He Started It
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.

He Started It Details

TitleHe Started It
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJul 21st, 2020
PublisherBerkley
ISBN-139780451491756
Rating
GenreThriller, Mystery, Fiction, Mystery Thriller, Adult, Suspense, Contemporary, Crime, Family, Adult Fiction

He Started It Review

  • Nilufer Ozmekik
    January 1, 1970
    NUMB. SPEECHLESS. STUPID. TRAINWRECK. That’s what I felt after reading this brain cell stealer, head spinner, face puncher, mind number, body hair remover story. Let me say what I think about those DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS kind of NASSSSTYYY SIBLINGS. I hated them. I detested them because they’re human disposal, waste okay I’m taking back, I think they lost humanity for lonnnng time ago. I read their traumatic family story but I waited for learning that they’re adopted children and their biologic NUMB. SPEECHLESS. STUPID. TRAINWRECK. That’s what I felt after reading this brain cell stealer, head spinner, face puncher, mind number, body hair remover story. Let me say what I think about those DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS kind of NASSSSTYYY SIBLINGS. I hated them. I detested them because they’re human disposal, waste okay I’m taking back, I think they lost humanity for lonnnng time ago. I read their traumatic family story but I waited for learning that they’re adopted children and their biological parents are Lucifer ( not Tom Ellis, real one) and Lilith. But unfortunately I didn’t get the revelation I expected.Three siblings: asshole brother Eddie (yes, if you google the word a.hole you may see his picture on your computer screen.), Beth ( our crazy narrator who is talented pathological liar), Portia (kleptomaniac) one passive, peaceful husband and one small town girl wife start to one of the weirdest road trip, same route three siblings had taken when they were young and still evil. But at that time they’re missing elder sister had been also the part of team. As you can imagine they didn’t voluntarily to accept this trip to see the exact places where Bonnie and Clyde die or seeing a monument of old team players , nobody has any idea who they are, eating greasy food at diners and staying at the truck drivers and serial killer’s best choice kind of motels. Nope! They accepted because their grandfather wrote it at his will. They want to take their share from the inheritance. But they should finish the road trip as law abiding citizens (Yes! A jail break is a big no and rule breaker for them)This book is entertaining dark comedy, thrilling action mesmerizes you with its snappy writing style of the author: talking by middle child of the trio: Beth: Definitely not any kind of exampled heroine: cheater, great liar, schemer but at least her inner thoughts were raw, sarcastic, entertaining. I loved to live in her brain and way of crazy thinking. Yes, I think I loved this anti-heroine so much. (My choice of actor who should play her: Amy Adams, anyone who is not Reese Witherspoon –do you realize she started to play at all book adaptations-)Do you want to hear my other casting choices?Eddie should be played by Chris Evans (Because he was really great as asshole villain at Knives Out and he’s also America’s ass. Bless Captain America!) As Portia, my actor choice is Florence Pugh ( Nope I didn’t choose her because she’s great Amy March. Watch her performance at Midsommar! You’re gonna understand clearly why I chose her!)And I visualized grandpa as BRUCE DERN. When you read the book you’re gonna agree my opinion.OVERALL: THIS BOOK IS SOOOOO CRAZY! SOOO SURPRISING! SOOO TWISTY! AND ENDING IS LIKE A BOMB EXPLOSION AT YOUR FACE! BOOM!Samantha Downing is one of the intelligent thriller writers who never let you get bored and captivating your attention, hooking you from the first paragraph, playing with your mind and making you kill your spider senses because you can never ever see what will come next at the story. She is at least fifteen steps ahead of you. And be prepared to get punched at the fascinating ending. I loved her debut novel “My Lovely Wife” but in my opinion, this book exceeded my expectations and I loved this one more!I’m doing my happy cartwheels and thanking to Netgalley and Berkley Publishing from sending me this ARC COPY and giving me the best Christmas present in exchange my honest review.bloginstagramfacebooktwitter
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  • Dita
    January 1, 1970
    There is no sophomore slump here. None! At all!!I read 300 books last year and My Lovely Wife was my favorite. I loved this EVERY SINGLE BIT as much!I loved being in Beth's head as she was forced to take this road trip from hell with her dysfunctional siblings, nerdy husband and new sister-in-law. She is wily, wry, hilarious, snarky, sad and a teensy bit crazy.The ending blew me away. Brava!! I just cannot...Reading this book made me feel like I got to hang out in Samantha Downing's head for a f There is no sophomore slump here. None! At all!!I read 300 books last year and My Lovely Wife was my favorite. I loved this EVERY SINGLE BIT as much!I loved being in Beth's head as she was forced to take this road trip from hell with her dysfunctional siblings, nerdy husband and new sister-in-law. She is wily, wry, hilarious, snarky, sad and a teensy bit crazy.The ending blew me away. Brava!! I just cannot...Reading this book made me feel like I got to hang out in Samantha Downing's head for a few days and it was a super fun place to be. (We both appreciate double battered onion rings and therefore should be besties, but I digress.)Grab this the second you can. Do not pass Go, do not collect $200.Thank you Goodreads for selecting me as a winner for this giveaway!
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  • Meredith
    January 1, 1970
    I couldn't wait for this road trip to end! 3 siblings are forced to reenact a childhood road trip in order to claim their inheritance. The drive to their final destination leads them into danger, as all are plotting behind one another’s back. Secrets are unearthed, betrayals revealed, and relationships implode.I don’t have much to say: The plot is convoluted and the narrative drags and drags and drags. Beth the narrator is a toneless bore who keeps telling and telling and telling FOR THE ENTIRE I couldn't wait for this road trip to end! 3 siblings are forced to reenact a childhood road trip in order to claim their inheritance. The drive to their final destination leads them into danger, as all are plotting behind one another’s back. Secrets are unearthed, betrayals revealed, and relationships implode.I don’t have much to say: The plot is convoluted and the narrative drags and drags and drags. Beth the narrator is a toneless bore who keeps telling and telling and telling FOR THE ENTIRE BOOK. I would have enjoyed this more had I been able to see what was going on vs. being constantly told by boring Beth what was happening. I loved My Lovely Wife, and it pains me to write this review, but, wow, what a disappointment! I received an ARC of this book from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Debra
    January 1, 1970
    There is a quote in the book about families being the least forgiving of them all. Would you agree? I bet Eddie, Beth, and Portia would! The siblings are on a road trip where they are recreating a road trip they previously took with their grandfather when they were children. Their grandfather has died and has left instructions in his will that they must finish this road trip in order to collect their inheritance. Sounds easy, right?Except for this time, Eddie and Beth have their spouses with the There is a quote in the book about families being the least forgiving of them all. Would you agree? I bet Eddie, Beth, and Portia would! The siblings are on a road trip where they are recreating a road trip they previously took with their grandfather when they were children. Their grandfather has died and has left instructions in his will that they must finish this road trip in order to collect their inheritance. Sounds easy, right?Except for this time, Eddie and Beth have their spouses with them and the three siblings are hiding a secret (s). The one secret is a BIG one. Something that neither Eddie nor Beth have shared with their spouses - there is a member of their family who has been missing for years. Plus, a black truck is following them...All the siblings have their quirks, none are entirely who they initially present themselves to be. As the book progresses, we learn more about them, their secrets, their rivalries, their personalities and just how dysfunctional they all are. Beth is our narrator and she is quite the character. She admits in the beginning that she is a cheater and one might wonder, is she a reliable narrator? She gives us family history, insight (well, coming from her POV), and adds to the drama.I'll admit, the beginning was a little slow for me but soon picked up and I did feel as if I was on this road trip right along with them. They made me appreciate my normal, easy-going sister a lot more! This book had some twists, turns and reveals. Samantha Downing did surprise me on several occasions while reading this book. Will she surprise you? This book went from slow to interesting. Put me in the camp that enjoyed the ending. I found it to be clever. Just what will Downing come up with next? I look forward to reading more books from her in the future!Thank you to Berkley/Penguin Publishing Group and Edelweiss who provided me with a copy of this ARC in exchange for an honest review. All the thoughts and opinions are my own.
