We Begin at the End (Hardcover)

Staff Pick Badge
We Begin at the End Cover Image
Available for Pre-Order Now

Staff Reviews

Walk, Vincent, and Star were always comfortable on the margins of the small California town where they grew up. Their lives eventually took different paths, but the childhood bond remained unbroken even when Walk was faced with proving Vincent could not have committed the murder that left their friend dead and her two children motherless. This is an absorbing, compulsively readable story, part mystery and part social drama, set along a once rural part of the Pacific coast that is becoming a tourist mecca, changing local lives and fortunes. The characters are all vividly drawn and the author skillfully invests in them recognizable human virtues and failings that frequently challenge traditional notions of what comprises our literary heroes and villains. — Alden Graves

It has everything you want in a literary crime thriller. Perplexing questions and big reveals. Great dialogue and page-burning plot development. Strong characters to pull for with all your heart, even as they do bad things. The strongest, most maddening, most desperately in need of a break, is the champion of the story, Duchess Day Radley, a thirteen year old outlaw from a family afflicted by tragedy. A triumphant breakout novel from a gifted writer. — Stan Hynds

After doing time for decades, a taciturn killer returns home to a California town. Times have changed, but apparently he hasn't: more bad things occur. A headstrong teenage girl is in the middle of the maelstrom, while a laid-back cop finds the will to investigate troubling events, and even more troubling aspects of his own life. — Mike Hare


“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 Winds

Right. 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.

About the Author

Chris Whitaker lives in the United Kingdom with his wife and three young children. When not writing he works part-time at a local library, where he gets to surround himself with books. His own authored books include Tall Oaks and All the Wicked Girls.

Praise For…

#1 Indie Next Pick

Praise for We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker

“Ravishing, pulse-raising suspense…”
O, The Oprah Magazine

“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 Winds

“A beautifully written mystery, packed with unforgettable characters. An intricately woven portrait of small-town intrigue where old and new sins collide.”
Jane Harper, New York Times bestselling author of The Dry and The Survivors

“Couldn’t put it down. Incredible writing, characters so brilliantly drawn they jump off the page. Outstanding.”
B. A. Paris, bestselling author of Behind Closed Doors

“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, New York Times bestselling author of I Know This Much Is True

“I LOVED this book. From the riveting plot to the beautiful writing. But mostly what kept me longing to get back to it each day were the characters, especially young Duchess. Fierce, brave, vulnerable, she leaps off the page fully formed. As does Walk. How aptly named. A chief of police on his own inexorable journey. This is a book to be read and reread and an author to be celebrated.”
Louise Penny, #1 New York Times bestselling author

“With prose as eerily beautiful as its settings, you’ll be left thinking about this novel long after the final page.”

“It's an instant classic….Let’s begin at the end. After you’ve turned the final page of Chris Whitaker’s magnificent new novel, you’ll struggle—I struggled, certainly—to describe the experience…it recalls the very best of Tana French and Dennis Lehane. Think of Duchess Day Radley as a twenty-first-century Scout Finch, tough and curious and good. In fact, think of We Begin at the End as a novel at the same time distinctly American and profoundly universal.”
A.J. Finn, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller The Woman in the Window

“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.”
John Hart, author of six New York Times bestsellers

We Begin at the End is a searing portrait of guilt and grief, strikingly written and full of characters you can’t help but love.”
Charlotte McConaghy, author of Migrations

“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.”
Sarah Pinborough, New York Times bestselling author of Behind Her Eyes

“This is an epic drama and a profound masterpiece. I’ll be amazed if I read a better novel this year.”
Daily Mirror (UK)

“Heartbreaking and profound, this is my thriller of the year.”
The Mirror (UK)

“It's extraordinary.”

“[An] impressive, often lyrical thriller. Whitaker crafts an absorbing plot around crimes in the present and secrets long buried, springing surprises to the very end. A fierce 13-year-old girl propels this dark, moving thriller.”
Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“A superb thriller…. 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.”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Product Details
ISBN: 9781250759665
ISBN-10: 1250759668
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Publication Date: March 2nd, 2021
Pages: 384
Language: English
Northshire Manchester Store

Northshire Manchester
4869 Main Street
Manchester Center, VT 05255
ph. 802.362.2200
ph. (toll free) 800.437.3700
Daily 10am-6pm
Directions to Manchester

Northshire Saratoga Store

Northshire Saratoga
424 Broadway
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866
ph. 518.682.4200
ph. (toll free) 855.339.5990
Daily 10am-6pm
Directions to Saratoga Springs