He Started It by Samantha Downing
Publishing Date: 30th April 2020
Source: Received from the publisher via NetGalley, thank you!
Number of pages: 400
Genre: General Fiction, Mystery & Thrillers
| Paperback (out on 01.10.2020)
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.
In “He Started It” three estranged Morgan siblings meet again after their grandfather’s death for a road trip in order to become their inheritance. And it’s not A road trip, it’s THE road trip, duplicating the one with their Grandpa when they were children, the one they will probably never forget. There are also some stipulations in the will that they must fulfil, for example that nobody is allowed to end in jail – sounds already promising, no? As all three of them, Beth, Portia and Eddie need the money, and it’s a great amount of money, they of course agree to do it, even though they’re not too excited about it, because they know that everything can happen, they only don’t know how bad it can be… And so they take us on an adventure full of betrayals, secrets, lies and imploding relationships.
This book was filled with characters that were, actually, impossible to like but, as I’ve already learnt, you don’t have to like the characters to enjoy the book – it is more challenging for the reader, I think, to persevere, but this time it fully paid off, as the story was full of twists and turns and it was getting more and more bonkers. I’m not sure if it was believable to me, certainly it was not relatable but maybe this is the strength of this story, so simply make yourself comfortable and go on this roller – coaster journey together with the characters.
I can’t stop thinking that perhaps telling the story, instead of making Beth a narrator, would be a better idea, because we only got her point of view. And she was not the most relatable or the most interesting narrator, let’s be honest. On the other hand, I enjoyed the fact that she was not relatable, her humour and sarcasm, and yes, she admits she’s not perfect, that she’s a cheater – she really kept playing with my mind, and I quickly learnt that I can’t be sure if she’s telling the truth. She was wild, edgy and brutally honest in her opinions. Through her eyes we also learn about her family history and really, the more I read, the more shocked I was. Because the family described in “He Started It” could win a jackpot in the most dysfunctional family of the year contest. Really, guys, the more I read and the more I got to know the whole family, I couldn’t believe how dysfunctional they are and was actually scared to see what more information can wait around the corner. The relationships between the family members, the hate, mistrust and false loyalties… urgh, I tell you, it was not nice, not nice at all.
There were moments that the story dragged on too much, it felt as if the book plodded along, and after many long moments of not many things happening, the author started to throw twist after twist after twist, totally taking me by surprise. But there were also moments that made me roll my eyes. Yes. I know it’s fiction, I know it’s supposed to be a thriller but I still need a certain amount of believability in the book.
And I don’t know, I’m not sure about the end. I’ve finished this book some time ago and still don’t know what to think about it. Isn’t it a bit too… ambiguous?
It was original and refreshing, more bonkers and crazy than a thriller to be honest. However, because of this bonkers and crazy I think it was hard to me to connect with the story. I loved the writing style, it was sharp and fast and filled with sarcastic humour, and the descriptions of the places were brilliant, the author truly brings them all to life. It was full of lies, secrets and twists that kept coming and coming and the characters turn out to be totally different to what we could have thought about them. It’s about siblings rivalry, betrayals, lies and, altogether, dysfunction. It was clever and sharp – observed, oddly addictive and something totally different to what I have expected and I really like the surprise effect it had on me.
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