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Kill All Your Darlings

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When a student disappears and is presumed dead, her professor passes off her manuscript as his own--only to find out it implicates him in an unsolved murder in this new thriller from the USA Today bestselling author of The Request.

After years of struggling to write following the deaths of his wife and son, English professor Connor Nye publishes his first novel, a thriller about the murder of a young woman.

There's just one problem: Connor didn't write the book. His missing student did. And then she appears on his doorstep, alive and well, threatening to expose him.

Connor's problems escalate when the police insist details in the novel implicate him in an unsolved murder from two years ago. Soon Connor discovers the crime is part of a disturbing scandal on campus and faces an impossible dilemma--admit he didn't write the book and lose his job or keep up the lie and risk everything. When another murder occurs, Connor must clear his name by unraveling the horrifying secrets buried in his student's manuscript.

This is a suspenseful, provocative novel about the sexual harassment that still runs rampant in academia--and the lengths those in power will go to cover it up.

416 pages, Hardcover

First published July 6, 2021

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About the author

David Bell

31 books2,042 followers
David Bell is a USA Today bestselling and award-winning suspense novelist. His most recent thriller from Berkley/Penguin is KILL ALL YOUR DARLINGS. His previous novels include THE REQUEST, LAYOVER, SOMEBODY'S DAUGHTER, BRING HER HOME, SINCE SHE WENT AWAY, SOMEBODY I USED TO KNOW, THE FORGOTTEN GIRL, NEVER COME BACK, THE HIDING PLACE, and CEMETERY GIRL. He is currently a Professor of English at Western Kentucky University and can be reached via his website at www.davidbellnovels.com, on Twitter at Twitter.com/davidbellnovels, and on Facebook at Facebook.com/davidbellnovels.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 690 reviews
Profile Image for MarilynW.
1,198 reviews3,039 followers
June 3, 2022
Kill All Your Darlings by David Bell

English professor, Connor Nye, spent several years in a fog, after his wife and son where killed in a freak accident. Any chance of publishing a book, which was a must for him get tenure and keep his job, was just not there. Connor didn't have it in him when he had trouble just getting out of bed in the morning. Really, his dog Grendel was all that kept him going. 

So when a student, Madeline, disappears and is presumed dead, leaving her excellent thesis novel in Connor's hands, he edits it and publishes it as his own work. Now that the book is out, Madeline is back and she wants the money Connor is getting for the book. The story, with names and places changed, seems to parallel a real life murder in their university town so the police are very interested in talking to Connor since he seems to know some previously undisclosed facts about the murder. 

Connor is in trouble with Madeline wanting money that he doesn't have anymore, the police wanting to know how he knows what he knows, and being on the verge of his plagiarizing going public. But there is more to things than just that. It seems that someone might want to hurt Connor physically, the police are getting closer to arresting him, and he's going to lose his job and everything he owns if he doesn't figure out what is going on around him. 

With multiple timelines and points of view, the tension stays high as nice guy Connor, who's made a big mistake, seems to make things worse no matter what he does. This is my favorite David Bell book so far. I love that Connor thinks of Grendel and makes sure he's safe, when things look like they could blow up in Connor's face. 

Pub July 6th 2021

Thank you Berkley Publishing Group and NetGalley for this ARC.
Profile Image for jessica.
2,555 reviews35.6k followers
July 22, 2021
2021 is the year for plagiarism thrillers and im here for it.

this is my first time reading a DB book and i have to say im impressed. i tend to be the most critical of mystery/thrillers as i need the twists and thrills to really shock me and thats a tall order. and while i did find some elements of this to be predictable, there is a lot i really enjoyed about this book.

what i loved most is the plot - a stolen manuscript being published and then implicating the thief in a murder is honestly top notch content. and the pacing in this is really well done. the chapters are short, but dont feel rushed. they give enough information to keep you hooked and are structured in a way to make you want to start the next chapter immediately. and the alternating between past and present is also really effective.

very enjoyable and, while not as thrilling as i may have wanted, the storytelling and plot are worth praising. definitely going to pick up another book by DB in the future!

4 stars
Profile Image for Nilufer Ozmekik.
2,307 reviews44k followers
October 19, 2021
Whoa! I liked this original concept! Mr. Bell constructed a delicious dilemma and created a quiet fascinating thriller story centered on this true catch 22 of a college professor: admitting the plagiarism he’d involved or getting convicted for brutal murders he had nothing to do with.

Connor Nye is a popular English professor who has good connections with his students, especially with Madeline who is ambitious one, has so much potential to be aspiring future writer. Connor supports her pursue her dreams but after receiving her thesis, he finds out Madeline is vaporized into thin air. Nobody hears from her.

Connor still struggles the loss of his wife and kid, trying to focus on writing a book but his profession takes too much of his energy and his delicate mind suffering from grief creates an ugly writer’s block to prevent him create something substantial. After his student’s loss, he is just captivated by the idea to turn the thesis into a thriller novel and his inner demon whispered to his ear: “What harm can he cause? His student is already MIA!

He listens his inner demons and publishes his book and his dear student decides to come back to demand her share!

