He Started It: Book summary and reviews of He Started It by Samantha Downing

He Started It

by Samantha Downing

He Started It by Samantha Downing X
He Started It by Samantha Downing
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  • Published in USA  Jul 2020
    400 pages
    Genre: Thrillers

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About this book

Book Summary

From the twisted mind behind mega hit My Lovely Wife comes the story of a family - not unlike your own - just with a few more violent tendencies thrown in....

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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Reviews

Media Reviews

"With our need to know ramped up through a series of teasers offering more to come, this tale is virtually impossible to put down." - Booklist (starred review)

"Will everyone make it to the end? Readers will be turning the pages to find out. Buckle up and settle in for one diabolically fun road trip." - Kirkus Reviews

"Those with a taste for suspense with a wicked kick will be rewarded." - Publishers Weekly

"Wholly original. Scarily clever. Completely mesmerizing. You will never look at family road trips the same way again." - Lisa Gardner, #1 New York Times bestselling author

"A twisty, sneaking tale of greed, lies and betrayal, with each character as conniving as 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!" - Mary Kubica, New York Times bestselling author of The Good Girl and The Other Mrs.

"A thrill ride through the darkest parts of the American landscape —funny, scary and twisted until the explosive final page." - Michele Campbell, internationally bestselling author of A Stranger on the Beach

"My Lovely Wife was one of my top books of 2019. He Started It is even better! Following a dysfunctional—to put it mildly—bunch of siblings on a bizarre and deadly road trip with their grandfather's ashes, He Started It is deliciously twisted, laced with Downing's trademark black humor and packed with one grisly twist after another. I loved it. All hail the new Queen of the psycho thriller!!" - C.J. Tudor, Sunday Times bestselling author of The Chalk Man

"Downing ups her game in this deliciously twisted tale of family deception. He Started It has layers upon layers of clever, shocking twists that begin in the first chapter and never let up. Breathless pacing and terse, impeccable writing create a phenomenal reading experience. I am obsessed!" - Wendy Walker, USA Today bestselling author of The Night Before

"A wicked-fun read with razor-sharp wit and a killer twist, He Started It is compelling, captivating, and deliciously dark. Samantha Downing writes with a wry, sparse elegance that steadily entangles you until you're utterly addicted." - Christina McDonald, USA Today bestselling author of The Night Olivia Fell

"A diabolical drive into a dysfunctional family's past. The story is chillingly twisted, perfectly paced. Once I started reading, I couldn't put it down." - Kaira Rouda, USA Today bestselling author of Best Day Ever

"I absolutely loved it: whip-smart, lean, deliciously dark and addictive. One of the best thrillers I've read in a long time" - Ali Land, bestselling author of Good Me, Bad Me
 
"He Started It is a dark, twisting road trip into hell with a family you wouldn't want to live next door to. I've never read anything like it!" - Mark Edwards, bestselling author of Here to Stay

"Sibling rivalry reaches new and downright despicable heights...Creepy, unnerving and deliciously evil, Samantha Downing is one of the boldest authors I know. A must read!" - Hannah Mary McKinnon, national bestselling author of Her Secret Son, and The Neighbors.

"Samantha Downing is an absolute genius at creating twisted characters you're desperate to follow...A psychological thriller like none other, this addictive read is impossible to put down." - Samantha M. Bailey, author of forthcoming Woman on the Edge

"Samantha Downing has done it again! With her second novel, He Started It, this master of sarcasm and suspense brings us a story that is impossible not to relate to. Initiated by a dead grandfather's will, we find ourselves trapped in a car journey with siblings that loathe each other's presence. As the miles pass, secrets and deceptions abound, and we are kept guessing until the very last line. Downing's style remains in a league of its own, with to-the-point crisp language and snappy dialogue readers are taken on a gripping and edgy adventure." - Maureen Joyce Connolly, author of Little Lovely Things

This information about He Started It shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

Reader Reviews

Write your own review

Barbara B. (Holbrook, NY)

He Started It - Samantha Downing
I was in the middle of this book when all of this news about the Coronavirus really began to escalate. This was able to allow me to escape (for a time) the scary news surrounding all of us. Not that this novel didn't have it's share of psycho and twisted events. Never knew how it was going to end. The ups and downs of this book were incredible. I truly loved it and highly recommend it to fans of the psychological thriller with some major surprises thrown in.

