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 crosscountry road trip to fulfill his final wish and— importantly—secure their inheritanceBut time with your family can be tough It is for everyoneIt'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 reasonsBut money is a powerful motivator It is for everyone “Sometimes we are a family of [@]ssholes You can blame that on Grandpa, he started it.” Yep, folks That’s the Morgan siblings Aapt description than the above, I could not write But oh, what fun it is to follow this family of @ssholes on their road trip from hell in Samantha Downing’s latest novel, He Started It (Cue the beginning notes of Holiday Road by Lindsey Buckingham Let’s add some catchy background music.)Beth, Eddie, and Portia Morgan have been estranged for years That is, until their extremely wealthy grandfather passes away and leaves instructions outlining the specific conditions that need to be met to receive their individual inheritances What must they do? Go on a road trip The exact same road trip they took with their grandfather 20 years ago (Which did not include a stop at Walley World, by the way Grandpa is no Clark Griswold.)Unfortunately, not much has changed in the twenty years that have passed since the initial excursion – secrets still abound, hurtful betrayals reoccur, and trust cannot be given Little do the Morgan siblings know what all this trip has in store for them, as they once again travel cross country on a journey that is evenwild than the first.Honestly, I’m not even certain where to begin Because He Started It is seriously one of the craziest thrillers I have ever read And the Morgan family is seriously one of the most disturbingly dysfunctional families I have ever encountered in a novel I am literally sitting here, shaking my head in dismay as I reflect on the story and write this review Truly, I am struggling to find words.Middle child, Beth, is our narrator Through her voice and memories, we are privy to an insider’s view of both the past and present road trips She is smart, snarky, and entertaining But also, a little bit “off.” It is clear from the getgo that something is not quite right with Beth, and it is difficult to ever fully like her.And the same holds true for Eddie and Portia All three Morgans have committed despicable acts and do not have many, if any, redeeming qualities As a reader, it is difficult to have empathy for the siblings and be tolerant of their behavior.But for a novel centered around such wholly unlikable characters, He Started It sure makes for a crazy, entertaining read The story is compelling and addictive It’s compulsively readable The pace is brisk, and the pages turn quickly as the chapters are short There are surprising twists aplenty – and the final scene is so horrifically shocking that it will render most readers dumbstruck It’s one that could’ve come straight out of a Quentin Tarantino film (Yes It’s that good.)Downing’s writing style, however, is not that good It’s simple and plain; it’s a bit too lean and sparse She neglects to dig deeply into any of her characters, and most everything is told rather than shown It’s efficient enough, I suppose, but I do wish she would’ve fleshed the story out further, put a bit of meat on its bones More importantly, though, Downing knows how to tell a story And He Started It is one hella good, train wreck of a story that is almost impossible to stop reading, once you start.So, sit back Relax And enjoy the wild ride.I received an Advanced Readers Copy from Edelweiss and Berkley in exchange for an honest review All opinions included herein are my own Quotes are subject to change. I couldn't wait for this road trip to end! 3 siblings are forced to reenact a childhood road trip in order to claim their inheritance The drive to their final destination leads them into danger, as all are plotting behind one another’s back Secrets are unearthed, betrayals revealed, and relationships implode.I don’t have much to say: The plot is convoluted and the narrative drags and drags and drags Beth the narrator is a toneless bore who keeps telling and telling and telling FOR THE ENTIRE BOOK I would have enjoyed thishad I been able to see what was going on vs being constantly told by boring Beth what was happening I loved My Lovely Wife, and it pains me to write this review, but, wow, what a disappointment! I received an ARC of this book from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. My reviews can also be seen at: Stars!!He started it, but someone else is going to finish it A unique and gripping story! I REALLY enjoyed Samantha Downing’s previous novel, “My Lovely Wife” so I was thrilled to get my hands on this novel.Twenty years ago Beth, Portia, and Eddie’s grandfather took them on a road trip He said it was going to be a great adventure It had been a boring hot summer so far so the kids were excited.Their grandfather had always been easy going with a good sense of humor, but soon the children started to see a very different side of him It was a long trip through many states Some of the places their grandfather took them were “normal” touristy places while others were definitely NOT.It supposed to be a wonderful adventure It turned into something that they would never forget.The Morgan siblings haven’t seen each other very much over the years