In the meantime the police officers knock his door to question him about the details mentioned in his book which are similar with a murder that occurred before Madeline’s disappearance!

Oh, no! You should have thought harder to steal someone’s work, dear professor! Could that thesis be based on real experiences of Madeline?

Well, it seems like Madeline will get away with murder she is truly connected with! In the meantime all the fingers point at the professor who is under the pressure to decide what to tell the police! If tells the truth, his entire career and reputation will be ruined and if he doesn’t confess, he may find himself behind the bars!

It was smart, riveting, twisty, great concept and Connor was truly easy to sympathize! He was suffering from grief, trying to find a way out and making bad decisions to start from fresh! Now he needs to find a good way to come clean, leaving this entire mess behind!

Well earned four mysterious, plagiarism, writer’s block, grief, whodunnit stars!

Special thanks to NetGalley and Berkley Publishing For Sharing this digital reviewer copy with me in exchange my honest opinions.
Profile Image for Meredith (Trying to catch up!).
815 reviews12.7k followers
August 29, 2021
3.5 stars

A decent read, but it didn't knock my socks off.

Kill All Your Darlings is a solid mystery about a down on your luck professor who finally achieves acclaim by plagiarizing his best-selling novel. When the original writer begins blackmailing him for money, a series of events unfold exposing the twisted history of the Commonwealth University English Department.

Since the death of his wife and son, Professor Connor Nye is struggling. With tenure on the online, he publishes a sensational thriller. But there’s one problem, Connor stole the novel from one of his former students who went missing two years ago. Making things even more problematic is that Connor’s novel details a cold case.

More and more problems emerge for Connor as he soon finds himself the main suspect in a murder investigation.

Narrated by Connor and Madeline, both make compelling narrators. I loved Connor's dog, Grendel. There are some casualties, but Grendel makes it out safely!

The premise held my attention, but parts of the book were too drawn out, and, at times, I was a little bored. The ending was a bit predictable, but there was a solid twist.

This is a good, slower-paced mystery with some good twists and turns. While I didn't love Kill All Your Darlings, I enjoyed the premise.
Profile Image for Jayme.
1,189 reviews2,261 followers
July 15, 2021
David Bell is an auto request author for me!
So, I did not even read the book description when I pressed the “request” button-and I am glad that I didn’t!

It summarizes the entire story!

So, if you also ❤️ David Bell’s novels, just CRACK open the book and begin reading!

Here is all that you need to know..

English Professor Connor Nye has finally published a novel, a thriller called “My Best Friend’s Murder” and it has assured him tenure at the University-a relief after struggling to write following the deaths of his wife and son.

Just one problem-he didn’t write the story, that he passed off as his own work.

It was a thesis paper turned in by one of his more talented students, Madeleine O’Brien-a student who went missing two years ago and is presumed dead.

The book GRABS you from the start, as Madeleine has decided to reappear and claim the money that should rightfully be hers-and she is waiting for Connor in his living room, scratching the head of his eleven year old Beagle mix, and only companion, Grendel....

If only things were that simple-pay Madeleine and she won’t expose his plagiarism.

But, of course, it’s not that simple because if Connor had known HOW she had come up with the story-he may not have been so eager to call it his own!

It’s not just plagiarism he has to worry about now-the book has made him a suspect in an unsolved murder.

Because the book he has penned is just a little bit too similar...

The truth is exposed through chapters from the past from Madeleine’s POV, and the present through the POV’s of Connor, Madeleine and another writing student, Rebecca Knox.

As always, some questionable decisions will be made along the way!! (That is what makes this author’s stories SO MUCH FUN to read!)

Although it did not feel long, there was some repetition in the changing POV’s which maybe could have been eliminated and shortened the book from its current 416 pages.

AND, don’t worry, animal lovers! 🐶 Grendel does not come to any harm in the making of this book!

I would like to thank Elisha from Berkley for inviting me to read an early copy of this book, provided through NetGalley! It was my pleasure to provide a candid review!

Profile Image for Kaceey.
1,127 reviews3,714 followers
July 9, 2021
Every summer I look forward to the latest book by one of my favorite authors. And once again David Bell delivers a fantastic thriller I devoured over the long weekend.

Professor Connor Nye is desperate. He lives in the academic world of publish or perish. And after struggling for years he realizes his time is running out.

Madeline, one of Professor Nye’s very talented students, submits her thesis and vanishes the next day… Connor sees no harm in submitting it to a publisher as his own. I mean… no one will know he didn’t write it… except maybe Madeline! But she’s missing…right?

Oh Connor! You should have known better. It all comes crashing in on him when the premise of the book details an open murder investigation. Now the detectives are knocking on his door.

Can Conner come clean? It would mean losing everything.

As always David Bell writes an exciting thriller that will keep you turning the pages and pointing your finger at everyone.

Though I had a hard time warming up to Connor I enjoyed watching him squirm as his world started to crumble. (Lol! I’m really not that mean!)😂

Already looking forward to next year’s book by David Bell.

Posted to: https://books-are-a-girls-best-friend...

