Review: KILL ALL YOUR DARLINGS by David Bell

Already a fan of David Bell’s work, I was quick to snap up a pre-release copy of the author’s latest book, Kill All Your Darlings. Though I must admit, even if I wasn’t already familiar with the author its gorgeous cover would certainly have caught my eye. It doesn’t release until next month, but it’s already available for pre-order.


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.

* as appears on Amazon

My Review

This is the kind of book that pulls you in from its first pages. It is a fast-paced read and full of surprises. Although you know that what Connor has done is wrong, very wrong, you can’t help rooting for him as he tries to prove he is innocent of murder. Connor and Madeline are both well developed yet somewhat tragic characters. They are complemented by a cast of diverse characters, with the true nature of several of them revealed only over time.

As the mystery unravels, you are exposed to real issues in the academic world – the pressure to publish or perish, the temptations of plagiarism, and most important – sexual harassment and the “old boys” network. Shining light on these issues gives this book added relevance on top of its page-turning quality.

If you enjoy mystery and suspense, you’ll want to add this well-written book to your TBR list.

FTC Disclosure: I received an advance reader copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. This has not affected the content of my review in any way.

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