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Opinion Columnists


Unputdownable: 'We Begin at the End' delivers an emotional punch

A critically acclaimed crime thriller with a riveting plot that tops bestseller lists

We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker
Image Credit: Supplied

"We Begin at the End" is a breathtaking and critically acclaimed novel that has garnered prestigious accolades, such as the Gold Dagger for Best Crime Novel from the Crime Writers' Association (UK) and the esteemed Best International Crime Fiction award from the Australian Crime Writers Association. Its instant success has secured a spot on the coveted New York Times Bestseller list.

Within this enthralling tale, author Chris Whitaker weaves a world teeming with compelling characters and an intricately woven plot that tugs at the heartstrings of readers. At the center of it all is Duchess Day Radley, a daring and self-proclaimed outlaw at the tender age of thirteen.

Navigating life's challenges, Duchess fiercely guards her five-year-old brother, Robin, and takes on the role of de facto parent to her struggling mother, Star, who finds it difficult to care for herself, let alone her children.

Meanwhile, Walk, the fortysomething chief of police, carries a haunting past, stemming from his decision to testify against his best friend, Vincent King, which led to Vincent's imprisonment many years ago.

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Grappling with love, loss

Now, three decades later, Vincent is being released, setting off a chain of events that forces Duchess and Walk to confront the turmoil that unfolds with his return.

"We Begin at the End" delves deeply into the complexities of family, exploring the two distinct types: those we are born into and those we create. Duchess's present intertwines with Walk's history with Vincent and Star, creating a captivating narrative that spans generations.

The novel adeptly explores the resilience of the human spirit in the face of adversity, as characters grapple with love, loss, and the inevitable disappointments that life often presents. Chris Whitaker's prose is both exquisite and humorous, painting a vivid portrait of characters deserving more from life.

Remarkable storytelling prowess

While the emotional journey may be heart-wrenching at times, moments of hope and levity provide much-needed respite, leaving readers inspired by the undeniable power of love in all its diverse manifestations.


"We Begin at the End" also beautifully showcases the enduring strength of familial bonds, the complexity of human relationships, and the profound impact of the choices we make on the trajectory of our lives.

This compelling narrative is a must-read, captivating readers from the opening pages and lingering in their hearts and minds long after the final sentence. Chris Whitaker's remarkable storytelling prowess and profound insights make "We Begin at the End" an unforgettable literary experience that readers will undoubtedly cherish.

Ahmad Nazir is a UAE-based freelancer writer