He Started It

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 3 May 2020

Member Reviews

What a journey in both ways. Three siblings take a road trip with their grandad's ashes following the route of a trip he took them on as children. 
I felt as if I got to know all the characters and I loved the way Beth made it obvious how she felt about people with just an odd sentence describing them. Lots of drawbacks on the way and I made quite a few wrong assumptions. 
Couldn't put it down and finished in one day - no time for anything else that day
Was this review helpful?
Having given Samantha Downing’s first novel five stars, I was eager to read her latest book. I was drawn in from the first chapter and finished it in just over a day. It’s set between a road trip taken in the past and the re-creation of it in the present day. We’ve got sibling rivalry, secrets, lies, murder and revenge. Everything you could want with a great plot line to back it up. A fantastic read that is worthy of five stars. Thank you to NetGalley, Penguin UK Michael Joseph and the author for the chance to review.
Was this review helpful?
Well this just goes to show you how powerful a motivator money can be. Would you take cross country road trip with family you haven’t seen in years in order to secure your share of a sizeable inheritance? Did I mention that country is USA and the trip will take about 2 weeks? If that still doesn’t sound bad enough it’s a repeat of a trip you took as kids. 
I think this is one of those books that you just have to take a deep breath and dive into as nothing anyone can say could adequately prepare you for the journey. The characters are a pretty awful bunch and the unreliable narrator is certainly that. My immediate thoughts when I finished reading it were ‘what in the world just happened there?’ and a day later I’m still feeling that way.
Was this review helpful?
I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I hoped I would but I did read it and I do look forward to reading more from this author some time in the future !!
Was this review helpful?
I had high hopes for this book but unfortunately for me it did not deliver. A psychological thriller it is not . It read more as a twisted road trip visiting museums with dark humour thrown in. The main characters were far from likeable and they knew it. The twist at the end was predictable. All in all a good read but nothing special.
Thanks to Penguin UK and Michael Joseph and Netgalley for the ARC.
Was this review helpful?
Really enjoyed this book what a great way to spend a day in isolation with everything going on just now.  I love the way this book escalates & is non stop,  loved her last book but this one might be even better.  Would recommend to anyone.
Was this review helpful?
Is there anything better than a road trip? When all of this Covid-19 drama is put to bed, hopefully in the very near future, I’m looking forward more than anything to booking a trip to see friends and explore our beautiful UK countryside. In the meantime, I’m sticking to staying at home and ploughing through my very large TBR pile. I’m actually way ahead of my Goodreads 2020 goal as it stands and it’ll be nice to be able to whack a few books back on my shelves and clear up my book trolley.

He Started It by Samantha Downing follows a trio of siblings as they undertake the road trip of a lifetime – to take their grandfather to his final resting place, following the route of the road trip they took with him when they were kids. It becomes clear very quickly on that this road trip isn’t full of entirely happy memories – and this time around is absolutely no exception. The siblings, Beth, Eddie and Portia, accompanied by Beth and Eddie’s partners, haven’t been together all three of them for a number of years – for good reason. They’re not particularly happy about the road trip but their grandfather left them with strict instructions – go on the road trip, stay out of trouble, and you get the inheritance. Don’t? Lose your share. And their share? Pretty big, life-changing amounts of money. They go off on the road trip and follow it down to a tee- but of course, before long, things start to get incredibly weird and everything they used to fear comes right back up to the surface.

As psychological thrillers go, it wasn’t a bad one – it was just a bit too long. The story could have been shorter, with a few less twists and turns, and been just as good. I must admit I really didn’t like any of the characters – but I think that was the point; they’re all horrible characters with horrible motives and that was expressed quite clearly. The twists and turns are quite intriguing for the most part, but the ending left me feeling a little bit robbed of the ending I needed. I’d recommend.
Was this review helpful?
I love Samantha Downing's books because they just escalate. They really do...they just keep going and shocking and going and by the end you're left with a finished book and your mouth hanging open in amazement. Those are the best kind of books! If you're ever worried about the psychological stability of your family...worry no more! You couldn't make this story up...or could you! This book has a healthy dose of humour and sadness - there are hilarious bits and poignant bits..and then there's the 'other' bits...
Was this review helpful?
I had high hopes for this book having read My Lovely Wife by the same author. Sadly the book didn’t live up to its expectations.
The book drags and I didn’t find the road trip really interesting. There were mild twists and turns but nothing gripping. I also felt there was a lack of chemistry/emotional connection (friendly, hostility or anything) between the main characters, don’t know if the author did this intentionally.
The storyline was boring and I just wanted to get to the end, but I have to say that the ending surprised me. I wasn’t expecting that. So will give the book 3 stars, just for the ending.
Thank you to Penguin UK for an advanced copy of this ebook and giving me a chance to review this book!
Was this review helpful?
I had high hopes for He Started It and what can I saw other than wow!! It has to be the best psychological thriller I have read in a long time. It was brilliant. It contains lots of twists and turns which kept me hooked and turning the pages at a great speed. Really enjoyed and can not wait for more from Downing.

