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Kill All Your Darlings - a professor plagiarizes his first novel and finds himself a murder suspect.

In a Kentucky University, popular English Professor Connor Nye, who tragically lost his wife and son, has just published his first novel, securing him tenure. It’s a thriller called “My Best Friend’s Murder.” After a local book-signing, he returns home and finds Madeline, a former student, in his house. She has been missing for two years with most people presuming she is dead. But she is very much alive and wants all the money Connor has received from the book. The novel was actually her senior thesis which Connor claimed as his own work. As Connor tries to sort out his predicament, the police come calling. Detective Bowman has just read the new book. There are details in the story that are very close to never-revealed occurrences from an unsolved case that took place two years ago when Sophie, a young married woman, was murdered. Sophie was a friend of Madeline's. Connor becomes a suspect in the murder. His life becomes a nightmare. If Connor admits he plagiarized the book, he loses everything. If he keeps quiet, he might be charged with murder.


Kill All Your Darlings is an enjoyable, fast-paced mystery that grabbed me from the start and held my interest throughout. A cast of highly unreliable characters surround Connor and he is unsure who he can trust as he tries to figure everything out. Connor makes bad decision after bad decision but he’s a man who has lost a lot and you’ll find yourself pulling for him. (OK, you may get a little exasperated as he's supposed to be a smart man.) The story is effectively told from multiple perspectives in the present and the past. Seasoned thriller readers will probably figure it all out, but the book is a worthwhile and fun read. (Loved that Connor’s elderly dog is named Grendel.)


Many thanks to NetGalley and Berkley Publishing Group for the opportunity to read Kill All Your Darlings in advance of its publication. This is the first novel I have read by David Bell and I’ll be watching for what he writes next.


Rated 4 out of 5 stars.

Mystery / Thriller.

Publication Date: July 6, 2021


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