Book Review: He Started It by Samantha Downing

He Started It by Samantha Downing

384 pages

ISBN: 9780451491756

Publication date: 7/28/20 by Berkley

Genre: Mystery / Thriller

Rating: 5 out of 5.

B&N | Amazon

Thank you to Berkley and NetGalley for the early digital copy in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads synopsis:

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. 


Trigger warnings: Murder, gambling, cheating, manipulation, drugging, physical/verbal abuse.

I picked this up last month, and I couldn’t get into it. I set it down because I didn’t want to be disappointed. I wanted to give the book a good shot. I read it this month because I thought it was going to be published on the 28th, but it has been postponed until July because of the virus. I’m glad I decided to give it another go. It’s one of my new favorite mystery/thrillers.

If you start reading this and think it’s a little weird, keep going! The writing is extremely vague, short, and choppy. If you can get through that, then you’re golden. There is so much that happens after about 30% that you don’t even focus on how it’s written. You’ll just keep flipping those pages. I also think the writing was meant to be that way, so the reader doesn’t feel any attachment to the characters. Believe me when I say that you will not feel anything but hate for these characters. They are all pretty terrible human beings when it comes to morals.

Beth is our narrator, and at first I thought she was pretty clever. She has a very dry personality. She’s the type of person that I probably wouldn’t be friends with, but I can still appreciate their existence. Then she gets really weird when you learn who the missing person is. It doesn’t say it in the synopsis, so I won’t spoil it for you.

Eddie is my least favorite sibling. I could tell from the start that something was fishy about him. He goes off to talk on the phone with random people; he treats his wife like garbage, he never agrees with the group, and he always wants to be the boss. I would have shoved him out of the car.

Throughout the story there are flashbacks to when the siblings were on the same road trip with their grandpa. It was a total nightmare. Anyway, Portia was the only one I really felt bad for. She was too young to know what was happening. All the siblings took advantage of her. I still didn’t end up liking her by the end of the book, though.

There are some blunt murder scenes in here that don’t let you think twice about what just happened. Don’t be fooled by the normal-ish family road trip, because when money is involved, the meaning of family is thrown out the window.

I would highly recommend this one. If it doesn’t surprise you at all, then just enjoy the journey it takes you on, because it’s a wild ride. It can be brutal and weird, but I didn’t find it super unrealistic like some thrillers I have read recently. I loved it. And I can’t wait for Downing to write more!

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Author: passionatelyperusing

I have recently joined the book community and I am enjoying it. I will be reviewing books on this blog as well as posting other bookish related posts. Most of the books I read are Young Adult but I'll try to read any genre. Let me know your opinions, but be respectful of others. Don't forget to tell people about this blog if you enjoy it!

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