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  • Susanne Strong
    January 1, 1970
    4 StarsFamily: You can’t Pick ‘em, but Sometimes, you sure which you could!Ah, the nostalgia of family road trips! Unfortunately for Eddie, Beth and Portia, they don’t exactly have fond memories of the road trip they took with their dear old Grandpa when they were young. Nightmares are more like it! So why, pray tell would they be willing to relive the experience all over again? An inheritance of course! Dear sweet Grandpa bequeathed them each with lots of dough on one condition, they must take 4 StarsFamily: You can’t Pick ‘em, but Sometimes, you sure which you could!Ah, the nostalgia of family road trips! Unfortunately for Eddie, Beth and Portia, they don’t exactly have fond memories of the road trip they took with their dear old Grandpa when they were young. Nightmares are more like it! So why, pray tell would they be willing to relive the experience all over again? An inheritance of course! Dear sweet Grandpa bequeathed them each with lots of dough on one condition, they must take that exact road trip one more time. Sounds easy enough right? Eddie, Beth and Portia, should have figured that it would be dangerous, treacherous even. After all, each prides themselves on keeping secrets. Whoppers, if you will.. and let’s face it, if you aren’t going to keep secrets from your family, who are you to keep secrets from? “He Started It” by Samantha Downing has an oddly addictive quality to it! I kept turning page after page even when I knew I needed to put the book down! It’s compelling and engrossing and all of those dastardly little secrets got me and got me good! After having read Ms. Downing’s debut novel, “My Lovely Wife” (which was one of my favorite reads of 2018) and now this, I can say that Samantha Downing is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors and I will read anything and everything she writes. For those of you who haven’t haven’t read anything by her, it’s about time you changed that!As far as family road trips go, thanks for the lesson, I plan on steering clear! This was another fabulous buddy read with Kaceey.Thank you so much to Elisha at Penguin Publishing Group for the arc and to Samantha Downing as well. Published on Goodreads on 12.8.19To be published on Amazon upon its release.Excerpt to be published on Instagram upon its release.
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  • Kaceey
    January 1, 1970
    Road trip!! WHEEEEEEE!Remember those unbearable road trips you took when you were a kid? Stuffed into the backseat with your annoying siblings! So busy fighting you missed all the bizarre roadside attractions? Well, what if many years later you had to retrace those steps? That’s right boys and girls! It’s another road trip! Only now you’re all grown up! And guess what…if you make it to the end? There just might be a surprise waiting for you! Bonus!Buckle up!When grandpa died, the instructions in Road trip!! WHEEEEEEE!Remember those unbearable road trips you took when you were a kid? Stuffed into the backseat with your annoying siblings! So busy fighting you missed all the bizarre roadside attractions? Well, what if many years later you had to retrace those steps? That’s right boys and girls! It’s another road trip! Only now you’re all grown up! And guess what…if you make it to the end? There just might be a surprise waiting for you! Bonus!Buckle up!When grandpa died, the instructions in his will requested his grandchildren to retrace the trip he took them on as children. If they can pull it off while adhering to a few specific rules along the way, they will all inherit from his estate. Good luck kids! ‘Cause you’re all going to need it!Ladies and Gentlemen, start your engines!Samantha Downing writes a clever thriller that will keep you flipping the pages as the sibling rivalries are re-ignited, ramping up to full throttle! Secrets! Lies! Maybe even murder? How terribly juicy! Quick question: How is your relationship with your family members? Think you could all survive the Highway to Hell road trip?Happy trails!I'm glad I read this one alongside Susanne as it created quite a conversation at the end! I think it will for you too! I'll be curious to see what you all think!Thank you to Elisha at Berkley Publishing and Samantha Downing for an ARC to read and review.
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  • karen
    January 1, 1970
    like many books in this 'rona-riddled world of ours, this one's birthday got pushed back from april to july, which is an even better time of year* for escaping into a page-turning thriller about a backstabby family and their ill-fated road trip**. but don't take my word for it—trust in the HOT sticker!!!this is the dysfunction-laced tale of three estranged siblings who are about to inherit a lot of money. and all they have to do is fulfill the terms of their wealthy grandfather’s will—to reenact like many books in this 'rona-riddled world of ours, this one's birthday got pushed back from april to july, which is an even better time of year* for escaping into a page-turning thriller about a backstabby family and their ill-fated road trip**. but don't take my word for it—trust in the HOT sticker!!!this is the dysfunction-laced tale of three estranged siblings who are about to inherit a lot of money. and all they have to do is fulfill the terms of their wealthy grandfather’s will—to reenact the cross-country road trip he took them on when they were kids and scatter his ashes at the end. which would be a simple enough request, and even a sweetly nostalgic one, if what went down on that trip was something any of them wanted to revisit or even remember.AND if the will didn't have additional, somewhat ominous fineprint stipulations disinheriting anyone who fails to complete or otherwise deviates from the original route or anyone winding up in jail before the final destination.AND if they weren't being followed the whole way by a menacing black truck whose occupants seem hell-bent on sabotage. it's a perfect tinderbox of a situation—all the expected discomfort and grumpiness of a family road trip (also i need to say here how much i LOVE this title) with layer upon layer of additional tension: three siblings who haven’t been around each other for quite a while, quickly remembering why they haven’t been around each other for quite a while, packed into a rental car with two spouses, their grandfather's ashes, and all of their literal and psychological baggage, riddled with secrets and suspicions, reckoning with past grievances and buried resentments and that brand of emotional backsliding and regressive behavior that rears up in the presence of family members who knew you when, hypnotized by the monotony of the road, bloated with greasy fried food and alcohol and murrrrrrderit's funny and dark with very sharp edges, as the tales of two road trips unfold through calculating middle-child beth's POV, who knows what she knows and suspects what she suspects and shares what she feels like sharing with the reader, who is taken on a very twisty journey—i suspected a thing, and then, as though sensing i suspected a thing (or more likely having deliberately led me to this suspicion), downing confirmed and then undermined the thing, reversed it and then reversed it again, leaving me too dizzy to focus on some of the other things going on in the periphery, catching me off-guard to my great delight.i am being vague because i must.if you enjoyed Knives Out, there's a good chance you will also enjoy this toxic family reunion where seeeecrets and inheritance rekindle sibling rivalry, bring out those competitive streaks and deceit and greed and murrrrrderrrrrrrrrr and it's all deliciously vicious and popcorny. so, as far as that ending goes. i read this book in the Before. in the Now, the ending bothers me less. it's an ending that matches my outlook and my expectations for what happens now: (view spoiler)[resigned and unresolved but likely hopeless (hide spoiler)] for myself and my enemies, for anyone who was spoonfed a fantasy of bonnie and clyde as a tragic love story before being thrust into a museum full of bodies and bullets and blood. none of us expected this. * inasmuch as time has meaning anymore** imagine being confined with your family for a long time??? hahaha no but imagine if road trips could exist?***************************************this was one of those books where i didn't even want to stop reading long enough to take a pee break. i was completely consumed, engrossed, hearts in my eyes, neglecting all the other things i was supposed to be doing and then that ending??? I AM UNDECIDED NOW!four stars for now, lemme think on it and figure it out while i'm writing the review. if i ever get caught up on reviews.come to my blog!