Thank you to NetGalley, Edelweiss and Berkley Publishing.
Profile Image for Debra .
2,421 reviews35.2k followers
July 2, 2021
After the death of his wife and son, College professor, Connor Nye publishes hips first book. Tenure was on the line, and he needed to do or die as they say. So, he published a book about the murder of a young woman. His book is a success but there is a catch - he did not write the book. His missing student did. Gone and presumed dead, Conner is shocked when she shows up on hips doorstep wanting the money, he earned off the sale of the book she wrote.

Just when you think that things cannot get worse, they do! His/her book implicates him in an unsolved murder of a young woman two years earlier. Details not made known to the public are in the book. The police want to know how Connor knew these details. Connor is left with a dilemma - does he say he did not write the book and lose everything, or does he hope they find the real killer even if it means risking everything. He is in a no-win situation. What would you do?

David Bell has crafted an intelligent and tense whodunit which had me on the edge of my seat, swiping the pages on my kindle and coming up with suspects in my head. I enjoyed how he showed how one bad - unbelievably bad decision can have damaging consequences on one’s life. Throughout the book, I kept thinking Connor has really stepped in it this time! His desperation to clear his name, causes him to make several poor judgement calls which had me shaking my head.

Told in dual timelines and POV’s, this book does not disappoint! I enjoyed how both storylines merged and provided more information about what is happening in the current storyline without giving away the farm! As all eyes are on Connor, I kept thinking what is going to happen next!

If you have not read a David Bell novel before, you need to get reading! Seriously, his books are beautifully written, gripping, and intelligent page turners.

Thank you to Berkley Publishing Group and NetGalley who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All the thoughts and opinions are my own.

Read more of my reviews at www.openbookposts.com

#KillAllYourDarlings #NetGalley
Profile Image for Matt.
3,820 reviews12.8k followers
June 26, 2021
First and foremost, a large thank you to NetGalley, David Bell, and Berkley for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.

David Bell does a masterful job in this novel, combining a well-paced thriller with hints of the writing process and the seedy underbelly of sexual harassment on college campuses. He is able to keep the reader committed throughout and reveals all in the closing pages when all the pieces come together. After an English professor publishes his first novel, he’s hoping for a great deal of praise. However, a former student—missing for the past two years—returns and presses him to admit that he’s used her thesis. This is the least of his worries, as the plagiarized piece includes details about a murder, as yet unsolved, that were never released to the public. Things spiral out of control as the police and college hierarchy begin to ask questions that cannot be dodged. Bell is utterly entertaining and captivating in equal measure.

Connor Nye enjoys his work as an English professor at a small Kentucky college. Having lost his wife and teenage son a number of years before, his work is everything. When Nye publishes his first novel, he is hoping for a great deal of praise and can all but guarantee tenure. Things could not be going any better for him, which fuels his emotions as he arrives home that night.

When he enters his home, Nye is greeted by one of his former students, Madeline O’Brien. This undergrad has been missing for the past two years and her surprise arrival here has Nye in a tizzy. However, things go from bad to worse when Madeline confronts him for using her honours thesis as his own novel. Madeline is keen to recoup her dignity and threatens Nye about coming clean, something that the previously faultless professor must consider.

If plagiarizing were not enough, the police are soon knocking on his door, citing that the premise of the novel resembles an unsolved crime in town from a few years before, including a number of details never released to the public. Now, Nye is faced with being changed as a suspect in the young woman’s murder. What’s worse, while Nye says that he does not know the victim, he can be played along her street many times, having used the area to walk his dog.

While the evidence begins to pile up, Nye is debating about telling the truth about his book, hoping that it will release much of the tension. However, there are more twists to come, some of which only make him look guiltier. With perspectives from Madeline in flashback chapters and a new student of Nye’s telling things in the present, the story takes on many topics as the truth is peeled back and the murder is better explored. Can Connor Nye escape the nightmare that was his attempt to get the academic pressure off his back? David Bell spins quite the tale and I could not get enough.

While I have read many books in the genre over the past while, David Bell has something that I am sure will stick with me for a lot longer than many. He has both a strong writing style as well as some unique approaches that envelop the story in both an entertaining read and educational tome on a few key subjects. The piece moves along well and keeps the reader guessing as the layers are revealed pushing the protagonist to flail between honour and truth. It’s a whodunit as well as a motive-seeking piece, which speeds along until the final few pages.

Connor Nye comes across as somewhat endearing, though his cheating a student out of her glory taints him early on. Suffering the loss of his family, Nye must keep it together as best he can, while also juggling the pressures of academia. When his lie snowballs out of control, Nye is not able to simply pull the plug on it, choosing instead to try explaining his way out of predicament. He’s determined to help his cause, while only making matters worse in short order.

Bell uses some wonderful supporting characters in this piece, as well as juicing it up with three narrative perspectives. As the story is closely tied to the murder, everyone plays their part and keeps the machine well-oiled and running in a single direction. Some characters complement one another, while others clash in needed ways to push the story’s plot along. It’s Bell’s mastering of development that proves to be the greatest accolade in this piece, fixing everyone together as needed to tell a captivating tale.

