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Chris Whitaker Books In Order

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Tall Oaks (2016) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
All The Wicked Girls (2017) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Author Chris Whitaker worked in the city of London (the city that he was born in) for ten years as a financial trader.

Chris Whitaker’s debut novel “Tall Oaks” made the shortlist for the Last Laugh Award and CWA John Creasey New Blood Dagger. It was also one of Guardian’s crime book of the month, BuzzFeed’s brilliant summer reads, and Crime Time’s top 100 books of the year in 2016.

As a writer, he does not plan the back story, but does know where characters are heading. How they get to this destination, changes throughout the writing process.

The inspiration for “Tall Oaks” came from his love of stories (both books and television series) set in small town, USA. He knew right from the start that he wanted to pen a story that had a diverse cast of characters in it, each with their own issues and concerns. Whitaker also knew that he wanted the cast to feel connected to one another. There was also this glossy and respectable facade that masked a whole lot of big secrets, which was another thing that attracted him to the story.

When writing about Manny, Whitaker wanted him to be a tribute to “The Sopranos” and a lot of the gangster novels that he has read. This is even the first character that he started with, and he says, the favorite character in the book to write about, as well as the funnest to write about. He has the funniest lines, has a foul mouth, no fear, and no inner monologue. He is still strongly self aware and protective of both his sister and mother. Anytime a fan wants to discuss “Tall Oaks” with Whitaker, they usually want to start with talking about Manny.

The hardest character to write about was Jessica, because he had to put himself in her shoes while writing for her. When he wrote the book, his son was about the same age as her son, Harry (who goes missing) and thinking like her was not very nice for him. The easiest was Roger, because he can relate to him.

The first chapter in the book came from a time when he was checking on his son, who was sleeping in his bed, and it looked like there was someone else in the room. It was just a big cuddly toy that his son has. Then he got to thinking about the small town, and all of the details that would come along with that.

He wanted the novel to be a snapshot of a town’s life over a hot summer. Everyone would be at different points in their lives, experiencing the usual highs and lows that are special to them. It helped that the book is set three months after the actual crime, because things, for most anyway, are starting to return to normal.

Four novels that he believes are the “great American novels” are: “The Catcher in the Rye”, “The Road” by Cormac McCarthy “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee, and “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Another book he loves a lot is “The Last Child” by John Hart.

“Tall Oaks” is the first novel by Chris Whitaker and was released in the year 2016. A three year old boy, named Harry, goes missing and all of America turns its eyes onto a single small town. Everyone wants to help and everyone has become a suspect.

Jess, is a desperate mother, and her grief is starting to drive her to extreme measures. Jared, who is a newcomer, has an easy charm and a series of broken hearts that he has left in his wake.

A photographer named Jerry, who is dead set on breaking away from his mother (a controlling woman) for good. A police chief is investigating everyone and he has a hidden obsession all of his own.

The book starts off with a bang, before settling down to introduce all of the characters. You feel a lot of emotions from this book, more than some of the other books that are out there. Some wonder if small town, USA has ever been portrayed so brilliantly before. And unlike some novels that claim that a lot of people have big secrets (but pretty much do not) this novel features some mind blowing and shocking secrets. Fans of the novel found that the novel is able to combine humor and tragedy in such a logical way. Everyone who talks about the book cannot help but enjoy reading about Manny, he is sweet and hilarious to read about.

“All the Wicked Girls” is the second novel by Chris Whitaker and was released in the year 2017. Summer Ryan is loved by all. And why not? She is a musical prodigy and a model student; nothing but a ray of sunshine in a small town (Grace, Alabama) that is struggling. This is especially true when compared to Raine, who is Summer’s troubled sister.

Summer then vanishes. Grace is hot already, and this new tragedy makes the police have their hands full just to keep the peace. Raine then puts herself into the big search, and is supported by an ally that would surprise many. Then again, there always more to Summer than meets the eye.

Some feel that this was one hell of a way to follow up such a great novel that was “Tall Oaks”. Some readers thought going in, that “Tall Oaks” would be the better novel, that it was just too good and this one would not live up. They were wrong to think that, because this one did, very much so. The characters feel alive, with all of their relationships, emotions, and traumas. This is a book that makes you feel throughout reading it, makes you uncomfortable, and is disturbing, atmospheric, and dark. It is a different kind of book, one that will shake you to your core, even if that is not something that happens easily for you. Fans of the novel enjoy reading this for the way that the residents of Grace found an identity and pride just by looking for a missing girl. Whitaker is able to capture the essence of the small Southern town, both characters and the nuance found there. The novel is more than just a crime novel, it digs a lot deeper than that.

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