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  • Jayme
    January 1, 1970
    Grandfather's Will has been read, and the instructions are clear: Eddie, Beth and Portia must go on THE road trip, that he had taken them on when they were just kids, and scatter his ashes at the end. Once he is in his final resting place, his assets would be divided equally between the three. His liquid assets alone come in at $3,453,000 with a house, car and furnishings yet to be sold. Of course, there are a few final conditions: Anyone who ends up in jail, who does not complete the trip, or w Grandfather's Will has been read, and the instructions are clear: Eddie, Beth and Portia must go on THE road trip, that he had taken them on when they were just kids, and scatter his ashes at the end. Once he is in his final resting place, his assets would be divided equally between the three. His liquid assets alone come in at $3,453,000 with a house, car and furnishings yet to be sold. Of course, there are a few final conditions: Anyone who ends up in jail, who does not complete the trip, or who deviates from the original trip in ANY way, will get NOTHING.Is this their Grandfather's way of reuniting the siblings who have not spent time together in years? This is Samantha Downing! So, you KNOW it Isn't!!With their "eyes on the prize" the 14 day road trip begins...To survive Each will need a Strategy. Each will need an Alliance.Each will need a little Luck. Good thing they learned about all three while growing up and playing the board and dice game RISK, as a LOVING family...Oh Samantha Downing, you are SO VERY CLEVER...I THINK I know the answer to your question..But, MAYBE I don't. A terrific buddy read with Marilyn and Kim..LOTS to discuss!! TRUST ME..you will want to read it with a friend so you can talk about the ending!! Thank you to Edelweiss, Berkeley and the author for the digital ARC I received in exchange for a candid review. This will be available on April 28, 2020 and I am already looking forward to seeing what Samantha Downing has in store for us next!!
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  • Brenda - Traveling Sisters Book Reviews
    January 1, 1970
    Hot Diggity Dang!!! I am back in the groove!! RTC
  • BernLuvsBooks
    January 1, 1970
    4 Siblings: Can't Live With Them So Why Not Kill Them Stars! I kid, I kid but really if you have siblings you know that no matter how much you love them, you've fantasized about hurting them at some point or other. Let's be honest, we're all friends here. 😉 Samantha Downing is my new Queen of Dysfunction! First, we saw just how dysfunctional and crazy marriage can get in My Lovely Wife which I LOVED. Now, we have the ultimate sibling road trip from hell in He Started It and I was 100% b 4 Siblings: Can't Live With Them So Why Not Kill Them Stars! I kid, I kid but really if you have siblings you know that no matter how much you love them, you've fantasized about hurting them at some point or other. Let's be honest, we're all friends here. 😉 Samantha Downing is my new Queen of Dysfunction! First, we saw just how dysfunctional and crazy marriage can get in My Lovely Wife which I LOVED. Now, we have the ultimate sibling road trip from hell in He Started It and I was 100% buckled in and along for the ride! I binged this page-turner in one day people! Yup, told ya I was all in. Needless to say Ms. Downing has quickly become an auto-buy author for me. I can't wait to see what that mind of hers comes up with next! I loved being in Beth's head during this road trip from hell. She is witty, snarky and jaded with a pinch of crazy sprinkled on top. In other words - she's my kind of girl! 🤪 So what brings 3 siblings and 2 spouses together to re-enact a crazy road trip from their childhood? Money of course. You know that saying - money is the root of all evil. Well, it sure is true here! Eddie, Beth and Portia have to re-do the one and only road trip they took with their Grandpa in their youth in order to claim their inheritance. Things start out well enough but as the trip goes on we see that everything isn't exactly what it seems. We find ourselves uncovering dark secrets from the past while on a treacherous, possibly life threatening journey in the present. Sibling rivalry, betrayal, lies and shake your head, did I just read that juicy family drama run rampant. And that ending! Let's just say if I ever take a road trip with my siblings, I'll be sleeping with one eye open - just in case. A huge thank you to the amazing Samantha Downing, Berkley Publishing and Netgalley for allowing me to review an advance copy of this amazing read due out on April 28th. Mark your calendars friends - this is one family road trip you won't want to miss!
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  • Dorie - Cats&Books :)
    January 1, 1970
    From the blurb for this book you all know the basics; estranged siblings have to reunite for a road trip in order to gain their inheritance. They have to exactly duplicate the road trip none of them will ever forget, with their Grandpa, decades before. They all found out about the road trip the same way, a conference call with his lawyer when he died. He read Grandpa’s words exactly as stated “Go on the road trip. Scatter my ashes at the end. Once I’m in my final resting place, my estate will be From the blurb for this book you all know the basics; estranged siblings have to reunite for a road trip in order to gain their inheritance. They have to exactly duplicate the road trip none of them will ever forget, with their Grandpa, decades before. They all found out about the road trip the same way, a conference call with his lawyer when he died. He read Grandpa’s words exactly as stated “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.” THE ROAD TRIP, not A ROAD TRIP. There had only been one. “Your grandfather stipulated that anyone who ends up in jail, who does ot complete the trip, or deviates from the original trip in any way, will get nothing.” The inheritance was a lot of money that they all needed, of course they would do it!To say that this family is dysfunctional is a gross understatement. The original road trip with Grandpa wasn’t something that was planned, he gathered them together one summer and off they went in his grayish green minivan. Their parents weren’t consulted or even advised of the plans but you’ll get to that in the story. Grandpa had some pretty crazy ideas of what were the sites to see on the trip, no fun amusement parks for this group. There was a cadillac graveyard where everyone got to paint the rusting cars; the Bonnie and Clyde museum complete with replicated bloodied dummies and the car with hundreds of bullet holes; just what every child wants to see.I know that this is a thriller but I still require some amount of believability in any book and this one had none. The characters were all unlikable and unreliable narrators. The book plodded along at the same pace as the road trip, I grew tired of the wait. Many find this book very entertaining but I felt bored during at least three quarters of the book, it’s a long time to wait for a POW ending. It’s a great book to read along with a friend, which I did, which made it more interesting. The ending was so far fetched it was as though the author could have just thrown anything at us!I’m giving it 3 stars for originality and craziness but I can’t say that I would recommend it. I received an ARC of this book from the publisher through Edelweiss.The book publishes April 28, 2020.