This was one of those books that took a bit for me to connect with, though when I did, it was pure magic. The plot gained momentum and I could not say enough about how the story flowed. With a mix of chapter lengths and perspectives, Bell gives the reader something they can thoroughly enjoy throughout and keeps them guessing. Plots are interwoven and twists occur repeatedly, offering the reader the chance to second guess themselves repeatedly. I have read some of Bell’s work before, but this was surely something even better than past novels, dealing with some real-life issues in academia, student rights, and the pressures of college campuses.

Kudos, Mr. Bell, for a great piece of work. I hope many find and read this in short order, as the messaging is on point and the writing easy to digest.

Be sure to check for my review, first posted on Mystery and Suspense, as well as a number of other insightful comments by other reviewers.

Love/hate the review? An ever-growing collection of others appears at:

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/...
Profile Image for Gabrielle Grosbety .
123 reviews78 followers
March 12, 2022
4.5 stars ☆

“ “If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.” ”

Kill All Your Darlings revels in revealing truths about writing, the pressure cooker of academia and obtaining tenure, and the ultimate cost that the truth can come at. Madeline, a young, intelligent student with trademark bright red hair, writes an enviably shrewd novel for her college thesis, based closely off of real-life events, to such a dangerous extent that the manuscript itself could be incriminating. Bold evidence in a mounting crime scene that threatens to derail the lives of everyone around her. Especially when her English professor, Dr. Nye, steals her work, passing it off as his own, and publishing it, once she has been missing for an extended period of time, presumed to be dead, with no hard evidence suggesting her whereabouts one way or another. He becomes a prime suspect in her disappearance and the murder of her close friend, Sophia, who the book he claims he wrote, initially unknowing about its painstakingly realistic backstory, is about, all of a sudden finding himself in a hectic whirlwind of potentially catastrophic, self-sabotaging events that now lie increasingly out of his immediate control.

“I’m twenty-four now, and isn’t it weird I can remember the feeling of loss more than the man?”

It can be a lot of debilitating stress indeed to feel the need to accomplish incessantly, publish in a condensed hurry, all the while writing something all parts beautiful, profound, authentic, and lasting that will be treasured forever. And Dr. Nye, falling prey to his relentless grief and despair about previous traumatic life events, including the death of his wife and son, seizes the opportunity to relish in the praise that writing something deep and memorable, even if not his, generates. I could notice all the ways he feels a hopeless fraud as he gives advice to students about their own creative endeavors while his own writing remains stuttering and inconsistent. Writing can be a love-to-hate, arduous, heart and soul process, a reckoning with one’s self if you will, and I think this book strongly delves to the core of that, as well as identifies how it can be lonely out there with nowhere to turn for so many, and books and stories are portholes to feelings of abundant connection that can be lacking in someone’s day-to-day.

“Who would have thought the most everyday things would be the most miraculous?”

We immortalize how someone makes us feel in our minds, accentuate the specifics of a lived moment or scene to craft our own observations that pierce and reach in necessary ways. That is precisely what is so valuable about the written word and how it strings us together and I think all these characters have a brokenness in common and also specific to their individual selves. They have to carve out ways to cope and process and that can feel alienating, overwhelming, and upsetting all in one and I thought the characterization was undeniably strong and alive throughout in getting that across.

“That’s the way it always is for women, isn’t it? Who gets to be believed and who doesn’t?”

There is also a harrowing climate of he-said, she-said brewing in Kill All Your Darlings, which outlines life-changing issues of consent and the importance of women being believed in sexual assault cases over powerful, wealthy men/the additional importance of speaking up or sharing difficulties whenever possible with those around you that you hold dear and trust. This book urges that there remains a steadfastness in sticking with each other through the tough moments, especially with our friends and family, the beauty and outreach of female empowerment, and listening to each and every voice because we all have meaningful, worthwhile contributions to make.
Profile Image for Virginie Roy.
Author 2 books624 followers
August 7, 2022
A strong 4-star rating for this book about an English professor who published a manuscript he stole from a missing student!

What will happen when this student reappears? And worst, when the police notices that details from the book seem to refer to an unsolved murder?

I added this book when I read a review saying it would appeal to fan of The Plot. I suggest to read both of them! They are different even if their premise are similar, and they are both excellent.

I loved the short chapters and the alternation between the different characters and periods of time. The pace was on point and the writing was great. It was very fluid. A note about the ending, though... It made me cringe, the confession by the culprit was so convenient and not realistic at all!

But what you have to remember from my review is to add this book if you like mystery in university settings and if you enjoy reading about books/writers. Happy reading!
Profile Image for Marialyce (on our way to Venice).
2,038 reviews709 followers
November 12, 2021
Oh gosh, this was a snooze book. 🥱From a promising beginning, it went down hill quickly. Repetitive and way too drawn out, I was sorely disappointed. ☹️
Profile Image for Jayne.
570 reviews260 followers
July 19, 2021
Didn't I just read this book?

No, I read ANOTHER book about ANOTHER professor who plagiarized and published a student's manuscript.

