Tag Archives: Mystery

Review: We Begin At The End

We Begin At The End

We Begin At The End
By Chris Whitaker
Henry Holt and Co., 9781250759665, March 2021, 384pp.

The Short of It:

If you are looking to be entertained by some unforgettable characters then you’ve found your book.

The Rest of It:

Duchess Day Radley is a thirteen year-old outlaw. You see, the Radleys have a history and Duchess knows it and has no problem reminding others of it every chance she gets. She is a pistol through and through and won’t allow anyone to bully her family in any way. This includes her young brother Robin and her wayward mother, Star.

Duchess spends her days looking after her brother, mostly because her mother has a tendency to pass out drunk in the font yard. Everyone in town knows Star, and they knew her sister Sissy too, the one who was killed by a drunk driver years ago and the man who did it was just released from prison and lives right across the street.

As reputations go, Star’s is not great although her heart is in the right place. She tries to do right by her kids, but seems to always fall short. That’s why there is an entire cast of characters looking out for her, one of which is Walk, short for Walker, who is Cape Haven’s Chief of Police. He and Star go way back. He does what he can to help her out, but one night, he’s not able to and the entire town is affected by the tragedy.

Small town life. Tragedy. Unforgettable characters. The hope of new beginnings. When I picked up We Begin At The End, I just knew within the first few chapters that this was going to be a story that would stay with me for a very long time. First off, the writing is beautiful. There were some passages that I read out loud just to hear the words. What pushed this book over-the-top for me, in a wonderful way, are the characters. Duchess is all edges, hard and bristly but you can’t help but love her even when her “tell it like it is” demeanor puts a wedge between her and anyone trying to get close to her.  Walk is kind-hearted, honest when he needs to be but also a realist and loyal to a fault. I’ve got to mention Thomas Noble. He’s a gentle young man who befriends the tough Duchess Day Radley and loves her regardless of all the pushback that she throws his way. What a lovable kid. He reminded me of Owen Meany in a lot of ways. I could go on and on about the characters.

“You’re the toughest girl I ever met. And the prettiest. And I know you’ll probably hit me, but I think my world is infinitely better because you’re in it.” ~Thomas Noble

This is one of those reads that you savor. You turn the pages slowly because you don’t want your time with these people to end. You read a passage and then find yourself staring off into space pondering what you just read. This story broke my heart in so many ways but man, did I love it. It’s still early in the year but this will probably be my favorite read this year.

Source: Review copy provided by the publisher.
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

Review: The New Neighbors

The New NeighborsThe New Neighbors
By Simon Lelic
Berkley, 9780451490452, April 2018, 352pp.

The Short of It:

You might have a pre-conceived notion about what this book is about but you’d be wrong.

The Rest of It:

Jack and Syd find their dream home. It’s way outside of their means, but after the open house where couple after couple put in their offers, they toss theirs in as well thinking they don’t have a chance in hell of it being accepted but why not?

Well, it’s accepted.

The house is large and majestic in the way large, neglected homes are. It’s has good bones and potential but Jack and Syd can’t shake the feeling that something is off. When Jack goes into the attic to find the source of a strange smell, he discovers something and from there, one bad thing after another happens.

This was a good story but it’s not all “creepy house” and woo-woo if you get my drift. I think it’s marketed to be that way and in all honesty, the title doesn’t quite fit the story. It took a long time for something to happen and it wasn’t until 100 pages in that I began to really look forward to reading it. This is one of those reads where if you give it time, it does pay off in the end. There are some twists and interesting choices made with character and plot but ones that had me turning those pages. Overall, I enjoyed it.

Source: Copy provided by the publisher.
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.