16 September 2021

We Begin at the End


By Chris Whitaker
Crime | Thriller | Literary Fiction | Contemporary Fiction

My Review

A 2021 Top Rated Read

Thirteen-year-old Duchess Day Radley has had to grow up quickly. Life with Star, her dysfunctional single mother, and five-year-old brother Robin is tough. Fiercely protective of Robin, Duchess has witnessed life way beyond her years. 

When Vincent King is released from prison after serving a life sentence, he returns to the coastal town in California where he grew up — Duchess' town. As Vincent and Star renew their friendship, events take a devastating turn plunging Duchess and Robin deeper into turmoil. Lives are shattered and friendships tested.  

Wow, what an incredibly powerful story! The writing conveyed such intense emotion that I couldn't fail to be impressed. My heart was broken, ripped out and stomped on. 

Once in a while I come across a book that draws me in, pulls at my heartstrings and stays with me long after reading. This book is exactly that. Achingly sad; yet beautiful and uplifting. Characters are believable and fully developed; I cared for them, wept alongside them and prayed for their futures. 

Thought-provoking and character-driven, I loved it! Without a doubt one of the best books I've read this year.           

Book Source: Purchased copy
My Rating ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Paperback: 464 pages
Publisher: Zaffre (6th Aug 2020)
ISBN-13: ‎978-1785769405

The Blurb

Walk has never left the coastal California town where he grew up. He may have become the chief of police, but he’s still trying to heal the old wound of having given the testimony that sent his best friend, Vincent King, to prison decades before. Now, thirty years later, Vincent is being released.

Duchess is a thirteen-year-old self-proclaimed outlaw. Her mother, Star, grew up with Walk and Vincent. Walk is in overdrive trying to protect them, but Vincent and Star seem bent on sliding deeper into self-destruction. Star always burned bright, but recently that light has dimmed, leaving Duchess to parent not only her mother but her five-year-old brother. At school the other kids make fun of Duchess—her clothes are torn, her hair a mess. But let them throw their sticks, because she’ll throw stones. Rules are for other people. She’s just trying to survive and keep her family together.

A fortysomething-year-old sheriff and a thirteen-year-old girl may not seem to have a lot in common. But they both have come to expect that people will disappoint you, loved ones will leave you, and if you open your heart it will be broken. So when trouble arrives with Vincent King, Walk and Duchess find they will be unable to do anything but usher it in, arms wide closed.

The Author

Chris Whitaker is the award-winning author of Tall Oaks, All the Wicked Girls, We Begin at the End, and The Forevers (YA).

His debut Tall Oaks won the CWA John Creasey New Blood Dagger Award.

An instant New York Times bestseller and the #1 Indie Next Pick, We Begin at the End was also a Waterstones Thriller of the Month, a Barnes & Noble Book Club Pick and a Good Morning America Buzz Pick. It won the CWA Gold Dagger Award, and the Theakston Crime Novel of the Year.

We Begin At The End has been translated into twenty-three languages, with screen rights going to Disney.

When not writing, Chris works at his local library, where he gets to surround himself with books

Chris lives in the UK with his wife and three children.

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