David Bell's "Kill All Your Darlings"(released 7/6/21) and "The Plot" by Jean Hanff Korelitz (released 5/11/21) are two new 2021 releases with professor protagonists/plagiarists who violated professional ethics and the law. Both books, too, boast a "mystery within a mystery" plotline.

I am a huge David Bell fan. This author's books are usually ultra-compelling with strong character development. David Bell has always been one of my "go-to" authors; an author who makes every word count and rarely rambles.

"Kill All Your Darlings" started off strong but then David Bell did something he never does: he rambled. The middle portion of this book was repetitious and very, very. very muddled.

This book was a 12.5-hour audiobook that could have easily been an 8-hour audiobook. Narrator Jon Lindstrom did an outstanding job with the narration.

The fact that sexual harassment on college campuses was addressed in the book was very commendable. Too much verbiage, however, lessened the impact of David Bell's powerful messaging.

Fortunately, the book's final twist and "big reveal" was signature-David Bell and reminded me why I just spent 12.5 hours of my time listening to David Bell's new book.

3.5 stars rounded up.
Profile Image for Nicole.
495 reviews161 followers
January 17, 2022
I listened to the audiobook and thought it was good. The premise of the story was intriguing. The narrator did a great job with the story and made it easy to follow the different point of views. However, I thought it was unnecessarily long and could’ve been wrapped up sooner.

English professor Connor Nye suffered from a severe case of writer’s block following the death of his wife and child. When his first novel is finally published he is so proud. The only problem is he did not actually write the it. Shortly after, a prior student of his and the actual author, who was reported missing appears on his doorstep. Connor starts sweating.

With his former student threatening to expose him, and the police drawing connections between the book and an unsolved murder, Connor is up a creek without a paddle. He is forced to make a choice; confess he didn’t write the novel and get fired, or keep his mouth shut and let the chip fall where they may. What would you do?
Profile Image for Darla.
3,514 reviews618 followers
July 11, 2022
You have just celebrated your book release with a book signing and talk at you local library. You come home to discover the person who actually wrote the book sitting in your favorite chair. That will take the zippity out of your doodah in a hurry. And we're off to the races with one of David Bell's signature "ordinary guy in extraordinary situations" once again. It is not difficult to feel sympathy for Connor Nye. He makes some bad choices, but has also had some curve balls thrown at him by life. By all accounts, he has been an encouraging and nurturing instructor -- not a creeper like some of the other characters. So, flawed but likable. The plot of this one is nicely layered and kept me guessing. I zipped through it in record time. One difficulty I had was that there were more than two timelines to keep track of and that can be a little tricky on audio. I also found that the f-bombs sprinkled in really stick out more for me in an audio book. So, not a five star experience. Good enough for me to be willing to try the next book from David Bell now that I am caught up on the titles released so far.
Profile Image for Diana | Book of Secrets.
798 reviews595 followers
July 6, 2021
✦ Plagiarism, murder, and a mystery inside a mystery in a Kentucky college town. ✦

To save his tenure, Professor Connor Nye must publish a novel, which has proved impossible since the death of his wife and son left him numb and uninspired. When one of his students disappears leaving behind a brilliant thesis paper, Connor submits it as his own book. However, after the novel is released, the missing student returns looking to collect the money Connor received for her work — or else.

But there’s much more to this layered story. What’s contained inside the plagiarized novel are words that could get certain people in a whole lot of trouble, including Connor. I enjoyed the conundrum he found himself in.

This is the 7th book I’ve read by David Bell, and I always know I’m in for a smart and twisty thriller when I pick one up. KILL ALL YOUR DARLINGS had less family drama than some of his previous books, but there was still plenty of tension and emotion to pull me in.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Jordan (Jordy’s Book Club).
386 reviews19.8k followers
July 23, 2021
QUICK TAKE: I've read a LOT of books this year about authors living their best "Talented Mr. Ripley" fantasies and stealing the lives and manuscripts of their proteges. THE PLOT, MAUD DIXON, PALACE OF THE DROWNED, and now KILL ALL YOUR DARLINGS, the latest addition to the subgenre, and probably my least favorite. This time, a college professor steals the work of a student who goes missing, only to discover the manuscript includes details of an unsolved murder that only the police and the murderer would have knowledge of. Great premise, poor execution, and I'm kinda over the no-good-terrible college professor trope. Just feels a little lazy at this point.
Profile Image for ☮Karen.
1,533 reviews9 followers
August 2, 2021
4.5 stars
Connor Nye is a professor of creative writing with a student named Madeline who happens to have written a very good novel for her thesis. When Madeline inexplicably disappears for two years, everyone assumes she's dead. Connor, who needs to make tenure and holds the only copy of Madeline's novel, makes the bold move of publishing it under his own name. And so begins his problems with the law. Because the novel very accurately describes a local murder, with details only the murderer or the police would know.

I knew Connor was deep down a decent guy. It took me awhile to get a true sense of Madeline, through riveting flashbacks. Very excellent characters and quite a plot, which I understand holds some similarities to a book actually called The Plot. But I haven't read that one yet so will hold any judgement until I do. For now I can't imagine it being any better than this was. Unputdownable!

