Book Review – We Begin At The End by Chris Whitaker
My Rating – 4.5 out of 5
Plot Summary – We Begin At The End
This is Chris Whitaker’s third book and my first of his. It is in one word – Mind blowing! Though the book is intended to be a thriller, it is so much more than just that. It delves into a psychological world of contradictions, conflicts and the world of grey – which is neither black nor white completely but somewhere in between. The style of writing is fluid and assured and is not the superhero types, where the protagonist is well defined and will always win at the end.
The book starts with the discovery of a dead body of a young girl, identity not revealed at that time. In the quaint small town of Cape Haven , on the western coast of USA, Walker or Walk is the Chief of Police in a one man department. His best friends are also residents of the town and when one of them commits an unforgivable crime, it is Walk’s duty to give up his friend for the sake of justice.
In the small town of Cape Haven, Walk, Star Radley, Vincent King and Martha May grew up together and in a way vowed to stand by each other. Thirty years ago, Sissy, Star’s sister was killed in an accident and Vincent King was convicted for it. But Walk is convinced that Vincent is innocent, even though he was the one to have brought Vincent to justice, by testifying against his friend. 30 years later, Vincent is being released from prison and neither Walk or Star know what to do with their erstwhile friend once he’s released.
Before Vincent settles properly into his life of freedom, tragedy strikes again and he’s once again the suspect. Once again, his friend Walk, the police chief is the one to find him and convict him. Only this time, Walk is doubly convinced that Vincent is innocent, but Vincent refuses to speak and make any effort to mount his defense. Once again it is left to Walk to investigate and find out the truth behind the crime Vincent is accused to have committed and this time it is the death penalty that awaits him.
The protagonists of this book is not just Walk, Vincent and Star, it is mostly Star’s children – Duchess and Robin, who don’t know the identity of their father but understand that their mother Star, is doing all that she can to give them a better life and a better chance at doing something worthwhile for improving their lives. But fate intervenes and Duchess and Robin are left to fend for themselves without much support from anyone. Their grandfather, Hal, stays in a mammoth farm in Montana but has little to do with them. Life gets complicated for all the participants and none is either black or white but have shades of grey.
Conclusion – Book Review of We Begin At The End
The book is extremely well written, and never once does it veer into the criminal world of hardened perpetrators, but always maintain that the worst looking characters have some goodness in them. This is not judgemental, or prejudiced but unravels over time, with the final twist serving as coup de grace! It’s an extremely well written book, and it would be remit on my part to not recommend the book to all and sundry. It is not a crime thriller in its true sense, but the journey of a 13 year old girl and her brother, in finding the truth that defines the rest of their lives.