Thank you NetGalley.
Was this review helpful?
He Started It by Samantha Downing 
Thanks @netgalley @smariedowning and @penguinbooks for my arc
Publication date 30th April 2020
•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••
Absolutely bloody brilliant. I loved this book. Packed full family secrets. And some crazy ones at that. I loved Beth, the middle sister and main protagonist of the story. She was real and witty and a bit dark. Amazing. Highly recommended xxx
Was this review helpful?
Thanks to Penguin UK - Michael Joseph and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Lets' be honest 'My Lovely Wife' was one of the best psychological thrillers you are ever likely to read. So, it was with some trepidation I approached 'He Started It'. Whilst I was not quite expecting a damp squib, I was certainly not expecting to love this latest product of Samantha Downing's extraordinarily imagination as much as I did. It has all the components of a great read. A psychological thriller that pokes its head above an undifferentiated pack of all too similar novels of its type. Downing has all the talents of a gifted storyteller, which is all too clearly exhibited in this book. 'He Started It' revolves around a road trip with a difference. A road trip taken at the behest of Beth, Portia and Eddie's grandfather. Ostensibly, the purpose of this trip is for the gruesome threesome to claim their inheritance. Money is a powerful motivator. There is more to this story than just money, however. There are secrets and lies, dark memories, and then there is the missing person... A black truck also dogs the path of the threesome on their quest. Why? With that certain panache and dark imagination that Downing has become increasingly known for, this twisty tale unfolds in an eminently satisfying fashion. It was a truly gripping read that simply demands to be read in one sitting. Oh, and then there is the denouement. Wow. I was certainly not expecting that! A gut-punch that left me awestruck. All in all another powerful, punchy, twisted and twisty psychological thriller from Samantha Downing.

4.5 rounded up to 5 stars.
Was this review helpful?
I absolutely loved reading My Lovely Wife last year.  It was one of my favourite books of the year and was memorable too, which doesn't happen often.  So I was really eager to pick up this next one from Samantha Downing.
Did it live up to the previous one?  In a word "no" and it didn't come close unfortunately.  
I really wanted to like this on the back of the previous one, if nothing else, but it was completely different.

None of the main characters of the book were likeable, which meant I did lose a bit of interest as I wasn't really rooting for anybody or any particular outcome to be the one which unfolded.
The other main problem for me was that the story unfolded around a repeating by a family of a lengthy road-trip around America which they'd done in childhood.  The premise of this is fine but when they're visiting quite dull museums/sites one after another as a loose thread to get the story onwards I did stop and question why I was reading about people visiting these sites when they're not even places that I'd be interested seeing in the flesh as it were!  If it was a form of dark/twisted humour, in detailing such dull places - it was lost on me this time unfortunately.

All in all a nice twist at the end made it a worthwhile read but I was left wanting a bit more if completely honest.  I'd certainly pick up the next Samantha Downing book based on the strength of her previous one but this one wasn't for me.  As ever, thank you for the preview copy.
Was this review helpful?
I really enjoyed My Lovely Wife - one of the elements I particularly liked was how fast-paced and straight forward it was. There was no vagueness or fuzzy language and I felt we got straight into the action.

It's the same with He Started It - at first I really appreciated how quickly the storyline got started and how fast we moved through each of the chapters. Despite the speed I felt the characters were fairly well developed (I hated pretty much all of them) and I felt a real sense of unease throughout, which doesn't often happen.

Unfortunately the book moved TOO quickly for me. Not a huge amount seemed to happen and then ending was over so quickly and I thought it was just ridiculous. It also felt that the narrator was constantly trying to prove "I'm not crazy, honest!" which was annoying. This would have been 1 star for me sadly however I gave it 2 because it did give me the creeps about halfway through!
Was this review helpful?
I adored My Lovely Wife, so was eager to get into this one. 

It’s delightfully twisty turny and well written - but very slow to start. I definitely had to push myself through the first third but then I flew. 

Worth a read.
Was this review helpful?
Whilst I did enjoy this book, it definitely was not quite as good as the first book from Samantha Downing. The characters were all believable albeit not very likeable. There was a lot of back and forth to the past and present day which wasn't always clearly identified. There was too much scene setting along the way which did become overkill. 

However the ending was a good twist, some bits you could guess at but not all of it.
Was this review helpful?
A different read.  Although as I progressed through the book I wondered if it would turn out to be another of those 'horror' stories where a set of psychotic hillbillies or equivalents in Australia follow an innocent family for miles and miles and miles or whether the book was in fact a subtle American tourist guide to 'off the beaten track' heritage sites.  However the book is neither and proves an excellent read.  You know something just has to happen at the end and it is very difficult to determine who, if any of the travellers,  will prove to be the 'baddie'.  Alternatively it might be 'and they all lived happily ever after' book.
There are definitely a number of twists and surprises throughout the book and the ending is excellent with several surprising twists and turns.  Thoroughly recommended
Was this review helpful?
A great read.
The plot of this book was jam packed with twists and turns, overflowing with the unexpected. A brilliantly crafted plot, which echoed the story itself in that it never headed quite where I predicted. 
The characters were well thought out and also full of unanticipated moments. 
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, one to add to the shelves
Was this review helpful?
When Beth, Portia and Eddies grandfather dies and leaves them a cryptic message in his wake, the siblings and their partners get together for a cross country road trip to fulfil his final wish and more importantly -to secure their inheritance. 
But time with your family can be tough - especially when you are all keeping secrets and trying to forget a memory -a missing person and a black truck which is following you.  However money is a powerful motivator.  It is for everyone. 

I enjoyed this book but didn’t like any of the characters in it.  None of the people are trustworthy and that’s why this book works so well.  It is written brilliantly, starts off slow but you soon find yourself absorbed in the story and needing to find out how it ends. 

If you liked My Lovely Wife then you should give this a go too. You won’t regret it I’m sure. 

Many thanks to Netgalley and the publisher Penguin UK for an ARC in exchange for my honest review.
Was this review helpful?
A road trip with a difference!  Strong characters.  As this family set off on their journey we begin to discover secrets from years ago - twists and turns, dark and intriguing.  I loved Samantha Downing’s first book, ‘My Lovely Wife’ and have been pleased with her latest story.  Recommend it.
Was this review helpful?