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We begin at the end
2021
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Library Journal Review
Whitaker's (Tall Oaks) latest novel is set in fictional Cape Haven, CA, and Copper Falls, MT, over a stretch of 30 years. Town police chief Walk and 13-year-old Duchess Day Radley, a fierce, emotionally damaged self-proclaimed outlaw, form the center of this intricate, emotional, character-driven tale of regret, revenge, and heartache. Walk gave the testimony that sent his friend Vincent to prison 30 years earlier, and now Vincent is being released and coming home. Duchess's mother, Star, neglects her daughter and five-year-old son, leaving Duchess to look after her brother. The aftermath of a decades-old tragedy becomes more heartbreaking as the story unfolds. George Newbern provides a solid reading of this bittersweet, gripping tale, but some listeners may find it a bit confusing that the narrator doesn't pause or otherwise indicate changes of section, time, or character. VERDICT This unforgettable coming-of-age story of love, loss, loyalty, and friendship, along with its unexpected plot twists, will appeal to readers of crime fiction, thrillers, suspense, and fiction.--Denise Garofalo, Mount Saint Mary College, Newburgh, NY
Publishers Weekly Review
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.)
Summary

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 Association
An 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 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.

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