Kill All Your Darlings: A New Mystery by David Bell

In David Bell’s newest mystery, “Kill All Your Darlings,” Connor Nye’s life is rapidly deteriorating. Indeed, the college professor, who is still mourning the death of his wife and son five years earlier, knows he might not make tenure unless he publishes something quick. Lost in grief, it’s an impossible task.

But fate seems to toss him a life line. Madeline, one of his best students, disappeared suddenly two years ago after spending the night drinking and chatting with Connor and other students at a local bar. Connor doesn’t remember much about how the night ended; he was too inebriated. But he does remember Madeline’s manuscript, an amazingly written thriller about a murder.

When Madeline doesn’t reappear and it seems more likely that Connor may lose his job, he submits her work as his own. It seems safe enough. No one has heard from her in two years, she didn’t use a computer to write her manuscript, and he is the only one with a copy.

After celebrating the book’s publication at a get-together where he’s showered with praise, and believing that his life is finally back on track, Connor arrives home to find he has an uninvited guest.

Madeline has returned and she wants Connor to pay for stealing her manuscript. He doesn’t have the money she wants; it’s already gone to pay bills.

To make matters worse, Madeline isn’t the only unexpected visitor at the Nye home.

A police detective arrives the next morning as Connor is on his way to class. She questions Connor about his book and how the descriptions of the murder match exactly with the facts police have been withholding. Now, Connor not only risks losing his job and his reputation, he also appears to be a suspect in an unsolved murder. He grapples with whether to tell the truth or not, and decides not to.

“The cover-up is always worse than crime,” says David Bell, a professor of English at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, Kentucky, where he directs the MFA program. “Politicians never learn that — a lot of people don’t.”

The phrase “kill all your darlings” most likely originated with Nobel Prize Laureate William Faulkner, who said, “In writing, you must kill all your darlings.” Or in other words, kill any characters, even the ones you love, that don’t move the story forward. The characters that do remain in Bell’s book include a licentious department head who preys on young, vulnerable female students. It’s a subject that Bell also explores in his book.

“Since the Me Too movement, though we’ve become aware of all these situations, it still happens,” he said, noting that what the existing power structures will do to keep these situations quiet is for the school’s sake not the students’.

David Bell virtual event

What: Parnassus Books will host author David Bell for a discussion of his book “Kill All Your Darlings,” with May Cobb, author of “The Hunting Wives.”

How to join in: Visit Parnassus Books Facebook page: www.facebook.com/parnassusbooks1/ and click on the Events page.

Cost: The event is free.

FYI: After the live talk has ended, a video will be archived on the Parnassus Books Facebook page under Videos and available for watching.

The Request: We All Have a Friend We’d Rather Forget

“Even the person closest to you has a secret they don’t want you to know,” says author David Bell. “I think
we’ve all had the experience of thinking we know someone really well but people can still surprise us, no matter what.”

“We all have a friend from our past who is a lot of fun when we’re young but when we get older
and get settled that person is someone you want to leave behind,” says David Bell, explaining the idea behind his latest mystery-thriller The Request (Berkley 2020; $11.99—Amazon price). “And I wondered what would happen if that friend showed up and even more if that friend knew something about you that one else knows.”

That’s what happens to Ryan Francis. Years ago, Ryan was involved in a car accident that left a
young girl seriously injured. It was his fault his best friend Blake Norton tells Ryan after he wakes up in the hospital, the memory of the accident completely gone.

Since that time, Ryan has rebuilt his life, marrying, starting a successful business and is now the
father of a young child. He also carries the guilt of knowing he’s harmed someone and has stealthily left large sums of money in the girl’s mailbox to help with her ongoing medical expenses.

But things are coming undone. The girl’s sister confronts Ryan, demanding a large amount of
cash or else she’ll reveal the truth. But she’s not the only one wanting something from Ryan. Blake is
back and he needs a big favor—break into his ex-girlfriend’s home and steal letters Blake wrote her that she’s threatening to show his current fiancé. And though Ryan refuses, Blake won’t take no for an answer. If Ryan won’t get those letters then Blake will reveal the truth of what happened all those years ago.

It’ll be easy, Blake assures him. But, of course, it’s not. Letting himself into the house when
Blake’s ex is supposed to be at yoga class, Ryan can’t find the letters—they’re not where Blake said
they’d be. But much, much worse, the Blake’s ex never left the house to go to yoga. Ryan stumbles across her body—she’s been murdered. And at the same instant, his phone lights up, the woman lying dead at his feet has just asked him to become her Facebook friend.

Blake disappears, stealing Ryan’s laptop, a strange man tries to break into their home while his
wife and baby are there by themselves and the police zero in on Ryan—and his wife–as a possible
suspects. It seems that others besides Ryan and Blake have their secrets as well.

“Even the person closest to you has a secret they don’t want you to know,” says Bell. “I think
we’ve all had the experience of thinking we know someone really well but people can still surprise us, no matter what.”

DAVID BELL is a USA Today bestselling, award-winning author whose work has been translated into multiple foreign languages. He’s currently an associate professor of English at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, Kentucky, where he directs the MFA program. He received an MA in creative writing from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and a PhD in American literature and creative writing from the University of Cincinnati. His novels include LayoverSomebody’s DaughterBring Her HomeSince She Went AwaySomebody I Used to KnowThe Forgotten GirlNever Come BackThe Hiding PlaceCemetery Girl, and The Request.

The Times of Northwest Indiana Entertainment.

%d bloggers like this: