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Kill All Your Darlings

Updated: Aug 3, 2021

By David Bell

A Suspenseful and Captivating Story of Plagiarism, Murder and Sexual Harassment in Academia.



College professor Connor Nye has been off his game ever since his wife and son tragically passed away five years ago. With the threat of not making tenure in the English Department, Connor publishes the thesis of one of his students as his own. Two years earlier Madeline O’Brien, Connor’s star student went missing, and Connor was the last person to see her. Since Madeline was presumed dead, Connor figured it wouldn’t hurt anyone to publish her novel as his own.

When Madeline shows up on his doorstep on the day of the book’s release, demanding the proceeds from the book, Conor is astounded. But it is who shows up on his doorstep days later that has him even more perplexed. The book documents details of the murder of a local woman, a friend of Madeline’s, that happened over two and a half years ago. The police inform Connor that the book contains previously undisclosed information about the murder. Now the police want to know how Connor could possibly know that information, unless he was the killer. Now Connor must decide whether to admit his plagiarism or be changed with murder.


KILL ALL YOUR DARLINGS is a captivating and suspenseful story of plagiarism, murder, and sexual harassment in academia. It could be a story that was ripped from today headlines.

The novel explores the shocking depths people will go to protect their reputation. It’s a delightfully brisk and fast-moving read. The cleverly-layered writing shifts back and forth in time and is told from various perspectives. The read is well worth the challenge.

Author David Bell has created a robust cast of characters that include students, professors, the police detectives. The characters add drama and suspense to the story. You won’t know who to trust, and you can't help but appreciate the skillfully executed twists and turns.

I was perplexed by the choice of the title for the book, until I read the epigraph and realized it was a William Faulkner quote, “In writing, you must kill all your darlings.” Cute, given it’s a book within a book. Bell is the author of thirteen novels. His most recent mysteries include The Request (2020), Layover (2019), and Somebody’s Daughter (2018).

Thanks to Netgalley and Berkley for an advance reading copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Publisher Berkley

Published July 6, 2021

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