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  • marilyn
    January 1, 1970
    Published July 28, 2020From the outside, looking in, the Morgan family looks so normal. The 1999 version of the family has a mom, dad, kids, and a grieving grandfather, who has just lost his wife. But the mom and dad fight often, so Granddad decides to take the kids on a road trip. It's a bit confusing for the kids when their nightly calls to mom and dad indicate that they don't seem to be onboard with this road trip and granddad closely censors each child's conversation with their parents. Not Published July 28, 2020From the outside, looking in, the Morgan family looks so normal. The 1999 version of the family has a mom, dad, kids, and a grieving grandfather, who has just lost his wife. But the mom and dad fight often, so Granddad decides to take the kids on a road trip. It's a bit confusing for the kids when their nightly calls to mom and dad indicate that they don't seem to be onboard with this road trip and granddad closely censors each child's conversation with their parents. Not only that, Granddad is taking the kids to some very questionable tourist spots such as a museum flaunting the murders and deaths of Bonnie and Clyde and their victims. Granddad seems to have the trip all planned out, and when they all stay in a seedy motel each night, he plants his cot in front of the door, giving the impression that the kids are prisoners on his demented road trip. Twenty years later, the siblings are recreating the road trip due to the demands of Granddad's will. They must hit each tourist spot and reach the final destination to scatter Granddad's ashes. There are some extra stipulations that should be easy to follow but prove hard for one of the siblings. It doesn't help that the adult siblings can't stand each other, maybe hate each other, and would be willing to stab any of the others in the back, given the chance. In the early days, Dad made the kids play a family game of Risk each night, honing their skills of strategy and alliance, but in the end, putting oneself before all others. The kids learned the lessons of Risk very well and live their lives based on what they learned. Things didn't go well on the first road trip and they aren't going to go well on the adult road trip. Beth, the narrator of this story is sarcastic, self demeaning, funny, and admits she is a cheater, liar, and more. I loved seeing this story through her eyes, through her deceptions, through her manipulations. At first, I was unsettled that the ending of the story is so ambiguous, but once I gave it more thought, I realized I just needed to see the entire adventure in the way that Beth teaches us to see it...all the clues are there and then I knew what happened next, right after the final words of the story.This very clever story, requires some thinking and paying attention to what is presented to us. Trust nobody, nothing is as it seems, this family is dysfunction personified. And if possible, read this book with buddies, it makes for a fabulous buddy read. I had so much fun reading this book with my friends Jayme and Kim. Thank you to Berkley/Penguin Publishing Group and Edelweiss for this ARC. 
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  • Gabby
    January 1, 1970
    Closer to a 4.5, idk I need to think about it moreAhhh, this book was a wild ride. After reading My Lovely Wife last year and loving it so much I knew I would want to read anything Samantha Downing writes in the future, and after this book she has made her way into my auto-buy authors list, this book was incredible!!This is a road trip story that follows three siblings: Beth, Eddie and Portia. They have to go on the same road trip they went on when there were kids with their Grandpa in order to Closer to a 4.5, idk I need to think about it moreAhhh, this book was a wild ride. After reading My Lovely Wife last year and loving it so much I knew I would want to read anything Samantha Downing writes in the future, and after this book she has made her way into my auto-buy authors list, this book was incredible!!This is a road trip story that follows three siblings: Beth, Eddie and Portia. They have to go on the same road trip they went on when there were kids with their Grandpa in order to secure their inheritance, because their Grandpa recently died and left behind millions. They are not very excited about this road trip though because of all the shit that happened on the road trip when they were kids (which we read about throughout this book in flashbacks).I wasn’t sure if I would like this book because I usually don’t like books revolving around road trips, and for that reason I’m hesitating to give it 5 stars, I found some parts of this book to drag just a little because of the road trip aspect, and it’s definitely a slow burn mystery thriller. But, I did finish this book within 24 hours because I’m currently sick with the stomach flu and this book kept me wildly entertained the whole time so I appreciate it for that! I love following from Beth’s POV, she’s this untrustworthy narrator and you don’t always understand her intentions. In fact, nobody in this book is trustworthy and I think that makes for the best kind of thrillers. I love that Beth is constantly saying she doesn’t make a good heroine and she’s actually the perfect anti-heroine and I love to read from the mind of characters like her, it’s just so entertaining.And that ENDING!!! 🤯🤯🤯 What the heck, I literally reread those last few pages three times after I finished it just in case I missed something! Like how could it end like that akshdjdjajwz. I am simultaneously frustrated but also I have so much respect for this author, like damn that was one hell of an ending.Huge thanks to Berkley for sending me an ARC, make sure to check this one out when it publishes in April!
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  • Elyse Walters
    January 1, 1970
    I’ll begin by saying I was - still am - a big fan of “My Lovely Wife”.Samantha Downing raised the bar with psychological thrillers with her outstanding debut. I’m still enthralled with Samantha’s talents, in “He Started It”.... and plan to keep reading her books as long as she keeps writing them. However....where “My Lovely Wife” rocked my page-turning world ....from its fabulous beginning and fabulous ending....“He Started It”....( started out exciting), eventually wore me down. I felt the book I’ll begin by saying I was - still am - a big fan of “My Lovely Wife”.Samantha Downing raised the bar with psychological thrillers with her outstanding debut. I’m still enthralled with Samantha’s talents, in “He Started It”.... and plan to keep reading her books as long as she keeps writing them. However....where “My Lovely Wife” rocked my page-turning world ....from its fabulous beginning and fabulous ending....“He Started It”....( started out exciting), eventually wore me down. I felt the book lost its edge for the entire last thirty percent, becoming first tedious, then boring, then finally ridiculously silly.I felt much like one of the characters in the book when Eddie said.... “Nothing is here—no marching band, no welcome banner, nothing to mark our arrival”. You’ll meet the Morgan Siblings > Beth, Eddie, and Portia. While on a car trip together. Beth brings her husband, Felix. Eddie brings his wife, Krista. Portia is not married. These adult siblings ( and the two spouses), don’t want to be together.They have no interest in spending hours upon hours together for fourteen days sleeping in crappy motels and eating crappy foods in diners or from gas station food stores...visiting museums and attractions they don’t want to visit (again), but in order to collect a beefy inheritance from their deceased Grandpa.....that’s the deal. Grandpa took the siblings on this same car trip when they were kids. The premises had great potential- but it couldn’t sustain the magic. There was too much dangly pendulous suspicion—vacillating a little too much between visiting museums & attractions in different states, the mystery of Grandpa’s conditions to receive their money bundle, the cars that followed, ( both trips), the mystery of a forth sibling, ‘Nikki’, and a travelogue journey. Character development, ( rather the lack of mature adult development), and interactive-dialogue between the characters was fun, fresh, and sassy. It was always easy to dislike at least one of the characters at any given moment. There were enough lies, secrets, jealousy, selfishness, manipulation, patronizing, opposition, abuse, sick games, betrayals, and violence, to create a bomb explosion. Beth... middle sibling, was a great narrator telling this story. Her devious inner thoughts and scheme plotting was a kick. Her voice and inner voice was one of the books strength. I enjoyed visiting some of the tour-attractions—but not all. That part was just personal taste - I had no interest in the UFO’s....but I did have interest in The Helen Keller House, The Bonnie and Clyde Ambush, The Henry Humphrey memorial, and The Codger Pole ( cedar logs with the head of the Golden players carved into them)....But the plot and subplots - storytelling itself - began to have a monotone feeling ( around 70%), rather than an elevated momentum of excitement. Lots of sibling bickering, between the strategizing-RISK- ( yep, board game), playing family.....antibacterial wipes for those motel room, unreliable memories, a night of camping in the woods, Fried bologna sandwiches, booze, cigarettes, candy stealing and other thievery, (yep, it’s great to have a kleptomaniac for one of the characters), even an Etch-a-Sketch made its way into this story.So....yes..this book was mostly fun...glad I read it ....enjoyed more than 50% very much....I would have loved to have been able to view other ending possibilities....However... I still like Samantha Downing’s creative thought process.....and spunky writing.....I admit being glad when that last section of this book was over - more than ending with a ‘wow’ feeling....I still believe Samantha raises the bar on the psychological thriller genres.3.7ish ....rating up to 4 stars.
