He Started It by Samantha Downing
Downing’s debut thriller My Lovely Wife surprised me in the absolute best way last year (you can read my review here) and I’ve been looking forward to seeing what she’d offer up to readers next!
Siblings Eddie, Beth, and Portia aren’t particularly close as adults. In fact, they don’t even trust one another.
When their grandpa dies, the three find that there is a large inheritance that will be divided equally among them if they meet a few conditions: They must recreate the road trip taken in 1999 and scatter his ashes at the end. They cannot deviate from the original trip at all and anyone who ends up in jail or fails to complete the trip will get nothing.
Beth narrates this trip and is up front with readers from the beginning that her dysfunctional family has a history of secrets, rivalries, and deception for personal gain.
It doesn’t take long for readers to realize that there is a whole lot of crazy to unpack on this road trip! Grandpa wasn’t a dear old man intending to bring his grandkids back together to share fond memories and make new ones. No, he has a motive and Beth is going to figure out what it is.
The siblings have used each other their entire lives when there was anything to gain from an alliance or a betrayal. It has been a game they’ve played since childhood and it continues on the road as they consider their options.
Eddie and Beth have brought their spouses along for the ride, which raises the stakes because neither has any idea what actually happened on the original trip.
Beth barely knows Krista, who Eddie seems to have marrried entirely on a whim after leaving a long-time girlfriend recently. Her own marriage to Felix is under some strain with work stress and the fact they can’t agree on if they want children …and she’s been cheating on him.
In a mini van crisscrossing America with pit stops at random sites like the Bonnie and Clyde Ambush Museum, the Gunfighters Wax Museum, and the Codger Pole; this family has to (literally) survive each other in order to claim their vast inheritance.
What a wild ride! Downing once again gives us unlikeable yet fascinating characters who are willing to share all their dirty secrets with readers, which are revealed at a pitch perfect pace for maximum shock factor! I had no idea what direction this story was going in, I was just happy to be along for the ride.
I highly recommend He Started It to readers who love a good mystery/thriller with unreliable narrators and juicy secrets to be revealed.
Thanks to Berkley and Edelweiss for providing me with a DRC in exchange for an honest review. He Started It is scheduled for release on April 28, 2020.