20th TV Nabs Rights to Mystery Novel 'We Begin at the End' (Exclusive)

Thomas Kail We Begin At the End Jennifer Todd
Courtesy of 20th Television (3)

Disney's 20th Television has snagged rights to the hotly anticipated novel We Begin at the End.

The studio won rights to Chris Whitaker's mystery over multiple other outlets. Thomas Kail (Hamilton) and Jennifer Todd (Showtime's City on a Hill) will develop the book via their Old 320 Sycamore banner; the company has an overall deal at 20th. They're currently searching for a writer to adapt the novel.

"Chris’ spellbinding murder mystery had us enthralled from the very first page, and Tommy and Jen are exactly the right producers to bring it to the screen," said 20th TV president Karey Burke. "The characters, the suspense, the emotional arcs, we were all captivated and knew we had to make this into a television series. And Jordan [Moblo] and Elizabeth [Newman], who run the newly formed IP acquisitions department of our studios, were dogged in their pursuit of the project."

We Begin at the End follows a convict named Vincent King, who's released from prison 30 years after being convicted for killing a 7-year-old girl, and the connection he has with the victim's 13-year-old niece, Duchess Ray Radley, and the chief of police in a small California town — Vincent's former best friend, whose testimony helped send Vincent to prison. The book, which publishes Tuesday, has made several lists of the most anticipated novels of the spring.

"Chris' remarkable voice and heart are woven into every intricate detail of this deeply moving story of family, redemption, and hope," said Kail and Todd in a joint statement. "We are beyond excited to be able to bring self-proclaimed modern-day outlaw, Duchess Day Radley, and the rest of these powerful characters to life onscreen with Karey Burke and her passionate team at 20th TV."

Added Whitaker, "I’ve spent such a large part of my life writing this book, and it means everything to have the perfect partners for this story in Tommy, Jennifer and Karey. I couldn’t be more thrilled."

The book deal was brokered by Luke Speed on behalf of Cathryn Summerhayes at Curtis Brown Group. It's published by Henry Holt and Company.