“She was Sissy Radley. Seven years old. Blond hair.”
“The shoe was small. Red and white leather. Gold-tone buckle… And then he saw her. He took a breath and raised his hand.”
Three decades on, Star Radley, Sissy’s sister, is still struggling with everything that has been thrown at her. Chief Walker, her old school friend, once again finds her on the couch, a bottle beside her not responding. It seems to have become a regular occurrence now, Walk turning up, finding Star in an unconscious state and rushing her to a hospital for treatment. He should phone social services, but he just can’t bring himself to do it. He does not want to be the one to take Duchess and Robin away from her after everything she has been through.
Vincent King, Walk’s best friend is doing time. Thirty years to be precise for the murder of Sissy Radley. He was just fifteen when he accidentally mowed the poor girl down after an evening out with Star. The problem is, rather than handing himself in, he runs away and for that reason, the judge decided to try and sentence him as an adult. He should have been out by now, living his life once again, however, he got into a fight inside, killed a man and refused to claim it was self-defense. Vincent, therefore, got a further sentence for that one.
It’s almost like he wants to stay in prison. Perhaps he feels like he doesn’t deserve any sort of life after what he did.
Chief Walker, or Walk to his friends, is no better off. It seems like he is living in the past, unable to move forward while his best friend rots in a prison cell and the love of his life left long ago. On top of that, the town is beginning to talk. People assume that Walk is addicted to something, alcohol probably, although some believe its pills. Does he really have an addiction though, or is there something else really going on there?
What is he hiding and why is he so fearful about confiding in someone?
Then with the release of Vincent, tragedy strikes the Radley house a second time when Star is murdered; a bullet to the heart and several broken ribs. The problem is that Vincent King is there when Walk arrives, making him the most likely suspect. Surely he wouldn’t want to hurt the one person he once loved?
The only hope Vincent has is his old friend, Walk. Can he find the true murderer? Or would his friend be sent to death row for something he didn’t do?
“Guilt is decided long before the act is committed.”
It seems like it wasn’t just Vincent’s life that was stolen thirty years ago, Walk and Star clearly couldn’t move on either, and now just when Walk feels he could start living with his friend by his side again, it appears he is going to lose him for a second time.
Will justice and truth win out? Will Walk finally be able to move on with his life rather than remaining firmly in the past? Will the little town of Cape Haven ever be able to get past the devastation caused by the death of Sissy Radley? Will any of the Radley family survive?
My Thoughts on We Begin at the End
As a reader, you have to wonder what the Radley family could have possibly done wrong for so much destruction to hit one family. Not one, but two daughters killed surely no parent should have to experience something like that.
What starts off as an unfortunate event in a sleepy seaside town, turns into a gripping crime story of murder, revenge, and retaliation. We Begin at the End is a well-crafted tale that grabs your attention early on and holds you in its clutches until it spits you out at the end. It is a novel that seizes your attention so that you can focus on nothing else until it reaches a conclusion. This is a criminal masterpiece that leaves you reeling at its revelations long after you have read it.
It is a novel that has already won many accolades with Jon Coates of the Sunday Express believing it could be the crime thriller of the year (2020) and Deborah O’Connor has stated that Chris’s writing is Booker Prize good. Chris has already won the CWA John Creasey New Blood Dagger for his first novel, Tall Oaks and with such high praise for We Begin at the End, anyone that is a fan of crime writing will definitely need to pick up a copy of this one.
Have you read any of Chris Whitaker’s work? Would you recommend his novels to others?
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