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  • Lindsay - Traveling Sisters Book Reviews
    January 1, 1970
    2.5 stars. A long family road trip filled with memories and surprises. The three Morgan siblings are headed on a road trip. In fact, it’s the same road trip they took with their grandfather twenty years prior. This road trip reunion is their deceased grandfathers request in his Will. In order for the grandchildren to receive their inheritance, they must follow the exact same route.After loving this authors debut, My Lovely Wife, I was very excited to get my hands on a copy of this latest novel. 2.5 stars. A long family road trip filled with memories and surprises. The three Morgan siblings are headed on a road trip. In fact, it’s the same road trip they took with their grandfather twenty years prior. This road trip reunion is their deceased grandfathers request in his Will. In order for the grandchildren to receive their inheritance, they must follow the exact same route.After loving this authors debut, My Lovely Wife, I was very excited to get my hands on a copy of this latest novel. Unfortunately, this didn’t live up to my hopes and expectations. The writing was great, however, I simply didn’t connect with the storyline. I enjoyed the snark and humour of the Beth, the middle sibling who narrates the novel. Her inner thoughts were wild, edgy and entertaining. Her character is what kept me intrigued and curious to see how the plot would come together in the end.My main issue with this book was the storyline itself. It felt very long and drawn out and couldn’t hold my full attention. A lot felt repetitive and mundane and as the book progressed, I completely lost interest. Several plot points were overly dramatic and unrealistic and while I can see how some would find it entertaining, I didn’t connect or feel invested.Overall, it was a quick and easy read with lots of drama and family rivalry. Please read the many favourable reviews of this novel as I am clearly the outlier.Thank you to Edelweiss for my review copy!
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  • Norma
    January 1, 1970
    Wowzers! This was such a twisty, irresistible, and rapid-paced read! Loved the road trip angle and all the stops along the way!I absolutely loved this one and I can't wait to chat with Samantha Downing who is joining us March 2, 2020 @7: 00 pm EST in our Behind the Pages group for a spoiler-free Q & A.https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/... Wowzers! This was such a twisty, irresistible, and rapid-paced read! Loved the road trip angle and all the stops along the way!I absolutely loved this one and I can't wait to chat with Samantha Downing who is joining us March 2, 2020 @7: 00 pm EST in our Behind the Pages group for a spoiler-free Q & A.https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...
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  • preoccupiedbybooks
    January 1, 1970
    A dark, tense psychological thriller that was shocking, sad and riveting!"You can choose your friends, but sho' can't choose your family" (Harper Lee).3 estranged siblings,2 spouses,An uncomfortable road trip to claim their grandfather's inheritance...What could possibly go wrong?!If you think your family road trips were awkward, they were nothing compared to the Morgan family, who took sibling rivalry to another level! Betrayal, greed, secrets, lies, this over the top, dysfunctional family were A dark, tense psychological thriller that was shocking, sad and riveting!"You can choose your friends, but sho' can't choose your family" (Harper Lee).3 estranged siblings,2 spouses,An uncomfortable road trip to claim their grandfather's inheritance...What could possibly go wrong?!If you think your family road trips were awkward, they were nothing compared to the Morgan family, who took sibling rivalry to another level! Betrayal, greed, secrets, lies, this over the top, dysfunctional family were wholly unlikeable! And yet they were all such compelling characters! Samantha Downing is so great at that in my opinion, I didn't like or trust any of these characters, but still wanted to read about them! Beth the narrator, fully admitted that she was no heroine of the story, she was deeply flawed, and kind of detached, but I just had to keep reading this story from her POV!He Started It was paced very differently compared to My Lovely Wife. That was a fast paced thriller, whereas this one had a very slow and tense build up in the first half, followed by a crazy, non stop second half, which I read compulsively last night in three hours! During the first part, I felt like I was in that car with them, and actually experienced the long, boring journey! I could feel the unease and animosity between the siblings, could sense the mistrust, and possible ulterior motives. The writing was fabulous! I did not have a clue what was going on, or where this book was headed! I just couldn't piece together the little snippets of clues that we were given, or odd happenings, and all of the shocking twists and turns at the end left my brain hurting! I was definitely surprised! In fact, I was still thinking about this book, these awful characters, and that ending for about an hour after I had finished the book, as I lay feeling uneasy in my bed. Some will love the ending, many will not, I still don't know how I feel about it!!! Please message me if you have read this, and tell me what you think!! I neeed to talk about it!I think the same applies to the whole of He Started It actually, it definitely wont be for everyone, but if you like dysfunctional families, a slow build up, followed by an explosive ending, then give this a go!I have no idea what Samantha Downing will come up with next, but whatever it is, I'm definitely reading it!Many thanks to Berkley, Penguin Publishing Group and Edelweiss for making this available for download, in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Mary Kubica
    January 1, 1970
    Samantha Downing shows how to pack a punch in her latest phenomenal thriller, HE STARTED IT.  A twisty, sneaking tale of greed, lies and betrayal, with each character more conniving than the next and an ending that will make your heart stop.  This one needs to be on the top of everyone's to-read list!  
