had been faster then the story probably would have been harder to follow.
I recommend to readers who enjoy domestic thrillers with unreliable narrators, and slow-burning suspense.
PUBLISHED JANUARY 10TH, 2023
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.