Friday, March 5, 2021

2021 - #31 - We Begin at the End, Chris Whitaker

 


TITLE/AUTHOR:  We Begin at the End, Chris Whitaker

PUBLISHERMacmillan Audio

YEAR PUBLISHED:  2021

GENRE: Fiction / Crime Thriller

FORMAT:  audio download PP/LENGTH: 10 hours 30 min

SOURCE: Net Galley

SETTING(s):  Cape Haven, CA and Copper Falls, MT


ONE SENTENCE SUMMARY:  A well-plotted crime fiction thriller with characters that are hard to forget.


BRIEF REVIEW:  For me this isn't an easy book to review but the story is amazing. As the title seems to suggest, this story did not really "begin at the end."  It does involve an accident that killed Sissy Radley, just seven years old at the time. Sissy was killed 30 years earlier when Vincent King was just 15 years old. He spent three decades in prison and is scheduled to be released.  Vincent was the best friend of now Cape Haven Police Chief Walker (Walk), and Walk has never given up on his friend even though he testified against him.  The death of Sissy all those years ago deeply affected her older sister Star and messed her up for life.  Star was the girlfriend of Vincent at the time.  Now Star, mother of Dutchess Day thirteen, and Robin six, is unable to function due to her depression and addiction issues.  Dutchess "Outlaw" Radley becomes the protector and mother figure to her young brother Robin. She's also bent on revenge for all who have done her and her family wrong.

Dutchess and Police Chief Walk are the primary characters of the novel but, there are several others who play a role in the story.  Walk is a good man and loyal to many.  Dutchess, is tough, foul-mouthed and fearless on the outside yet soft and compassionate when it comes to her young brother Robin.  Sadly, she has been denied the opportunity to be a child herself.  SHE is clearly the strength of this story, an unforgettable character and, my heart went out to her and her situation.

A slow moving and intricate story, it is one where you really get a chance to know each character.  I loved the descriptiveness of the small town and the sense of community. Some of the characters are so caring and others frightening.  Most of the characters were broken in some way or seriously flawed but, they came across as genuine as well. Told in multiple POV, both in the past and present,  at times I wished that I had the print edition instead of the audio.  George Newbern, did a decent job as narrator but, a few times I wondered who was speaking.  This is a story that will stick with me for a long while, likely to make my 2021 tops list as well.

RATING: 4.5/5 stars 

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

36 comments:

  1. That does sound really good, except for the slow moving part!

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    1. Forget I mentioned slow moving, it's slow moving i a good way LOL

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  2. Another good one to add to my TBR list. I really like when you get a chance to know all the characters in a book, even the flawed ones. :)

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  3. Great review, Diane! I added this to my list a few days ago and now I know to get the print edition rather than try to listen to the audio. Thanks!

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    1. Yes, print definitely and a great choice for book groups as well.

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  4. This is why I have a difficult time with audiobooks: I am never totally sure who is speaking. This sounds like a good read.

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    1. Yes, Helen, I love audios but do so much better when there is only a few characters or a single POV.

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  5. Oh that must've been terrible -- testifying against your friend. But even worse is the consequences of the tragic accident and how it changed people's lives.

    Sounds like a heartbreaker.

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  6. Diane, this sounds like a very intense book. Excellent review.

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  7. I love your review, I may be adding this to my 12 ft. long tbr list!

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    1. Vicki, I know what you mean, I won't live long enough to read books I own never mind those on my wish/TBR/list.

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  8. I have this one, but haven't started it yet. Glad I have the print version.

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    1. Jen, yes print would be preferable. Very good story though.

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  9. This is already on my wish list, so I'm glad to hear it's a winner. Thanks for the advice...I'll read rather than listen.

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  10. I have this one in my reading queue and I hope to get to it soon. You make me want to move it up the line!

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    1. Dorothy, this will be on the top of many 2021 reading lists I suspect - enjoy.

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  11. Looks like the character development wins out in this mystery novel!

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  12. 4 and 5 star reviews for this book have been coming through my Goodreads timeline lately. It's on my list and I'm glad to see you liked it!

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  13. This sounds like one I would like for being intricate and character driven.

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    1. I think this would be a hard book for just about any type of reader not to praise in some way.

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  14. I really enjoyed this one. I suppose mainly because every time I felt like the rollercoaster had finally stopped, we took off again toward the next big surprise down the tracks. Like you, I did this one via audiobook, and I wonder if my reaction would have been different to the written word.

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    1. Sam, that's what I loved - so many surprises along the way. It was so well-written.

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  15. Yeah I want to get to this one. It is widely hailed ... and I'm glad you liked it too. I wonder whether the audio is good?

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    1. The audio isn't bad but I had wished I had the print for a few parts.

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  17. I was set to receive a review copy as an influencer for the publisher but I never got it. I plan to read it on my own soon.

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    1. It's such a well written story, a few things happen that I didn't expect - love that.

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  18. Sounds like a good one! Will keep this in mind.

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