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  • Meredith B. (readingwithmere)
    January 1, 1970
    5 Stars! You want a heroine. Someone to root for, to identity with. She can't be perfect, though, because that'll make you feel bad about yourself. A flawed heroine, then. Someone who may break the rules to protect her family but doesn't kill anyone unless it's self defense. Not murder, though, at least not the cold-blooded kind. Woahhhh what a WILD rideThree siblings: Beth, Eddie and Portia grew up together but their childhood wasn't all that normal. They eventually go their separate ways and 5 Stars! You want a heroine. Someone to root for, to identity with. She can't be perfect, though, because that'll make you feel bad about yourself. A flawed heroine, then. Someone who may break the rules to protect her family but doesn't kill anyone unless it's self defense. Not murder, though, at least not the cold-blooded kind. Woahhhh what a WILD rideThree siblings: Beth, Eddie and Portia grew up together but their childhood wasn't all that normal. They eventually go their separate ways and only until their grandpa passes away do they need to come back together and do the one thing they don't want to do: a family road trip. They all have secrets they are hiding and none of them trust each other fully. The best part is the road trip they are taking is one their grandpa took them on when they were younger which may not have been the best experience... However, money talks and the siblings are determined to get their inheritance.This book is unlike anything I've read before. I got sad every time I had to put it down and could not wait to pick it back up! I loved all the secrets and twists and turns that this book had in it. I felt like I was in the car as a 4th sibling the entire time and I was just watching it all play out. I had no idea when or if each sibling would turn on each other or what they were thinking at any given time. Including their spouses and having those dysfunctional relationships described also added a layer to the story that made it so enticing.I'm a pretty big thriller reader and thrillers that get me excited or keep me on my toes are becoming harder to come by. Somehow Samantha Downing is always one of those authors that does that in her writing. This will easily be one of my favorite books of 2020!Thank you to Berkley publishing for my copy of this book. This one publishes on 4/28/20 so be sure to preorder and pick it up when it comes out, you will not regret it! **EDIT - Pub date has been pushed to 7/28/20 - this book is so worth the wait. Definitely preorder now!!!
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  • Marialyce
    January 1, 1970
    Ah who can do without family? They are the backbone of what we are, how we think, where we travel in life, how we hang together or don't. As the saying goes....you can pick your friends, but you can't pick your family" right? When their wealthy grandfather leaves a will that stipulates the grandchildren, all adults now, follow a road trip they took with Grandad years ago, to acquire their inheritance, they are on the way to some very bizarre remembrances and some even more bizarre happenings. Fo Ah who can do without family? They are the backbone of what we are, how we think, where we travel in life, how we hang together or don't. As the saying goes....you can pick your friends, but you can't pick your family" right? When their wealthy grandfather leaves a will that stipulates the grandchildren, all adults now, follow a road trip they took with Grandad years ago, to acquire their inheritance, they are on the way to some very bizarre remembrances and some even more bizarre happenings. For it is the almighty dollar sign that motivates Beth, Portia, and Eddie with two of their significant others to climb aboard and take on the trip that seemed to have been a hell of a ride years ago.Indeed they are and were a dysfunctional family and their gene pool is strong for the weird, the strange, and the deadly. It seems that one of them might possibly be a bit more greedy than the rest, and as grandpa's ashes are in the trunk of their car, he seems to permeate the very air they all breathe.Lots of surprises in this book and most of them I didn't see coming. Having read My Lovely Wife, by this author, I was game to give her new book and try and was not in the least disappointed. So if dysfunctional families are your thing and you are ready to take a ride on the wild side, this book might just be for you. Thank you to Samantha Downing, Berkley, and Edelweiss for a copy of this thriller due out on April 8, 2020.
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  • Danielle (The Blonde Likes Books)
    January 1, 1970
    I absolutely loved Samantha Downing's debut, My Lovely Wife, and was dying to read her newest book, He Started It! The book takes place throughout a two week road trip across the US that siblings Eddie, Beth, and Portia have to complete before they can collect their dead grandfather's inheritance. This road trip is the same one they took as children with their grandfather, and you can tell there's some tension between the siblings early on, and I wanted to know why! Everyone has secrets. When we I absolutely loved Samantha Downing's debut, My Lovely Wife, and was dying to read her newest book, He Started It! The book takes place throughout a two week road trip across the US that siblings Eddie, Beth, and Portia have to complete before they can collect their dead grandfather's inheritance. This road trip is the same one they took as children with their grandfather, and you can tell there's some tension between the siblings early on, and I wanted to know why! Everyone has secrets. When weird things start happening to their car, and they keep seeing the same vehicle on their trip across the US, they start wondering if they are being followed. Is it coincidence? Is someone truly following them? What is each sibling hiding, and what happened on the last road trip? These are all questions I was asking myself throughout the book, but you'll have to read to find out! I absolutely loved this book! The plotting was unique, and the atmosphere was claustrophobic and tense, and it really lent itself well to this book. I think Samantha Downing is such a clever writer! She makes it hard to guess what's going to happen, and why, and I love that from thrillers, because so many of them have become formulaic. The entire book, I had no clue what was going on, or what was going to happen. I had some ideas, but nothing solid, so all I wanted to do was fly through the book and find out how things would end. I don't want to give anything away, but I will say that the ending is just as explosive and dramatic as you'd hope from a book like this, where everything is building to a specific end point - it wasn't a let down, and I loved every second of it. I read this with some friends who are also reviewers, and we spent a long time talking about the ending of this one - this would make a great book to read as a book club, or with a friend because it's one you'll want to talk about! This 5 star thriller is out April 28, 2020, so keep an eye out for this one! Many thanks to Berkley for my copy of the book. It was my pleasure to provide an honest review. 
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  • Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
    January 1, 1970
    Grandpa has passed away and he left a will. There are stipulations though...and the biggest one is that Beth, Portia and Eddie all have to go on the road trip that they took with their grandpa in their youth. I LOVE some road trips...and this part of the story was my favorite. You have the family taking a long trip and the good and the bad comes out. Like how the food starts to stink right along with your family. Good stuff right there.Then there is this family. Talk about some major dysfunct Grandpa has passed away and he left a will. There are stipulations though...and the biggest one is that Beth, Portia and Eddie all have to go on the road trip that they took with their grandpa in their youth. I LOVE some road trips...and this part of the story was my favorite. You have the family taking a long trip and the good and the bad comes out. Like how the food starts to stink right along with your family. Good stuff right there.Then there is this family. Talk about some major dysfunction. There are so many secrets that when I started the book I was eating it up. Then the twists kept coming. And coming...And coming... By the twisting turny end of this book I had turned off of it. And that makes me sad. It is a good book! I hate that one of my pet peeves is when there is just TOO many twists and I lose interest.Booksource: Netgalley in exchange for review.
