We begin at the end

Chris Whitaker

Book - 2021

"Thirty years ago, a teenage Vincent King was sent to prison. But now, he's served his sentence and is returning to his hometown. The hometown where his childhood best friend, Walk, is now the chief of police. The town where his childhood sweetheart, Star Radley, still lives. The same Star Radley whose sister he killed. Duchess, Star's daughter, is a self-proclaimed outlaw. She needs to be. Who else is going to take care of her and her five-year-old brother? Star is still dazzling..., still beautiful, but she hasn't shined as bright since Vincent was sent away. Too often it's Duchess and Walk who are the ones taking care of her. But when Duchess exacts her own vigilante revenge, she will set into motion a series of events that threatens not only her own family, but everyone she grows close to. A crime thriller that will break your heart and a literary novel with a mystery at its core, We Begin at the End unforgettably examines how the choices we make can nudge us into the dangerous ground between good and evil"--

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Subjects
Genres
Suspense fiction
Thrillers (Fiction)
Detective and mystery fiction
Published
New York : Henry Holt and Company 2021.
Edition
First U.S. Edition
Language
English
Item Description
"Originially published in the United Kingdom in 2020 by Zaffre, an imprint of Bonnier books UK."--Title page verso.
Physical Description
370 pages ; 25 cm
ISBN
9781250759665
1250759668
Main Author
Chris Whitaker (author)
Review by Library Journal Reviews

A 13-year-old toughie living the outsider's life in a coastal California town, Duchess Day Radley watches out for her little brother and dysfunctional single mother, Star, while chief of police Walk watches over Duchess. But he's got other troubles: the best friend who want to jail owing to his testimony is about to be released. British author Whitaker's books have been billed as thrillers, but the publisher is stressing the literary feel of this one. Great expectations; a 500,000-copy first printing. Copyright 2020 Library Journal.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Set largely in 2005, this superb thriller from Whitaker (Tall Oaks) examines the repercussions of a fatal accident decades earlier on the residents of Cape Haven, a tourist town on the California coast. At 15, Vincent King was sent to a men's prison for hitting and killing seven-year-old Sissy Radley while joyriding. Now, 30 years later, Vincent is being released. His childhood friend, Walker —Cape Haven's police chief—hopes that Vincent, and the town, can finally begin healing. But soon after Vincent's return, Star Radley—a single mother and Sissy's older sister—is found murdered in her home. With Vincent as the prime suspect, Chief Walker and Duchess, Star's 13-year-old daughter and self-proclaimed outlaw, each launch their respective quests for the truth. Powered by extraordinarily deep character development and an impressively intricate plot, this novel is simultaneously a murder mystery, a love story, and a heartbreaking tragedy. The existential agony is palpable throughout, but so, too, is the hope at the end. Whitaker has upped his game with this emotionally charged page-turner. (Mar.) Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly.

Review by School Library Journal Reviews

Gr 9 Up—A town that has witnessed a lot of tragedy is home to the people who are still picking up the pieces. Thirteen-year-old Duchess Day Radley, a self-proclaimed outlaw, takes on the responsibilities of raising herself and her younger brother, Robin, while her mother struggles with addiction and tries to live a life that doesn't continually echo the pain of her sister's murder nearly three decades earlier. Now, the convicted killer is set to return home to a place that still hasn't healed, and the ripple effects of each characters' decisions cause more and more misfortune. The fully developed characters in this novel are raw, real, and relatable; Whitaker makes it easy for readers to recognize someone they know. Duchess's story is one of resilience, growing up in a less than desired environment, and her foul-mouthed outbursts and Robin's pure heart provide some levity to a heavy thriller. VERDICT Recommended for high school libraries that need updated coming-of-age stories or less shiny characters full of grit. Cultivated readers will be able to handle the dual narrative along with some mature content and language.—Samantha Hull, Ephrata H.S., PA Copyright 2021 School Library Journal.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

"Thirty years ago, a teenage Vincent King was sent to prison. But now, he's served his sentence and is returning to his hometown. The hometown where his childhood best friend, Walk, is now the chief of police. The town where his childhood sweetheart, Star Radley, still lives. The same Star Radley whose sister he killed. Duchess, Star's daughter, is a self-proclaimed outlaw. She needs to be. Who else is going to take care of her and her five-year-old brother? Star is still dazzling, still beautiful, but she hasn't shined as bright since Vincent was sent away. Too often it's Duchess and Walk who are the ones taking care of her. But when Duchess exacts her own vigilante revenge, she will set into motion a series of events that threatens not only her own family, but everyone she grows close to. A crime thriller that will break your heart and a literary novel with a mystery at its core, We Begin at the End unforgettably examines how the choices we make can nudge us into the dangerous ground between good and evil"--

Review by Publisher Summary 2

A guilt-ridden police chief and a tough-as-nails woman who was forced to support her family as a girl work together to protect loved ones 30 years after a horrific crime in their small California town. 500,000 first printing.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

Winner of the Gold Dagger for Best Crime Novel from the Crime Writers’ Association (UK)Winner for Best International Crime Fiction from Australian Crime Writers AssociationAn Instant New York Times Bestseller“A vibrant, engrossing, unputdownable thriller that packs a serious emotional punch. One of those rare books that surprise you along the way and then linger in your mind long after you have finished it.”—Kristin Hannah, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Nightingale and The Four WindsRight. Wrong. Life is lived somewhere in between.Duchess Day Radley is a thirteen-year-old self-proclaimed outlaw. Rules are for other people. She is the fierce protector of her five-year-old brother, Robin, and the parent to her mother, Star, a single mom incapable of taking care of herself, let alone her two kids.Walk has never left the coastal California town where he and Star 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. And he's in overdrive protecting Duchess and her brother.Now, thirty years later, Vincent is being released. And Duchess and Walk must face the trouble that comes with his return. We Begin at the End is an extraordinary novel about two kinds of families—the ones we are born into and the ones we create.