Thanks to Goodreads for my giveaway copy.
Profile Image for Frank Phillips.
528 reviews263 followers
September 20, 2021
3.4 Stars, rounded down.
This was my second David Bell read, and overall I really enjoyed this book!
At the beginning of this story, we meet English Professor Connor Nye, who has recently published his first novel called “My Best Friend’s Murder,” assuring him tenure at the University he has works at. Previous to that, Nye tragically lost his wife and son to an accident, and resurfaced from a very dark period of mourning. Despite his loss, life must go on, and everything seems to be looking up for Nye, except there's just one thing....the story he wrote isn't actually his! Unbeknownst to everyone except Nye, the thriller was actually written by a former student of Nye's, named Madeleine O'Brien. She turned it in as her thesis paper one night after visiting Nye at home and then inexplicably disappeared, never to be heard of again!
After two years of nothing, Madeleine is presumably deceased. Unfortunately for Nye, now that he's a famous published author and enough time has passed for him to finally relax with his dark secret, Madeleine reappears, demanding the proceeds of his plagiarism! After all, she's owed!
Her sudden return ignites a fairly fast-paced suspense - how will Nye come up with the funds (which he's already spent), and keep Madeleine satisfied enough to keep quiet? If she talks, surely Nye will not only lose his tenure, but his reputation will be ruined. Will Madeleine quietly disappear again once she's paid? Why did she disappear two years back? And what's with the lady detective, who questions him about the uncanny similarities his novel has to a campus murder years earlier?? Is there more to Madeleine than just a talented writer?? All of this, in just the first couple of chapters - I was officially intrigued!
There was a substantial twist towards the second half of this story I didn't expect and it had me that much more invested, however the big final 'reveal' was one I sadly saw coming a mile away. Had Bell actually surprised me with this, I believe this book could easily have been a 4-Star read. Otherwise, I felt the writing was stellar, as was my other Bell read. The characters were impressively vivid, in all their flaws as well as their redeeming qualities. Despite the fact that he stole someone's work and passed it off as his own, I found I just couldn't help but like Nye, and was incredibly empathetic towards him overall. I concluded that one of the critical lessons in this novel was that even after making monumental mistakes, redemption is attainable, if you choose the right path....which I loved! No more details - I've probably already said too much!
Even though the story itself was just 'okay' for me, it's undeniable Bell is an incredibly talented author, and one that I will undoubtedly continue to read! I most likely will be in the minority with my 3-Star middle-of-the-road-rating, so take this review with a grain of salt and please give this novel a chance - you might very well LOVE it. Any recommendations
Profile Image for Michelle.
772 reviews108 followers
July 6, 2021
⏰ Releases Tuesday! ⏰

🚃: Book Tour with Suzy Approved

📖: Kill All Your Darlings

🖊: David Bell

📆: July 06, 2021

🖨: Berkley Publishing

“He can still be a killer but give him a redeeming quality too.😉 “

Connor Nye is an Advanced Fiction Creative Writing Professor that has done something very wrong. Desperate to succeed in life; thinking that he would never get caught, he’s shocked when his past comes back to bite him in the ass. Dr. Nye plagiarized a student’s work, who has been a missing person for six months. What could possibly go wrong except for EVERYTHING?!

When he arrives home one evening & his dog Grendel isn’t at the door barking; tail wagging, he knows that someone has been in his house & is possibly still there. But he can’t believe his eyes when he realizes what he’s faced with.

“I guess it isn’t every day that a ghost shows up in your house.”

The fun continues after this night when Detective Bowman comes banging on his door demanding answers. “My Best Friend’s Murder,” the book that he recently “wrote” & published, describes a Homicide that happened three years ago in their town. The pages describe gruesome details that were never released to the public.

“...It’s almost like you where there when she was killed.”

Now Connor is between a rock and a hard place, either admit that he wasn’t the writer and lose his career, tenure; reputation, or figure out how his former student knew this information. Either way he needs to get the spotlight off of himself as the new number one suspect for MURDER. He chooses the latter & is plunged into a world where there’s no turning back & he can trust no one.

“Try not to run...”

But before you believe Connor you must realize that he lost his wife & son to a tragic accident years ago & he’s never been the same since, he drinks, he walks his dog around aimlessly & he is lacking a real purpose in life. Most importantly, he is still a thief, so can we really trust him?

“The cops, he said, liked to cover all the exits, but if you tried hard enough, you could always find a window, a trash chute, an exhaust vent...”

You’ll never look at a scarf the same after this one. 😬

4 ⭐️.

Thank you to Suzy Approved Book Tours, David Bell, Netgalley & Berkley Publishing for my gifted copy in exchange for an honest review.

The reason why this book didn’t receive 5 stars from me:


1. The chapter placing was bizarre and often in the middle of the same section.

2. I predicted all of the twists. But, that doesn’t make them any less good.

3. I had a very hard time with the college knowing a Professor throws parties at his house for students and not doing anything about it. There definitely has to be some illegal repercussion for this, especially with all of the underage drinking. Maybe my college experience was different and this was happening under my nose.