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  • Ceecee
    January 1, 1970
    4-5 stars rounded upI really like the title and can totally relate to it as it’s my exact words about my brother many years ago - it usually was too!!! Siblings Eddie (control freak), Beth and Portia (flaky) go on a very unusual road trip. They are following the exact route of a trip from over twenty years ago with their grandfather, only on this one they have his ashes with them. They are tasked with scattering them at the end point in the Nevada Desert and in return they will receive a sizeabl 4-5 stars rounded upI really like the title and can totally relate to it as it’s my exact words about my brother many years ago - it usually was too!!! Siblings Eddie (control freak), Beth and Portia (flaky) go on a very unusual road trip. They are following the exact route of a trip from over twenty years ago with their grandfather, only on this one they have his ashes with them. They are tasked with scattering them at the end point in the Nevada Desert and in return they will receive a sizeable inheritance. What can possibly go wrong? Well, quite a lot actually! This is one crazy, mind bending journey and our narrator is Beth who seems to be the sensible one ... or is she? Maybe, maybe not! If there is an award for the weirdest road trip this would win hands down. We’ve got pick up trucks following and chasing, there’s guns, mace and general mayhem. It’s creepy, bizarre and disturbing. You think you’ve nailed who the good siblings are and then darn it, that sibling goes and does something awful. Of all of them Portia is probably the most likeable but, honestly? They all have moments of breath taking nastiness as they take sibling rivalry and greed to a whole new level. I love the games references throughout Beth’s narration such as The Story Game and especially Risk as I love that game too! What of the road trip? Well, I feel like I don’t need to bother to go to any of the states they tour cos I’ve been to ‘em all with this lot!! We went to the oddest museums ever (barbed wire?? What??? Yes, I know it was important, I know my history but seriously??? A museum dedicated to it - and its for real! I checked!!!) ghost towns, The Codger Pole (look it up!) a UFO watch tower and all the while consuming food to bring on heart disease (except for Portia!).I like the way it’s written, you really feel the rivalry, there’s humour as well as tension between them. The relationships chop and change during the trip and that is really interesting and entertaining. The end just beggars belief - I did not see that one coming but maybe I should as there’s so much that comes out of left field in this one! My head is spinning with all the convolutions. Overall, highly entertaining, very twisty and you think you’ve nailed it all down but Samantha Downing has the capacity to well and truly surprise you. Highly recommended. Many thanks to NetGalley and Michael Joseph for the ARC.
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  • Bridgett
    January 1, 1970
    Because I can... Why did you choose to read this book, Bridgett? Because I can... Why spend your entire Saturday devoted to this story? Because I can... Why give it 4.5 stars? Because I can...OH! And also because this sophomore offering from Samantha Downing was really, really good.Okay, peeps, this is a slow burner. In that way, it's nothing like it's predecessor, My Lovely Wife, which I found to be fairly fast paced. Having said that, I could tell this was a Downing novel from nearly the ve Because I can... Why did you choose to read this book, Bridgett? Because I can... Why spend your entire Saturday devoted to this story? Because I can... Why give it 4.5 stars? Because I can...OH! And also because this sophomore offering from Samantha Downing was really, really good.Okay, peeps, this is a slow burner. In that way, it's nothing like it's predecessor, My Lovely Wife, which I found to be fairly fast paced. Having said that, I could tell this was a Downing novel from nearly the very first page. Both narrators, in Wife and in He Started It, had a very distinct voice - both were wry, snarky, unflappable, intelligent, disturbing, somewhat monotone, and clearly not right in the head.I loved Beth. I didn't trust her, but I loved her. Then again, I didn't trust her siblings, Eddie and Portia, either. This is one effed family, friends. And as a reader, I just knew, as we traveled across the country with the Morgans, there was going to be a cataclysmic conclusion. Tensions built so slowly, and so many odd, inexplicable things occurred...I was in it, peeps. I had to find answers...and I had to find them ASAP. As the story progressed, I certainly had ideas about things...but I'm actually proud to say I was wrong, wrong, wrong. That happens so rarely anymore that I have to give credit where it's due......Samantha, you're brilliant. That final sentence though. Wow. I predict people are either going to freaking love this novel, or hate it. I'm betting we don't see much gray. Thankfully, I'm #TeamEmbraceTheCrazy. You've GOT to read this book. Be sure to grab a copy on April 28, 2020. **Many thanks to Denise, who offered to share her ARC with me.
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  • Hillary
    January 1, 1970
    WHAT WAS THAT?WHAT. JUST. HAPPENED?That ending was so unsatisfying, but I loved it? What? 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. I'm shocked and in awe. It's time to admit that Samantha Downing is one of the best thriller authors out there. This book is set entirely on a road trip and I don't even like books about road trips, but it still did it for me. I would totally call this book a thriller WHAT WAS THAT?WHAT. JUST. HAPPENED?That ending was so unsatisfying, but I loved it? What? 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. I'm shocked and in awe. It's time to admit that Samantha Downing is one of the best thriller authors out there. This book is set entirely on a road trip and I don't even like books about road trips, but it still did it for me. I would totally call this book a thriller for slytherins.I really loved My Lovely Wife, especially because of how twisty it was. When I started this one I was worried I wouldn't like it as much since it seemed like it lacked that quality. But boy, was I wrong! This is as twisty and juicy as My Lovely Wife, just in a different way. The plot is all over the place and I'm saying this in a good way. There are so many things at play you don't know where to look first, it's like watching three ping pong matches simultaneously.I think He Started It is a different thriller from the ones that are being published in the last years. Its main focus is family relationships and everything that could go wrong with them. The first pages let me think this was going to be a slow-burn all about the road trip, but after a while I realized it was about the messed-up characters instead. I love that the book is told from Beth's perspective because she is so incredibly bitter and mistrustful, and her voice and personality made the book even more fun. But honestly, I really loved all the characters.If that's not enough for you, know that this book is literally impossible to put down. Even when I wasn't reading I couldn't stop thinking about the story and the characters. Together with the story, Samantha's writing style made this book an addiction I couldn't stay away from. Even the most trivial things in this book, like the detail of the cigarettes and the whole marriage situation of the protagonist had me completely hooked.Another thing I enjoyed was the double narration. Between chapters there is always a journal entry and I have no idea why, but I love when a thriller does that. This one was no exception, it was super interesting to find out why the journal was important in the end. ‘These road trips are so screwed,’ Eddie says. ‘We always lose people along the way.’ Indeed. Imagine if this book became a movie. It would be a perfect movie. I would die.I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to read this book early. Thank you so much to Penguin UK for this arc! You made me a really happy reader. I can't wait to see what Samantha Downing writes next, she's on the way to become a new favorite author. I received an advanced reader copy through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.******I literally CAN’T wait for this book to be in my hands. The synopsis is full of elements I love and the plot sounds so intricate I’m already mindblown 🤯
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  • NZLisaM
    January 1, 1970
    He Started It brought sibling rivalry, complicated family and marriage dynamics, and competitiveness to a whole new disturbing level. Twenty years ago Beth (12), Eddie (14), and Portia (6) went on a 14 day road trip with their grandfather. To inherit his millions, the estranged-for-years brother and sisters are required to drive the exact route complete with the same stops – ending with the scattering of his ashes. Along for the ride are Eddie's wife, Krista, and Beth's husband, Felix.It’s the u He Started It brought sibling rivalry, complicated family and marriage dynamics, and competitiveness to a whole new disturbing level. Twenty years ago Beth (12), Eddie (14), and Portia (6) went on a 14 day road trip with their grandfather. To inherit his millions, the estranged-for-years brother and sisters are required to drive the exact route complete with the same stops – ending with the scattering of his ashes. Along for the ride are Eddie's wife, Krista, and Beth's husband, Felix.It’s the ultimate Highway to Hell, no escape, family road trip… again!For those who have ever thought that their relationships with their siblings, parents, grandparents or spouses was strained or unhealthy, believe me you have nothing on the screwed-up-ness that is the Morgan family. Secrets and lies were tantalisingly drip feed throughout, and each new reveal was more shocking than the last, culminating in an explosive, didn't see-it-coming in a million years, ending. Told through the eyes of middle child Beth, it's clear from the onset that she's unreliable, and that those she's travelling with aren't to be believed or trusted either. He Started It is one of those psychological thrillers where you’re not really rooting for anyone, but instead are turning the pages frantically and excitedly, anticipating just how messed up things are going to get, and just how far Samantha Downing is going to push boundaries. Those familiar with the author’s debut novel from last year – My Lovely Wife – will know that it's going to be far.He Started It was a unique and intriguing premise that delivered on every count. The level of detail and research that went into every macabre and unusual tourist trap, roadside diner, seedy motel and out-of-the-way, off-the-beaten-track place the family came into contact with added to the novels authenticity and creativeness. This is exactly how I like my psychological suspense, and I eagerly await whatever crazy idea Samantha Downing implements next.P.S. The title is ingenious.
