We Begin at the End

Chris Whitaker

I saw early praise for this book on Bookstagram and want to thank every person who posted about it. Thank you for motivating me to read this book.

Quick Synopsis

Scout, a 13-year-old girl and self-proclaimed outlaw, fights to protect her 5-year-old brother with the help of the chief of police, Walk. Walk is trying to heal from giving the testimony that put his best friend, Vincent, in prison. Now, thirty years later, Vincent is being released. And Duchess and Walk must face the trouble that comes with his return. 

Publisher’s Synopsis

There are two kinds of families: the ones we are born into and the ones we create.

Walk has never left the coastal California town where he 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. Now, thirty years later, Vincent is being released.

Duchess is a thirteen-year-old self-proclaimed outlaw. Her mother, Star, grew up with Walk and Vincent. Walk is in overdrive trying to protect them, but Vincent and Star seem bent on sliding deeper into self-destruction. Star always burned bright, but recently that light has dimmed, leaving Duchess to parent not only her mother but her five-year-old brother. At school the other kids make fun of Duchess―her clothes are torn, her hair a mess. But let them throw their sticks, because she’ll throw stones. Rules are for other people. She’s just trying to survive and keep her family together.

A fortysomething-year-old sheriff and a thirteen-year-old girl may not seem to have a lot in common. But they both have come to expect that people will disappoint you, loved ones will leave you, and if you open your heart it will be broken. So when trouble arrives with Vincent King, Walk and Duchess find they will be unable to do anything but usher it in, arms wide closed.

Chris Whitaker has written an extraordinary novel about people who deserve so much more than life serves them. At times devastating, with flashes of humor and hope throughout, it is ultimately an inspiring tale of how the human spirit prevails and how, in the end, love―in all its different guises―wins.

Book Review

We Begin at the End is a brilliant, intense, and beautifully written book with unforgettable characters. It is an epic story of murder, family, friendship, perseverance, and retribution in small town America. It will undoubtedly be one of my top books of the year.

We Begin at the End is a novel with an amazing, multi-layered, and intricate plot that is perfectly paced. There are turns you do not expect but will revel in. I do not know how you could possibly get through this book without crying. While reading it, you may lose your faith in humanity only for it later to be solidified and reassured. Whitaker’s hard-hitting storytelling will leave an indelible mark on you.

One of the highlights of the book is without a doubt the characters, who will stick with me for a very long time. It is hard to describe the journey they take you on, much less their complexity and growth. They exemplify so many aspects of the human condition and will lead you through loss, heartbreak, sacrifice, love, and compassion.

Overall, I loved this piece of literary crime fiction and cannot wait to read it again in the future. I highly recommend We Begin at the End to everyone, especially those that love authors such as Kristin Hannah and William Kent Krueger.


Overall Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.


Rating: 4 out of 5.


Rating: 5 out of 5.

Character development

Rating: 5 out of 5.

We Begin at the End


Mysteries & Thrillers

Publication Date
March 2, 2021


Gold Dagger for Best Crime Novel from the Crime Writers’ Association (UK)

Best International Crime Fiction from Australian Crime Writers Association

Storygraph Rating
4.17 stars

Goodreads Rating
4.19 stars

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