Review: He Started It by Samantha Downing

No-one knows you better than your family.

They know the little things that make you smile. Your proudest achievements. Your darkest secrets.

Sure, you haven’t always been best friends.

But if it seemed as though someone was after you, that you might be in danger, then you’d be on each other’s side.


So gripping you won’t stop reading.

So twisty that you won’t know who to trust.

And so dark that you’ll realise something truly chilling:

No-one is more dangerous than the ones who know you best.

He Started It is about three siblings – Beth, Portia and Eddie – going on a two week road trip they took with their grandfather when they were children, in order to receive their inheritance after his passing.

The story develops through middle sibling Beth’s narration of the present day road trip and the road trip she and her siblings took as children, as well as diary entries.

My experience of He Started It was this: boredom, irritation, curiosity and ultimately dislike.

I don’t know if the topic of a road trip would just fail in general, or if it was the author’s way of writing it all… I’ve never read a road trip story, but with this one, I was extremely bored. I’m talking about the experience as a kid when you were dragged around somewhere by your parents or school, and you were horrendously bored and wanted to leave. That’s what the road trip felt like here for the characters, as well as the reader… I couldn’t wait for it to end.

All of the feelings like frustration with the pace and disappointment with the boredom came to ahead when there was too much condensed in the last 5%. All the information, all the twists, just blend together into one big string of happenings that altogether feels like nothing earth shattering. The reader gets no time to digest anything because the next info dump happens, then it happens again, and again, until they all made me feel entirely indifferent to what happened.

Also, what I found disappointing was some of the most interesting plot events were not explored further. And similarly, I was disappointed to realise the diary entries were completely unnecessary other than to support a plot twist at the end, that felt entirely worthless.

Where one might find the ending clever, I personally found it annoying. I have absolutely no qualms with telling you that this story ends on an irritating cliffhanger: one of those endings where the reader gets to decide what happens.

The only good thing about this book were the characters. They’re mostly boring for the first half of the book, but by the second half they began to grab my interest. The author certainly captures toxic personalities that made me feel uneasy.

I was really, really disappointed with He Started It. When I finished the book, I just sat and stared into space because I couldn’t get over how much I hated it. I was very upset because I loved My Lovely Wife and this was just such a let down. I very rarely give 1 star ratings, but it feels right to give one here. I definitely wouldn’t recommend He Started It, and genuinely would like to forget the whole experience, I’m sorry to say.


To see my review for My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing, click here!


He Started It by Samantha Downing
Published April 2020
Genre: mystery/thriller





Thank you to the publishers and Edelweiss+ for providing me with an e-ARC in exchange for this honest review.

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