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  • Kim ~ It’s All About the Thrill
    January 1, 1970
    So you say there is a new Samantha Downing book? I say...give it to me now! I couldn't wait for her latest book. My Lovely Wife was one of the best books I have read in 2019! If you have not read it yet, GO NOW...do it, just read it! Ready for the road trip from hell? You think your family is dysfunctional and the road trips leave a bit to be desired? HAHAHA you haven't seen anything yet. This is no Chevy Chase Family Vacation...this is the grandpa road show. Grandpa made them do it for the mill So you say there is a new Samantha Downing book? I say...give it to me now! I couldn't wait for her latest book. My Lovely Wife was one of the best books I have read in 2019! If you have not read it yet, GO NOW...do it, just read it! Ready for the road trip from hell? You think your family is dysfunctional and the road trips leave a bit to be desired? HAHAHA you haven't seen anything yet. This is no Chevy Chase Family Vacation...this is the grandpa road show. Grandpa made them do it for the millions. Yes, millions of dollars that he left them in the will. Only stipulation? The 3 siblings must recreate the road trip they did as children with good old gramps. Sounds easy right? Just don't break the rules...if you break the rules you are out...which means more for the others?! Hmmm... this could get really interesting.This was a thrill ride right from the start for me. I loved the road trip with all the tension and the creep factor. Staying in seedy little motels on the side of the road. Dealing with less than desirable folks along the way. Reliving the "good old days" of the past road trip.......not!! Who would you kill and how was one of gramps favorite road trip games....Just saying...So if I loved it so much, why the 4.5 stars instead of the 5 shiny ones? Well the ending.....thankfully I had two smart, insightful friends to buddy read this with! If our theory is correct, then this ending was spectacular! The only thing is I am pretty sure we are correct, but there is also a small chance we are not. I just like my endings to be a bit more clear cut. With that being said, I still loved it! Her writing style is amazing! I flew through this book at record speed! I will be first in line for her next book! Samantha Downing is defiantly on my must read list and has quickly become one of my very favorite authors.Thank you so much to Berkley for this ARC via Edelweiss! So glad I got the chance to read this early.
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  • Amanda
    January 1, 1970
    Eddie, Beth and Portia are not close siblings but when their grandfather dies they gather together, as he has left them an unusual request in the will, they all repeat the road trip that they went on with their granddad. The will stipulates; “That anyone who ends up in jail, who does not complete the trip, or who deviates from the original trip in any way, will get nothing” There is a large inheritance for them if they can complete the road trip and scatter his ashes. Sounds EASY but you know th Eddie, Beth and Portia are not close siblings but when their grandfather dies they gather together, as he has left them an unusual request in the will, they all repeat the road trip that they went on with their granddad. The will stipulates; “That anyone who ends up in jail, who does not complete the trip, or who deviates from the original trip in any way, will get nothing” There is a large inheritance for them if they can complete the road trip and scatter his ashes. Sounds EASY but you know this will be the road trip from hell and with siblings like these who needs enemies!! They are vile, manipulative liars who are out for themselves. So maybe not such a jolly holiday after all!!The story is told in two timelines in the present and back in 1999 when they all went on their road trip, which sees them visiting some strange and gruesome tourist places such as where Bonnie and Clyde died!!I simply couldn’t read this book fast enough as I was completely hooked and wanted to know the ending. I finished this and was like WOW, I felt like I had just come off a rollercoaster, dizzy and not sure what the hell just happened!!! Took me a second or two to comprehend the ending. Thank you to Netgalley for my copy in exchange for a review.
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  • DeAnn
    January 1, 1970
    4 watch out for the ending starsThe kids set out on a road trip with Grandpa to give their feuding parents some time to figure things out. The trip does not go well, and they are never the same. Years later, Grandpa has died, and his will stipulates that the kids must repeat the road trip in order to claim the inheritance.This one was a slow burn for me. We have Beth as our dysfunctional and unreliable narrator giving us a few clues along the way. Also along for the road trip are Beth’s husband 4 watch out for the ending starsThe kids set out on a road trip with Grandpa to give their feuding parents some time to figure things out. The trip does not go well, and they are never the same. Years later, Grandpa has died, and his will stipulates that the kids must repeat the road trip in order to claim the inheritance.This one was a slow burn for me. We have Beth as our dysfunctional and unreliable narrator giving us a few clues along the way. Also along for the road trip are Beth’s husband Felix and Eddie’s wife. This is a family that doesn’t get along, lies, keeps secrets, you name it! They are all motivated by the considerable inheritance though and try to make it work. Strange forces are at work during the road trip – road rage, sabotage, bar fights, just about everything under the sun.Let’s just say the ending is kapow and blew me away! I’m still deciphering all the clues in this one.This author hooked me with her first book “My Lovely Wife” and this is a stellar follow-up.Thank you to Edelweiss, Samantha Downing, and Berkley for an early copy of this one to read and review. Set to release on 4.28.2020.
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  • Mandy White
    January 1, 1970
    My Lovely Wife is certainly a tough act to follow. For that reason I was both excited and hesitant to read He Started It. Once again I tore through this book. It was dark and twisty and I couldn’t get enough.This is the road trip from hell! This dysfunctional family are reunited when their grandfather dies. In order for the 3 kids, Beth, Eddie and Portia to receive their inheritance they must once again travel across the US on the same trip that they did with him as kids. The family are. It clos My Lovely Wife is certainly a tough act to follow. For that reason I was both excited and hesitant to read He Started It. Once again I tore through this book. It was dark and twisty and I couldn’t get enough.This is the road trip from hell! This dysfunctional family are reunited when their grandfather dies. In order for the 3 kids, Beth, Eddie and Portia to receive their inheritance they must once again travel across the US on the same trip that they did with him as kids. The family are. It close and they all have their secrets so this was never going to be easy or fun. Along the way the truth of that first trip rears its ugly head. We travel with the family on their original trip as well as the present. Once again there is an ending that will shock you, I would have been disappointed if there wasn’t.Thanks to Penguin UK, Michael Joseph and NetGalley for my advanced copy of this book to read. All opinions are my own and are in no way biased
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