Chris Whitaker’s We Begin at the End was awarded the CWA Gold Dagger, the UK’s premier literary crime writing award, at an online ceremony last night (1st July, 2021).

Published by Zaffre, the thriller picked up the coveted final award of the evening. The award caps an incredible twelve months for the New York Times bestseller, with the novel previously being picked as a Guardian thriller of the year and a Mirror best book of the year.

The Crime Writers’ Association described the book as a ‘wonderfully realised story set in a small American town. With an unforgettable central character in thirteen-year-old Duchess, and a strong cast of characters and personalities, this is a truly memorable read suffused with familial breakdown, attachment, guilt and redemption.’

Celebrating the win, Whitaker said: ‘I’m going to be insufferable now. Thank you to everyone who has supported me and my writing. Thank you to the judges, my fellow authors, publishers, and my amazing agent – this one’s for the outlaws’

The book fended off stiff competition from a shortlist that included the highly commended Blacktop Wasteland by S. A. Cosby and House of Correction by Nicci French.

Running since 1955, the CWA Gold Dagger recognises the best crime or thriller novel originally written in English by an author of any nationality. Past winners have included: Ann Cleeves, Ian Rankin, Henning Mankell, Val McDermid, Patricia Cornwell, Joan Fleming, John le Carre, Peter Dickinson, and Ruth Rendell.

We Begin at the End is Whitaker’s third novel, with his YA debut The Forevers set to publish this month (July 2021) with Hot Key Books.