Book Review: He Started It by Samantha Downing

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He Started It  He Started It

Publish Date: April 28, 2020

Go on the road trip. Scatter my ashes at the end. Once I’m in my final resting place, my estate will be equally divided between you.” — He Started It

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Beth, Portia, and Eddie Morgan haven’t all been together in years. And for very good reasons—we’ll get to those later. But when their wealthy grandfather dies and leaves a cryptic final message in his wake, the siblings and their respective partners must come together for a cross-country road trip to fulfill his final wish and—more importantly—secure their inheritance.

But time with your family can be tough. It is for everyone.

It’s even harder when you’re all keeping secrets and trying to forget a memory—a missing person, an act of revenge, the man in the black truck who won’t stop following your car—and especially when at least one of you is a killer and there’s a body in the trunk. Just to name a few reasons.

But money is a powerful motivator. It is for everyone.

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This book is a twisty, unpredictable ride about dysfunctional family ties, and it’s highly entertaining.

Grandpa recently passed away, but before his heirs get their greedy, grubby hands the money they must first go on a road trip/scavenger hunt. And it’s not just your average road trip. They must recreate a cross-country trip that they took with Grandpa when they were kids, retracing their steps through the towns, motels, and monuments.

This adult sibling trip filled with revenge, betrayal, lies, secrets, hidden agendas, and dodging bullets. The dynamics between the siblings Beth, Portia, and Eddie Morgan are fascinating. They know each other very well and take advantage of this, which leads to a lot of bickering, insults, and hurtful words hurled into vulnerable places.

The writing is entertaining, vivid, and makes you feel like you’re watching a movie. The story switches back and forth between the childhood trip and the adult trip. What a messed-up family! All of the characters were unreliable, including the manipulative grandfather and even the narrator. No one was creditable and I didn’t know what was the truth. I binge read the entire book in a few nights. The plot grabbed me and wouldn’t let go. There were many underlying mysteries that were revealed over time.  I had no idea how it was going to end.

My favorite quotes:

“I love my siblings, all of them, I really do. I also hate them. That’s how it goes – love, hate, love, hate, back and forth like a seesaw.”

“All the things I’ve learned since the last trip, the most important is this: You can’t fight every battle.”

“Money gives you options, and the more options you have, the freer you feel.”

“Liars that good are hard to find.”

“Every family needs a dull bulb. Not everyone can be as bright as the sun.”

This book is about betrayal, murder, lies, greed, secrets, family, relationships, and memories. Like My Lovely Wife, the book is very dark but has an amusing side. I love Samantha Downing’s writing style: it’s engaging and conversational, and she’s a master storyteller. The book jumps around, and flashes back and forth from the present, past, and in between. Each chapter builds up to a little cliff hanger or ends with a teaser and had me wanting more.

Oh, and it has a shocker of an ending. Fasten your seat belt for this wild ride of a book. I recommend it.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars 4 Stars

Note: I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher through Edelweiss exchange for an honest review.

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