Profile Image for Carole (Carole's Random Life).
1,796 reviews486 followers
July 6, 2021
This review can also be found at https://carolesrandomlife.com/

I really enjoyed this book! I have read several books by this author in the past and have had a lot of luck with each of them. This book was no exception. I was hooked by this story from the very beginning and it was able to keep me guessing until the very end. I found this book to be an incredibly entertaining read.

As the story opens, Connor Nye has just published his first novel. This book almost guarantees that he will finally get the tenure that he needs as a professor. There is a problem though. He didn’t write the book. He has been barely functioning at times in the years since his wife and son died. When he finds himself in possession of a student’s manuscript, he decides to publish it as his own since it is presumed that the student is dead. He will soon learn that there is another problem. The book he published implicates him in an unsolved murder.

This book was filled with twists and turns. The story started with a bang and I couldn’t wait to see how Connor would deal with the situation he found himself in. Things just seemed to get more and more complicated for him and it was soon evident that things were a lot bigger than he could have ever known. It was almost painful at times to watch these characters make decisions that I knew would most likely come back to haunt them. I had no idea who was guilty and I loved the fact that there were a lot of surprises along the way.

I would recommend this book to others. I thought that this was a well-crafted and complex mystery that kept me guessing until the very end. I definitely plan to read more of this author’s work in the future.

I received a digital review copy of this book from Berkley Publishing Group via NetGalley.

Initial Thoughts
4.5 stars! I am not sure if I will end up rounding up or down right now. I was hooked by the story early on and there were several twists that I did not see coming. It was a fast-paced story and I found myself glued to the pages. I will definitely be recommending this one.
Profile Image for Christina McDonald.
Author 10 books2,552 followers
July 26, 2021
Mystery, murder and plagiarism set in the realm of academia, Kill All Your Darlings is
diabolically twisty with an absolutely ingenious plot. A tortured English professor who can’t write. A tragic backstory. A stolen manuscript. This is suspense writing at its finest.

After years of struggling to write following the deaths of his wife and son, English professor Connor Nye publishes his first novel. The problem is, he didn’t write the book. When the real author, his missing student, appears on his doorstep alive and well, Connor’s problems are only just beginning. Because the details in the novel implicate him in an unsolved murder.

It doesn’t get more compelling than this. Sure to be one of the summer’s finest thrillers! I loved it!
Profile Image for Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews.
1,082 reviews1,411 followers
July 8, 2021
Connor finally had a book published. He needed this publication to save his tenure at the university.

The only problem is that the book is one written by a former student who has gone missing and was never found.

Well....she was never found until now.

Madeline shows up sitting in his living room demanding money for her book that was published in his name.

That isn't the only problem with the book, though.

The police question the content because it has information about a murder a few years ago that includes information that was never released to the public.

What could Connor have gotten himself into?

Should he tell the police that Madeline is alive?

Why would she put those details about killing Sophia in the book?

Questions, questions, questions and a book you won't want to put down.

Mr. Bell will again treat readers to a gripping, page-turning thriller.

You will feel the tension in all the characters as well as their confusion about the situation.

Mr. Bell simply has a way of creating books that have exceptionally real and unique, pulse-pounding story lines.

He has outdone himself with KILL ALL YOUR DARLINGS...don’t miss this ONE. 5/5

This book was given to me by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Lucy.
455 reviews86 followers
August 30, 2022
From the beginning, the reader learns Dr. Connor Nye has stolen a student's manuscript and has published it as his own. No one's more surprised than him, when the student shows up at his home to confront him. She demands the money and blackmails him. As if the wasn't bad enough, the book he published contains details about a local murder. Based on that, I was hooked on the story from the beginning.

The chapters are short and there are a few twists along the way, so it's hard to stop reading. There's tension and mystery throughout, but a times the story felt repetitive. I did, however, appreciate the multiple POVs and alternating timelines.
Profile Image for Sherri Thacker.
1,305 reviews269 followers
August 12, 2021
When David Bell writes a new book, I run, don’t walk to get it. I love most of his thrillers and this one hit it out of the park!!! Connor Nye is a college professor who steals a thesis from a student who goes missing and gets it published under his name. Oops, only she shows up after being gone for 2 years then all kinds of things start happening. This grabbed me from the very first sentence and I devoured this 400 page book in just a couple of days!! It’s that great!!!!
Profile Image for MicheleReader.
746 reviews130 followers
July 3, 2021
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 July 6, 2021 publication. This is the first novel I have read by David Bell and I’ll be watching for what he writes next.

Review posted on MicheleReader.com.
Profile Image for Chandra Claypool (WhereTheReaderGrows).
1,569 reviews329 followers
May 26, 2021
Imaging mourning the loss of your wife and child and having the added pressure of having to publish in order to reach tenure at your Uni. Imagine a star pupil of yours drops a hand written novel in your lap as her thesis but then happens to go missing and is presumed dead. Um, problem... meet solution. But solution becomes problem again when missing/presumed dead girl shows up at his house. INSTANT HOOK!

