The Three Deaths of Willa Stannard
A missing child, a small town’s secrets, and a desperate killer set the stage for a darkly wrought debut novel that will haunt readers long after the last page. Perfect for fans of Julia Heaberlin and Chevy Stevens.
It’s not that they’ve been all that close in the past few years, but sisters Willa and Sawyer Stannard are bonded by the ups and downs of the life they’ve lived with their mercurial single mother. When Willa is found dead in her apartment from an apparent suicide, Sawyer just knows it’s not possible. A cryptic note from the acclaimed broadcast journalist leads police to rule out foul play. Shattered by grief—and obsessed by the idea that her sister’s death was not a suicide—Sawyer plunges into a search for the truth.
When Sawyer learns that Willa was writing an explosive true crime book about the decades-old disappearance of a toddler that rocked a small town hundreds of miles away, she’s even more convinced that Willa’s death is suspicious. Believing it is somehow connected to the research Willa was doing for the book, Sawyer begins to trace her sister’s steps, deep into a community she can’t begin to understand and to a truth that could destroy her as easily as it did Willa.
As she masterfully ratchets up the suspense, Robards never loosens her grip in a debut novel sure to keep readers guessing—and talking.
Praise for The Three Deaths of Willa Stannard
“A welcome debut that’s both a fleet thriller and a pathology of sisterhood at its most harrowing.”
—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
“Bewitching. A dark and chilling tale of buried secrets, stolen children and family bonds that will keep you turning pages late into the night.”
—Michele Campbell, internationally bestselling author of It’s Always the Husband
“Told through dual POVs, this twisty thriller unravels multiple mysteries, masterfully ramping up the tension to uncover the Stannard family’s dark secrets. Robards’ gripping novel will have you second guessing how well you really know your own family.”
—Steph Mullin & Nicole Mabry, co-authors of The Family Tree and When She Disappeared
“Gone Girl meets True Detective—a slick tale of the bond between sisters with a compelling dose of true crime at its heart. Glossy and gripping, I had to know what had happened to Willa.”
—Harriet Walker, author of The It Girl and The Wedding Night
“Dark family secrets, chilling turns, and hauntingly real characters all add up to a gripping debut. From page one, Robards immerses the reader in Willa’s twisted world, and I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough.”
—Liv Andersson, author of Little Red House