Now their Grandfather is dead He didn’t want a funeral or memorial service He just wanted a brief obituary (which he wrote) and he wanted to be cremated His will indicated that he also wanted his grandchildren to go on the SAME road trip they took all those years ago They were to scatter his ashes at the end of the trip After that his estate would be equally divided between them But he stipulated that if anyone ends up in jail, doesn’t complete the trip, or deviates from the original trip, they will get nothing.If they want the money, they must take the road trip.The second road trip has two new passengers Eddie’s wife, Krista and Beth’s husband, Felix Beth and Eddie’s spouses don’t know what happened during that first road trip, and there’s a lot they don’t know about their spouses.They set off and all goes well enough at first However, it isn't long before everything changes The story is told from Beth's point of view Interspersed between chapters are journal entries from the first road trip written by an unknown character We learnabout the circumstances around the first road trip, the sibling's relationships with each other, and their spouses.There's a fine line between love and hate.This story snuck up on me, and before I knew it, I was hooked! The foreshadowing had me saying “just onechapter”, again and again.I usually have a hard time with unlikable characters and this story hasthan a few However, it didn’t bother me this time The flawed characters were perfect for this story I had mixed feelings about the ending, but I honestly never saw it coming!A thrilling read about dark family secrets and a crazy road trip*ahem* TWO crazy road trips.Entertaining with no shortage of drama!! I'd like to thank Berkley for providing me with a copy of this novel All opinions are my own. Samantha Downing has joined us for Spoiler Free Q A and gave us some great insight to He Started ItYou can find the thread herehttps://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/It's here!!! Get it today!!! I think this is one not to missed and I hope it's one you will join me in my saying Hot Diggity Dang that was good! Giddy up my friends, fasten your seat belts and join this delicious wacky and entertaining road trip from hell with this family!! If a family road doesn't already sound like fun or maybe a nightmare, involve money and a bunch of twisted, unlikable, greedy and unreliable characters with secrets, and it takes it to a whole new level of madness When Beth, Porta Eddie's wealthy grandfather dies, he sends them on a cross country road trip to their inheritance with a few conditions for them to fulfill Samantha Downing adds some high tension by creating a setting that added dynamics to the characters and story She cleverly adds some fun and entertainment to the story that we all can relate to by adding one of the conditions the sibling must stop at every tourist trap I cringed with every stop but couldn't help but chuckle to myself with every scene Perfectly paced throughout the story, Beth reveals secrets from a past road trip, addingdepth to the present road trip I loved Beth and her snarky voice, and I wanted to high five her with that snarkiness and Samantha Even though the family drama is high here, it's kept fresh and exciting and creates some great suspense throughout the story The characters are interesting unlikable, and I found myself rooting for different characters at different times and going back and forth with my thoughts on them The title is clever, interesting and I was intrigued by it right from the start and had to think about it and then realized just how cleverly fitting it is to the story And of course, that cover, how great is that cover I love it!! While I found this one to be a slow buildup to that exciting showdown between these siblings, it was a thrilling and entertaining pageturner for me The short chapters keep the pace fast and engaging to keep me reading just onechapter I enjoyed the twists and turns along this road trip right up to the final ones that left me saying Hot Diggity Dang I highly recommend!! I received a copy from the publisher! There is a quote in the book about families being the least forgiving of them all Would you agree? I bet Eddie, Beth, and Portia would! The siblings are on a road trip where they are recreating a road trip they previously took with their grandfather when they were children Their grandfather has died and has left instructions in his will that they must finish this road trip in order to collect their inheritance Sounds easy, right?Except for this time, Eddie and Beth have their spouses with them and the three siblings are hiding a secret (s) The one secret is a BIG one Something that neither Eddie nor Beth have shared with their spouses there is a member of their family who has been missing for years Plus, a black truck is following themAll the siblings have their quirks, none are entirely who they initially present themselves to be As the book progresses, we learnabout them, their secrets, their rivalries, their personalities and just how dysfunctional they all are Beth is our narrator and she is quite the character She admits in the beginning that she is a cheater and one might wonder, is she a reliable narrator? She gives us family history, insight (well, coming from her POV), and adds to