RebeccaR (Western USA)

Totally Enjoyable, Twisting and Turning Plot.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and perhaps part of the fun was that I had no idea what to suspect. I had not yet read author Samantha Downing's previous bestseller, MY LOVELY WIFE. The premise of the book sounded like a universal event - the death of a family member. The few additional details continued to sound enticing. There is going to be a reunion of some kind, involving a road trip with siblings that had not been particularly close; okay, that's certainly understandable since many people agree on the concept of friends being the family one chooses for oneself. However, nothing could have prepared for me this fun read. My memories of grandparents are all so positive that I still miss them to this day, but the grandfather of Portia, Eddie, and Beth was something else. In addition, the siblings all seem quite different, and their relationship issues from the past are going to be intensified by the multi-million dollar inheritance. It is one they can access only after they meet a very specific requirement. Here is where the lies, deceit, and lack of trust intensify since the money comes with a very personal twist orchestrated by deceased Grandpa himself. The road trip, which was not a pleasant memory, must be recreated.

Why was this road trip so bad? It wasn't just the usual hardships of periods of boredom, restlessness, and varying bathroom needs for everyone in the vehicle. This one involved a plethora of strange day trips as well as downright scary behavior at times from Grandpa who is the the 'HE' in the title. Beth even refers to him as an a- -hole at one point. Get ready for this twenty-years-later reunion, narrated by Beth, as the two-week road trip unfolds. Any family member who fails to complete the trip is out, but another provision in Grandpa's will - that anyone who ends up in jail is out- builds a lot of unexpected suspense. Why jail? People will have fun discussing this contemporary story with other readers, and I am so pleased to have been fortunate enough to read an ARC from BookBrowse!

Cheryl M. (Le Claire, IA)

He started it!!!
"He Started It " is a common childhood refrain. It usual identifies who "he" is and what "he" started followed by the typical consequences. Sounds familiar, we all did it and had to learn to take responsibility for "It".  But what happens when it is carried too far, becomes a game, based on winning? Winning an inheritance by outlasting your siblings on a last trip stipulated by Grandfather to receive any part of that inheritance.The book "He Started It", draws you into several chilling scenarios where "He" could be one of any of the characters. And "It" could be any one of their actions to win. How does it start? Will it end? How far would you go? It's a quick, easy, increasingly chilling read right down to the last sentence. It would be interesting developing discussion questions for this book!

Yana G. (Poway, CA)

Family, you cant pick them, but....
Since I LOVED "My lovely wife" by Samantha Downing I sure had high hopes for "He Started It" and I can tell you that I was NOT disappointed. I loved it through and through. From the blurb for this book, the storyline is clear; estranged siblings have to reunite for a road trip in order to gain their inheritance. Are you ready for the road trip from hell? Do you think your family is dysfunctional? Think again!

Jill F. (Blackwood, NJ)

Wow!!
Not since "The Silent Patient" have I been caught so off guard by an ending. This book has more twist and turns than a roller-coaster! Who hasn't thought about killing somebody on a family road trip? This family is completely despicable but so much fun

Julie B. (Culver, IN)

He Started It
Oh my goodness! Seriously, one of the best plot twisters ever. I haven't read Samantha Downing's debut My Lovely Wife, but I will now. This book had so many twists and turns, my head was spinning, and I couldn't put it down. Secrets, lies, murder among siblings taking a road trip that they had reluctantly taken with their grandfather years before all for his fortune and to scatter his ashes. I usually have a sense of how things might end in a twisty plot, but I was clueless with this one. It was an amazing ending that I wasn't expecting. Get this book as soon as it comes out. Thank you so much to BookBrowse for allowing me an advance read.

...30 more reader reviews

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Author Information

Samantha Downing Author Biography

photo: Jacqueline Dallimore

Samantha Downing currently lives in New Orleans, where she is furiously typing away on her next thrilling standalone. My Lovely Wife is her first novel.

Author Interview
Link to Samantha Downing's Website

Other books by Samantha Downing at BookBrowse
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