We Begin at the End (Paperback)Chris Whitaker (author)
A blistering story of murder, revenge and retribution, set under the Californian sun, We Begin at the End is a thriller of exceptional psychological flair, filled with characters who will get under your skin – and might never leave.
Winner of the CWA Gold Dagger 2021
Shortlisted for the CWA Steel Dagger 2021
Shortlisted for the Theakston's Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year 2021
For fans of Jane Harper's The Dry comes a powerful novel about the lengths we will go to keep our family safe. This is a story about good and evil and how life is lived somewhere in between.
Thirty years ago, Vincent King became a killer. Now, he's been released from prison and is back in his hometown of Cape Haven, California. Not everyone is pleased to see him. Like Star Radley, his ex-girlfriend, and sister of the girl he killed.
Duchess Radley, Star's thirteen-year-old daughter, is part-carer, part-protector to her younger brother, Robin - and to her deeply troubled mother. But in trying to protect Star, Duchess inadvertently sets off a chain of events that will have tragic consequences not only for her family, but also the whole town.
Murder, revenge, retribution. How far can we run from the past, when the past seems doomed to repeat itself?
Number of pages: 464
Weight: 337 g
Dimensions: 198 x 129 x 26 mm
'A beautifully written mystery, packed with unforgettable characters. An intricately woven portrait of small town intrigue where old and new sins collide' - Jane Harper
'I LOVED it. I mean, jeez, what a story. And so intricately, delicately written, with such care and affection for all the characters. I adored all the relationships and ALL the characters without exception - I mean Duchess!! I could seriously rave about every single character that people the world of this book . . . his descriptions are so vivid, so visual, so beautifully drawn.We Begin at the End is surely destined to conquer the world. This intensely captivating story and its uniquely intriguing characters holds you in its jaws till the very last word. Astonishingly good' - Ruth Jones
'The character of Duchess Day Radley is so beautifully written, she will remain with you for a long time' - Lynda La Plante
'I love Duchess Day Radley so much I want to adopt her. She is every thirteen-year-old girl at risk, an outlaw both pure of heart and ill of intent, a fierce and melancholy girl, so memorable she will make camp in your brain and never leave. In We Begin at the End, Chris Whitaker has written a gorgeous, crystalline novel, a cautionary tale about the long shadows cast by our past selves, and one defiant girl with the bravery to hope for something better. I love this beautiful book' - Jeanine Cummins, author of American Dirt
'An accomplished and moving story of crime, punishment, love and redemption' - Guardian, Books of the Month
'Chris Whitaker's third novel, We Begin at the End, is the kind of breakout book that publishers dream about. Rich with character and story, conflict and tension, humor, tragedy and raw, unadulterated guts, this one has it all. Throw in the most compelling young protagonist I've read in at least a decade, and you have a deep and meaningful story that is an absolute delight from first page to last. Nicely done, Mr. Whitaker!' - John Hart
'Beautifully written, We Begin at the End really reminds me of To Kill a Mockingbird. And the spirit of Scout is very much alive in Duchess. A crime novel, or maybe a novel about a crime, and yet so much more' - Sarah Pinborough
'Stunning, intoxicating, heart-breaking - without a doubt one of my favourite books of the year. A compelling story, beautifully-drawn characters and writing that leaps off the page: We Begin at the End is in a class of its own' - T M Logan
'An intense, evocative, and quite brilliant crime novel that stays with you long after you've finished the last page' - Simon Kernick
'An exceptionally beautiful and accomplished crime novel. I fell head over heels into its big black heart and will carry the characters with me for a long time to come yet. Duchess and Thomas Noble forever' - Ali Land
'A stunning and heartbreaking book - will keep you gripped until the last moving page' - Claire McGowan, #1 bestselling author of What You Did
'Chris Whitaker takes crime writing to new levels in this evocative and lyrical novel, which is not only beautifully written but cleverly plotted, with a climax you'll never guess' - Mark Edwards
'If ever there is a book that deserves all the prizes, this is it. So layered and nuanced, and brimming with characters so full of depth they breathe on the page. So heartbreakingly evocative of small town life and the secrets buried under the weight of old friendships and tangled loyalties. Stunning writing, both poetic and compelling. A damn near perfect crime novel. Do yourself a favour and put this on your most wanted list' - Fiona Cummins
'Chris Whitaker is leading the pack of hungry young crime writers by a long mile. He writes like a dark angel, conjuring characters and places so memorable you'll ache when it's over. A very real, very rare talent' - Sarah Hilary
'We Begin at the End is the most beautifully written book I have read this year . . . with characters that will tug at your heartstrings, an incredible sense of place and a cleverly plotted mystery, Chris Whitaker is proving himself to be one of the most talented writers around' - Lisa Hall
'What a novel! Such a remarkable achievement. So wonderful in so many ways, with writing that is Booker Prize good. I kept having to stop and go back and re-read bits because I wanted to experience them again. I enjoyed it so much and the characters now have a place in my heart, I'm sad not to be able to spend any more time with them (Duchess especially). Wow. There is no f**king justice if this book is not a smash hit' - Deborah O'Connor
