Book Reviews

Book Review: Kill All Your Darlings by David Bell

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.

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

Title: Kill All Your Darlings
Author: David Bell
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Format: Digital ARC
Publisher: Berkley Books
Date Published: July 6th 2021
Trigger Warnings: child death (mentioned), sexual abuse/assualt, death
Rating: 3.8//5 Owls

So I’m not a huge thriller fan, but I’ve been getting a little more into them lately.

Kill All Your Darlings is an interesting story, but also very very frustrating. A lot of the issues in this story could have been prevented if PEOPLE JUST USED COMMONSENSE AND TALKED TO EACHOTHER!

Should I die? Or risk ruining my life? Hmmmm let’s go with death.

Should I come clean that I stole this book? Or face Murder charges? Murder charges it is!

Every character had a habit of choosing the most extreme scenario for them to be in, and at times it made me want to throw it against the wall (but I read this on my kindle and I would have been sad if I broke it).

I don’t know how much I loved the various time jumps and POV’s. A lot of Madeline and Sophia’s story could have been told in Connor and Rebecca’s stories, and it was entirely necessary to include the jumps into the past, although towards the end there were a few past Madeline scenes that were really important to the general plot.

My main goal in any thriller is to be surprised but not shocked by the whodunnit. I don’t want the reveal to be like “omg I’ve known since the beginning that Becky murdered her sister, just say it already” but I also don’t want it to be “oh Becky’s uncle’s neighbors sister who was mentioned once murdered her sister…dafuq?” It needs to be a nice happy medium between the two, and Kill All Your Darlings does this very nicely. The reveal is a little surprising but it also makes perfect sense, once the killer was revealed it was like “OF COURSE, there’s no one else it could have been, why didn’t I realize that earlier?”

I really enjoyed the characters in this one. Most of them are very morally grey characters, who make both very smart, sound choices, but also make major mistakes that can cost them. Connor especially, he lost his wife and child in a terrible accident, he developed a drinking problem, he was depressed, should his actions during this time define his entire life? Should he be held to a higher or lower standard based on what he did during this time period? This novel dives into this concept, on how harshly someone should be judged for their actions, weather they are malicious in intent or not.

Overall, I did really enjoy this book. Is it my favorite thriller? No, but it’s enjoyable and holds your attention through every page, and deals with a lot of serious issues. It’s a good and quick read, and it’s on sale now so go grab your copy!

*thank you NetGalley and Penguin Random House for the early copy for review.

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