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.
(From the blurb)
‘There’s nothing like an old-fashioned road trip to make or break a relationship’. It might be true for all sorts of families. It is undoubtfully true for Eddie, Beth and Portia Morgan. Especially since they’ve done it twice.
When Eddie, Beth and Portia’s rich grandfather died, he left them millions of dollars on one condition: they have to re-create the road trip they took as a family in 1999. The story is told from the point of view of Beth, but we know from page one whatever she says or sees has to be taken with a pinch of salt. If you love an unreliable narrator, this book is definitely one for you.
Eddie and Beth are joined by their respective spouses Krista and Felix, so the Morgan siblings can’t say much in the open. All of them have their own secrets, some of which are shared and go long way back in time.
Now they zig-zag through the states, visiting creepy sights off the beaten track, staying in seedy motels and re-living their childhood memories until it becomes apparent they are not on their own. A black truck seems to follow their car and a song, a blast from the past, appears from seemingly nowhere and plays games with their minds.
As Beth’s Mom used to say ‘nothing is what it seems at first’ and we know that. We get plenty of foreshadowing, and yet, twists and reveals come left, right and centre, which by the way, makes it extremely hard to keep this review spoiler-free.
Needless to say, the characters are well-written and well-developed. We know what they look like, what they like to eat and what their bad habits are. The weird thing is that we know only what they let us know and there is an awful lot of things they choose to keep to themselves.
Morgans’ favourite childhood game was Risk and they did learn a lot about setting goals, making alliances and annihilating their enemies from that strategy game. They learnt how to risk everything and how sometimes nobody wins.
The book is wonderfully addictive. Once you go on this road trip, you want to see it through. I am often tempted to have a glimpse of the last chapter or just the last page. With this one, I wanted to experience the events as they unfolded and didn’t want to miss a single thing. The ending? oh, it didn’t disappoint, but I won’t give anything away, you just have to be there and make up your own mind.
One of the most compelling and atmospheric books I’ve read this year, He Started it is definitely to be recommended to anybody who loves psychological thrillers with dark family secrets and doesn’t mind a bit of madness on the way.
Thank you to Edelweiss and Berkley for the review copy provided in exchange for an honest opinion.