'We Begin At The End is as perfect a novel as you'll read all year. Devastating and hopeful in equal measure, with pitch-perfect characters you'll root for at each jaw-dropping turn - Duchess, in particular, deserves a fast-track pass to the literary hall of fame. A sophisticated, utterly absorbing read' - Caz Frear
'A triumph. I couldn't read it fast enough, while still appreciating the absolute beauty and depth to it. I don't know where to begin - the total satisfaction of the plot, the absorbing story, the cast of unbelievably incredible characters, the sheer taste of America on the page. So, I'll begin at the end, and the fact I cried straight through those last few chapters. Duchess, Robin, they killed me. It's an absolute masterclass in crime writing and story-telling' - Jo Spain
'Wow . . . One of the most spellbinding crime novels I've read in a long time - and, best of all, it felt like nothing I'd read before. Masterful' - Catherine Ryan Howard
'Chris Whitaker excels in muscular small town American Noir. In We Begin at the End, we see that fascination with the gnarly American heartland reach new heights. Whitaker displays his mastery over style; his unique flair and eye for telling detail is comparable to a form of literary method acting. The story unwinds to a peak of tension and ends with a series of revelations that hit like a flurry of punches to the gut. It is a fabulous read. A sparse, muscular novel with a unique sense of style. A cross between crime and literary fiction in the Cormac McCarthy tradition. A sense of tragedy infuses the story and this, more than anything, makes it one of the year's best crime reads' - Vaseem Khan
'Breathtaking, heart-wrenching, heart-warming and laugh-out-loud funny, We Begin At The End is simply astonishing. Easily the best book I've read this year' - M.W. Craven, CWA Gold Dagger winner
'A sensational book. Addictive, beautifully-written and immersive. So many layers. So many fascinating characters. Chris Whitaker is an immensely talented writer' - Will Dean
'An absolute belter of a book. Superb, heart-breaking, astounding and gripping. Chris Whitaker has totally nailed it' - Gytha Lodge
'Sometimes a book finds its way to you when you need it most, and teaches you a lesson you didn't even know needed teaching. We Begin at the End is one of those books, and it truly is a masterpiece' - Isabelle Broom
'Astoundingly beautiful. No other writer can pull you in quite so well as Chris Whitaker. The writing is pure and sharp, the characters perfectly drawn, the story unforgettable' - Rebecca Tinnelly
'We Begin At The End is stunning - thrilling, moving, beautifully written' - Paul Burston
'Hands down, one of the best books I've ever read. In my life. There's a bit at the end which is so overwhelmingly sad I can barely breathe just thinking about it. An absolutely astonishing novel and the writing is breathtaking' - Rebecca Thornton
'A heart-rending, gut-punching, nail-biting masterpiece. I'm sure I could hear echoes of Harper Lee coming through in the skilfully crafted prose. It's surely rare that a British author should pen an American classic, but I think Chris has' - Marnie Riches
'Chris Whitaker has written a rare gem of a novel - by turns thrilling, moving and heartbreaking, it takes the reader on a gut-wrenching journey from hope to despair and back again. Chris's previous novels demonstrated his gift for creating complex, fragile and all-too-believable characters, but somehow he has topped himself here, introducing us to a cast of heroes and villains so intimately-drawn, they could be your family and friends. The kind of book that makes you fall in love with reading again' - Rod Reynolds
'Crime may feature at the heart of We Begin at the End but it is the heart itself that dominates this stunning crime novel. Beautiful, evocative & heartbreaking from beginning to end' - Off-the-Shelf blog
'Beautiful writing, characters that live on in your memory long after you've turned the last page. Excellent' - Mason Cross
'A sublimely beautiful book that lingers long in the memory, from a writer with a rare gift' - Kevin Wignall
'This is an epic drama and a profound masterpiece. I'll be amazed if I read a better novel this year' - Mirror
'So beautifully written you'll want to savour every word; a book that stays with you long after the final page' - Victoria Selman
'Two damaged children - one timid and sweet, the other foul-mouthed and furious - will break readers' hearts in this well-plotted and perfectly-paced novel. If, like me, you love stories that kidnap your intended schedule because you can't not keep turning the pages, then I wholeheartedly recommend Chris Whitaker's We Begin at the End' - Wally Lamb, author of I Know This Much is True
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ReviewsView all Sign In To Write A Review
“An interesting read”
I have a little and rather embarrassing confession to make- yes yet another one. Although I have all of Chris' other books on my ever increasing 'to be read' mountain, I haven't actually read... More
I am something of a Chris Whitaker novice having read none of his other books yet. I was so impressed with this outstanding literary mystery! The premise of the book beckoned to me and I knew that I had to read this... More
“Slow start but wonderful read”
I was really surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. I wasn’t really sure it would be my kind of story but after a slow start it reeled me in and I found it hard to put down. Sissy Radley is killed by Vincent King... More
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