the drama.I'll admit, the beginning was a little slow for me but soon picked up and I did feel as if I was on this road trip right along with them They made me appreciate my normal, easygoing sister a lot ! This book had some twists, turns and reveals Samantha Downing did surprise me on several occasions while reading this book Will she surprise you? This book went from slow to interesting Put me in the camp that enjoyed the ending I found it to be clever Just what will Downing come up with next? I look forward to readingbooks from her in the future!Thank you to Berkley/Penguin Publishing Group and Edelweiss who provided me with a copy of this ARC in exchange for an honest review All the thoughts and opinions are my own. 4 StarsFamily: You can’t Pick ‘em, but Sometimes, you sure which you could!Ah, the nostalgia of family road trips! Unfortunately for Eddie, Beth and Portia, they don’t exactly have fond memories of the road trip they took with their dear old Grandpa when they were young Nightmares arelike it! So why, pray tell would they be willing to relive the experience all over again? An inheritance of course! Dear sweet Grandpa bequeathed them each with lots of dough on one condition, they must take that exact road trip onetime Sounds easy enough right? Eddie, Beth and Portia, should have figured that it would be dangerous, treacherous even After all, each prides themselves on keeping secrets Whoppers, if you will. and let’s face it, if you aren’t going to keep secrets from your family, who are you to keep secrets from? “He Started It” by Samantha Downing has an oddly addictive quality to it! I kept turning page after page even when I knew I needed to put the book down! It’s compelling and engrossing and all of those dastardly little secrets got me and got me good! After having read Ms Downing’s debut novel, “My Lovely Wife” (which was one of my favorite reads of 2018) and now this, I can say that Samantha Downing is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors and I will read anything and everything she writes For those of you who haven’t haven’t read anything by her, it’s about time you changed that!As far as family road trips go, thanks for the lesson, I plan on steering clear! This was another fabulous buddy read with Kaceey.Thank you so much to Elisha at Penguin Publishing Group for the arc and to Samantha Downing as well Published on Goodreads on 12.8.19To be published onupon its release.Excerpt to be published on Instagram upon its release. I love a good thriller and this one is so clever! I think it's phenominal! The plot twists that are so shocking are all hinted at throughout the book but are hidden soooo well It wasn't until I finished and could inspect it in hindsight that I saw the excellent job the author did of tying everything together I liked Beth's dry, sarcastic narrative and how she interacted with her siblings that she despised, yet is so similar to And her relationship with her husband was just pure entertainment! The ending? Wow I found it to be smart, maddening, unsatisfying and satisfying all at the same time Loved it! This author is two for two with me and I am very curious to what she'll come up with next. There is no sopho slump here None! At all!!I read 300 books last year and My Lovely Wife was my favorite I loved this EVERY SINGLE BIT as much!I loved being in Beth's head as she was forced to take this road trip from hell with her dysfunctional siblings, nerdy husband and new sisterinlaw She is wily, wry, hilarious, snarky, sad and a teensy bit crazy.The ending blew me away Brava!! I just cannotReading this book made me feel like I got to hang out in Samantha Downing's head for a few days and it was a super fun place to be (We both appreciate double battered onion rings and therefore should be besties, but I digress.)Grab this the second you can Do not pass Go, do not collect $200.Thank you Goodreads for selecting me as a winner for this giveaway! Road trip!! WHEEEEEEE!Remember those unbearable road trips you took when you were a kid? Stuffed into the backseat with your annoying siblings! So busy fighting you missed all the bizarre roadside attractions? Well, what if many years later you had to retrace those steps? That’s right boys and girls! It’s another road trip! Only now you’re all grown up! And guess what…if you make it to the end? There just might be a surprise waiting for you! Bonus!Buckle up!When grandpa died, the instructions in his will requested his grandchildren to retrace the trip he took them on as children If they can pull it off while adhering to a few specific rules along the way, they will all inherit from his estate Good luck kids! ‘Cause you’re all going to need it!Ladies and Gentlemen, start your engines!Samantha Downing writes a clever thriller that will keep you flipping the pages as the sibling rivalries are reignited, ramping up to full throttle! Secrets! Lies! Maybe even murder? How terribly juicy! Quick question: How is your relationship with your family members? Think you could all survive the Highway to Hell road trip?Happy trails!I'm glad I read this one alongside Susanne as it created quite a conversation at the end! I think it will for you too! I'll be curious to see what you all think!Thank you to Elisha at Berkley Publishing and Samantha Downing for an ARC to read and review.