Book Review: We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker – #WeBeginAtTheEnd #BookReview

We Begin at the End


Chris Whitaker

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 to 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?

My Review

In the small town of Cape Haven, California, a young girl is killed, leaving behind a grieving family and a splintered community. Vincent King, her fifteen year old killer, is imprisoned, left to serve his sentence among the most heinous, brutal criminals. His actions hang over the towns people, and none more so than his ex-girlfriend, Star. Sister of the girl he killed.

Now, thirty years later, Star Radley has two children, Duchess and Robin, and struggles to keep her balance. For Star, relief lies at the bottom of a bottle. Duchess, baring the role of a mother and carrying all the fears and concerns to prove it, cares for her young brother, Robin, feeding him, walking him to school, protecting him, soothing him, covering his eyes from the sight of their troubled, drunken mother. For Duchess, his well-being is paramount. There is nothing she will not do to protect him.

Cape Haven is tense, coiled like a spring as its residents await the release of Vincent King. For Chief Walker, it is a day he has been anticipating for many years. Thirty to be precise. The day King killed Sissy Radley was the day all their lives changed. Walk and King were best friends, brothers, attached at hip. Then within moments, their lives changed and they were broken apart. Now, a part of Walk hopes that they might pick up where they left off, reunite and resume their lives. Despite his best efforts, King’s release and the actions of the Radley family will have far-reaching consequences. 

Duchess Day Radley is the most phenomenal character. She is brave and courageous, with more grit and gumption than a person twice her age. She is sharp as a knife, with a quick temper and hardy resolve. But with Robin, you glimpse her softer side, the part of her that is still just a thirteen year old girl under all her fire and the tough carapace she wears to survive. For Robin, she will do anything. “Outlaw” Duchess Day Radley is one of those very rare characters that takes up residence in your heart. I loved her. 

I read and reviewed the author’s previous two books, Tall Oaks and All the Wicked Girls and loved them. I’ve been looking forward to his next book and with We Begin at the End, he has surpassed all my hopes and expectations. The writing it stunning, emotional and clever, bringing to life the town of Cape Haven and its many residents like no other. I love the way this author describes small towns, makes you feel as if you’re present there, a another resident rather than a reader with a book. We Begin at the End is another exceptional book with a series of twists that will leave you breathless. 

To purchase a copy of this book, you can follow the link below:


(purchases from Hive go to supporting an indie bookshop of your choice!)

Amazon UK

About the Author

Chris Whitaker was born in London and spent ten years working as a financial trader in the city.
His debut novel, Tall Oaks, won the CWA John Creasey New Blood Dagger.
Chris’s second novel, All The Wicked Girls, was published in August 2017. He lives in Hertfordshire with his wife and two young sons.

With thanks to Francesca and Zaffre for my ARC, which I received in exchange for an honest review!

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