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.
No-one is more dangerous than the ones who know you best…
There is nothing closer then family – and after being locked down with them for the last eight weeks, the thought that your nearest and dearest might drive you mad at times will be more than credible to most of us at the moment. This second novel by Samantha Downing, whose novel My Lovely Wife was a huge favourite of many lovers of domestic noir, is as twisty and skilful as any you’ve read this year. I guarantee that you’ll think twice before setting off on a road trip after lockdown any time soon after devouring this twisty, skilful and original take on family values…
This novel has a pretty original premise as these siblings and their partners set off on a pretty unusual road trip, inspired by their grandfather at the start of this story. None of them are the sort of peiple that even individually you’d want to spend a lot of time coped up with and this is definitely no National Lampoon’s voyage to Wallyworld. If you love domestic noir, you’ll absolutely love the way this starts to unravel as these ‘companions’ turn out to have their own agendas, allegiances and game plans as the miles roll by.
This road trip is a character almost of its own and was one of my favourite parts of the book as some of the places that they visit are so outlandish that you think they must be fictional – but I was so fascinated by the idea of them, I ended up spending far too much time online resresching the locations themselves. My personal favourite was the museum of barbed wire in Kansas which got me going down a whole new rabbit hole of fascinating roadside atractions in America and provided me with hours of entertainment during the lockdown. The road trip’s twists and turns ensures that the plot zips along at a cracking pace and some of their escapades make you glad that you’re not part of this dysfunctional family ‘outing’
I’m no fan of books being painted as ‘The next…’ and we’re all sick I’m sure, of seeing books compared with The Girl on the Train or Gone Girl. This definitely isn’t trying to be anything else, it’s perfectly happy being its own off the wall and readable self. I’d actually love to see it on screen and will be dragging people along with me to see this journey and its fallout in the flesh! Their interactions will certainly keep you entertained as you make your way through this novel – all too quickly, I might add and you will definitely be unprepared for that ending…
You know that I hate spoilers so I’ve tried hard to avoid mentioning exactly what starts to emerge once their wheels begin rolling – but suffice to say, there’s never a dull moment as their long held grudges and thinly veiled agendas begin to emerge
Thanks so much to Sriya Varadharajan for sending me this book to review for the blog tour – I absolutely love taking part in her tours and enjoyed reading what the other bloggers thought too. If you haven’t bought yourself a copy yet, you can treat yourself here
‘My Lovely Wife was one of my top books of 2019. He Started It is even better!’ C.J. Tudor, Sunday Times bestselling author of The Chalk Man
‘Whip-smart, lean, deliciously dark and addictive. One of the best thrillers I’ve read in a long time’ Ali Land
‘Wow! It’s dark, it’s twisted and it’s going to be your new favourite book! 5***** reader review
‘Chilling, thrilling, twisty, fast paced, riveting, tense, dark & scary… My favourite book this year’ 5***** reader review
Writer On The Shelf
Samantha Downing is the author of the Edgar Award-nominated novel My Lovely Wife. Amazon Studios and Nicole Kidman’s Blossom Films have partnered to produce a feature film based on the novel.
Her most recently published book is called He Started It – released in 2020. She currently lives in New Orleans, where she is furiously typing away on her next novel.