Review: He Started It by Samantha Downing

Title: He Started It by Samantha Downing
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 400 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through Edelweiss


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.


He Started It by Samantha Downing is a fiendishly twisted domestic mystery.

Beth Morgan has a devilish sense of humor as she, her husband Felix, sister Portia, brother Eddie and sister-in-law Krista set out on road trip in order to inherit their grandfather’s fortune. They must follow the same path as their ill-fated trip with him twenty years earlier.  Visiting the same horrible tourist spots as before, Beth muses on the increasingly tense trip in both the past and present.

Beth is becoming more and more irritated with her siblings and husband as they spend long hours together in each other’s company. She is also internet stalking an unknown person and hints at her own past misdeeds. Beth’s frustration with Felix turns to amusement as she toys with him after an unexpected discovery. As they re-create their earlier trip, she remembers new details from the earlier journey that are as shocking as they are revealing.

Although he did not initially plan on bringing his wife with them, newly married Eddie and Krista are blissfully happy. But as the days pass, Krista becomes very disillusioned with Eddie and she is very unhappy with their tourist stops. After one particularly stressful day, Krista returns home after an argument with Eddie. But why is not answering anyone’s texts?

Baby of the family Portia is a bit spoiled and spends the trip drinking heavily. She is cagey about her life in New Orleans but Beth knows more about her sister’s profession that Portia thinks. She was only six years old during the first excursion so how much does Portia remember about that fateful trip?

He Started It is an entertaining, darkly humorous mystery with a unique plot and a love to hate cast of characters. Beth is a slyly clever narrator who is pragmatic and somewhat unsentimental. The storyline is compelling and full of unanticipated twists and turns. With stunning revelations, Samantha Downing builds the tension to a fever pitch as the novel comes an abrupt and frustratingly ambiguous conclusion.

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Filed under Berkley, Contemporary, He Started It, Mystery, Rated B, Review, Samantha Downing, Suspense

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