Y’all - the synopsis of this books tells a lot about the story, but not *quite* everything and the trio we as readers take us fun, fun, fun! Oh, did I mention that the book also describes a murder that happened IRL in detail and now he’s a suspect? EEP! We get Madeleine’s (not so missing girl) past & present POVs and Connor (widower and plagiarizer) & Rebecca’s (writing student) present POV. But can we talk about the true star, Grendel? I mean, pets are always the star, am I right? 😏. Whatever, he’s adorable and I love his name!

Look, Bell brings us yet another binge worthy thriller that touches on grief, writer’s block, plagiarism and the all too real issue of harassment of all kinds inside the academic world. With the different POVs, there’s overlapping stories which can feel repetitive but lends to the story itself. I do think it could’ve been trimmed down a bit but reads so fast that this is just being nit picky. I wasn’t expecting that final twist and I wish we got a *bit* more to make it more plausible but honestly, in thrillers, if the characters didn’t surprise us... well, what fun is that? 😏
Profile Image for Namita.
526 reviews33 followers
July 6, 2021
After the death of his wife and child Professor Connor Nye finally has a book published to save his tenure at the university. There is just one tiny problem ,the book is actually written by a former student who has gone missing.In the meantime the police officers start to question him about a murder mentioned in the book which is very similar to a true crime that occurred two years ago

Kill All Your Darlings is another psychological twisty book by David Bell. A fast, fun and an intriguing plotted read with plenty of twists and turns that kept me hooked to the end.

I would like to thank Berkley Publishing Group & NetGalley for providing an ARC of this book in exchange for my honest and fair review.
Profile Image for Katie T.
1,042 reviews117 followers
August 9, 2021
4.5 rounding up. This makes me want to try more books by Bell!
Profile Image for Chelsea | thrillerbookbabe.
528 reviews695 followers
February 24, 2021
I have been so excited to pick up a David Bell book, so I was so thankful when Berkley Publishing sent me an ARC. Right off the bat, this book sounds similar to The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz which I am also excited to read.

Kill All Your Darlings was about Connor, an English professor who loves his job. Connor lost his wife and son, and throws himself into his work as a distraction. He is close to his students, specifically Madeline, who is working with him on her senior thesis. When Madeline disappears, Conner takes her theses- a thriller- and publishes it as his own to keep his job. Two years later, Madeline returns and wants credit for her work.

Conner isn’t sure what to do, but then the police show up because the book is almost identical to a crime committed right before Madeline disappeared. The book makes it look like Conner has intimate details of the murder, and he isn’t sure if he should admit he stole the book or risk being arrested for murder.

Thoughts: This book had an interesting premise, but really spelled out what they wanted to you feel. There was no room for the reader to imagine what is happening, as the book just said each and every thing that happened. I liked the character of Connor, but he wasn’t very complex. He had potential for a rich and interesting backstory, but was basically just a one dimensional character. All the other characters also had potential, but they were a bit bland and straightforward.

I didn’t feel that there was much build up. The book explained what was happening step by step and tried to pack a lot of action into a pretty basic story. There were so many things that were over the top and didn’t really make sense to happen. If you were a murder suspect, would you go to the house of the murder victim’s husband? If you could clear everything up with the police, would you instead run away and drive around for no reason?

There were just small things that didn't feel authentic and for that reason I couldn’t get into the book. I have heard amazing things about David Bell, and I will be reading another of his books for sure. I was disappointed because I felt that this book had a lot of potential, but in the end, it was about 3-stars.
June 10, 2021
Every once in a while I go through a thriller hangover. I love getting caught up in the dark twisty pages and I binge all the thrillers… but then I start to get annoyed by the formulaic plot twists and ridiculous behaviors of the characters and I have to take a break. It happened to me recently so I put off reading Kill All Your Darlings until I could crack open a thriller without rolling my eyes.
Now I wish I hadn’t waited!
This was an exciting mystery/thriller with a plausible storyline and plot twist and I was on the edge of my seat the entire time! The suspense was top notch, the plot thickened, and the big reveal had the perfect level of surprise and action.

English professor Connor Nye was unable to write for years while grieving the tragic deaths of his wife and son. Now he returns home from his first local book event since publishing a well-received thriller to find a former student waiting for him. The problem here is that the student went missing under mysterious circumstances two years ago and has been presumed dead …and she also wrote the book that Connor just published under his own name.

Concern over whether she’ll expose the truth about the book becomes the least of his worries when a police officer shows up to discuss the details of the murder in Connor’s book. Those details happen to fit perfectly with a local unsolved murder from two years ago … details that were never released to the public.
Connor has to look for clues in his student’s manuscript to clear his name and find the real murderer.

This book hooked me from page one, I didn’t want to put it down! I highly recommend this to readers who enjoy suspenseful mystery/thrillers.

Thanks to Berkley Books and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review. Kill All Your Darlings is scheduled for release on July 6, 2021.

For more reviews, visit www.rootsandreads.wordpress.com
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