An FBI investigator must uncover the secrets of his hometown to solve a double murder in this twisty "page turner" that's "perfect summer reading" (Stephen King).
"And that is how it happened. Can we stop now?"
Kimberly Crepeaux is no good, a notorious jailhouse snitch, teen mother, and heroin addict whose petty crimes are well-known to the rural Maine community where she lives. So when she confesses to her role in the brutal murders of Jackie Pelletier and Ian Kelly, the daughter of a well-known local family and her sweetheart, the locals have little reason to believe her story.
Not Rob Barrett, the FBI investigator and interrogator specializing in telling a true confession from a falsehood. He's been circling Kimberly and her conspirators for months, waiting for the right avenue to the truth, and has finally found it. He knows, as strongly as he's known anything, that Kimberly's story-a grisly, harrowing story of a hit and run fueled by dope and cheap beer that becomes a brutal stabbing in cold blood-is how it happened. But one thing remains elusive: where are Jackie and Ian's bodies?
After Barrett stakes his name and reputation on the truth of Kimberly's confession, only to have the bodies turn up 200 miles from where she said they'd be, shot in the back and covered in a different suspect's DNA, the case is quickly closed and Barrett forcibly reassigned. But for Howard Pelletier, the tragedy of his daughter's murder cannot be so tidily swept away. And for Barrett, whose career may already be over, the chance to help a grieving father may be the only one he has left.
HOW IT HAPPENED is a frightening, tension-filled ride into the dark heart of rural America from a writer Stephen King has called "a master" and the New York Times has deemed "impossible to resist."
Michael Koryta (pronounced ko-ree-ta) is the New York Times bestselling author of nine novels, most recently THE PROPHET. His last three novels, THE RIDGE, THE CYPRESS HOUSE, and SO COLD THE RIVER were all New York Times notable books and nominated for several national and international awards. In addition to winning the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, his novel ENVY THE NIGHT was selected as a Reader's Digest condensed book. Koryta's work has been translated into more than twenty languages. A former private investigator and newspaper reporter, Koryta graduated from Indiana University with a degree in criminal justice. He currently lives in St. Petersburg, Florida, and Bloomington, Indiana.
What People are Saying About This
Author-The Cuban Affair - Nelson DeMille
“Michael Koryta is one hell of a writer, and HOW IT HAPPENED is one hell of a murder mystery. It’s a tribute to Koryta’s craftsmanship and skill that the reader knows who done it in the first chapter, but can’t put the book down until the last layer of the onion is peeled away to reveal the truth at the core of this gripping tale…. A remarkable achievement that rises high above the genre.”
How It Happened 4.6 out of 5based on
5 months ago
Enjoyed this one of his better books
7 months ago
Inspired by an actual event in the author’s hometown, this novel recounts the ups and downs in the life of Rob Barrett, an FBI specialist in interrogations, who is sent to a little town in Maine years after the disappearance of a man and two women. Barrett finally reaches a witness who confesses to having participated in the murder and disposal of the bodies of a man and a woman in a shallow lake. Unfortunately, when the lake is inspected, the bodies aren’t there. Barrett insists he believes the confession, but the prevailing view is that it is unreliable because the confessor is a known liar and drug addict. Moreover, absence of the bodies where they’re said to be is further proof.
Barrett is sent to a remote FBI office in the Midwest in disgrace, but the confession still haunts him. Eventually, he returns to Maine on his own nickel to find the truth, which, of course, is elusive. The story becomes more complex, as he investigates more deeply, and the scope widens.
Michael Koryta has written a gripping tale about a grisly murder and cover-ups and subterfuges to hide a variety of motivations as each layer of the story is unveiled. It is a novel describing perseverance and investigative skill. The novel has its origins in a murder investigation which the author covered for his hometown newspaper as a young reporter, and is recommended.
10 months ago
I could not put this book down! Excellent descrptions of the characters. Story was to the point and kept you wanting more. Lots of twists. Awesome read!
11 months ago
Cant wait for his next book
More than 1 year ago
"I will not tell you how it happened but it is all wrong."
Years ago, I discovered Michael Koryta through his supernatural driven thriller So Cold the River. I instantly devoured his other paranormal suspense novels including The Cypress House and The Ridge. I was especially impressed with the way Koryta allowed his character's development to drive his narratives, even when they were filled with suspense that could have easily dominated the story. When I got the chance to read and review his latest effort How It Happened, I enthusiastically accepted.
Rob Barrett is an expert and finding the truth. As an FBI investigator, he is well known for extracting confessions from hard-to-crack suspects. He's recently returned to the rural seaside community that he was raised in to help find the truth behind the brutal murders of two young residents. Barrett's past includes lingering questions about his mother's untimely death years ago, the harsh upbringing by his verbally and emotionally abusive grandfather, and an unwavering commitment to discovering the truth.
Kimberly Crepeaux is not known for her honesty. With a rap sheet of teenage pregnancy, heroin addiction, and numerous stints in prison, her reputation around town couldn't be worse. It comes as no surprise to anyone who knows her when she is arrested again, but what she has to say this time stops everyone in their tracks. Kimberly tells the story of her involvement in the gruesome murders of the two young townspeople. A night of drug fueled joy riding turned dark when their car stuck a girl. Terrified of the consequences of their actions, the group brutally killed the car-stuck girl and her boyfriend and dumped their bodies in a nearby pond.
Despite her troubled reputation, Barrett believes Kimberly when she describes that night. She speaks with a sincerity or regret and shock at her actions. There is a haunted glimmer of anguish behind her tired eyes. Barrett is quick to accept the confession as fact and hinge the investigation and his entire career upon it. This is the break the case needed. This is the source of closure to two grieving families. This is how it happened. But suddenly it isn't. The pond is searched and the bodies are not there. An anonymous tip quickly leads to the discovery of the bodies some 200 miles away. Desperate to save his professional reputation and ease the disappointment of his home town, Barrett rallies to find the truth of how it happened.
On first glance, How It Happened is vastly different from the previous novels by Koryta. Gone are the supernatural elements that permeated those earlier works. Instead the characters in this novel are haunted by events that are all too real. I was immediately intrigued by the gruesome confession that Kimberly provides. The novel opens with her words, providing a chilling prelude to the dark and suspenseful events that follow. By setting the novel in Barrett's home town, Koryta allows the character to gain layers of depth from interactions with people from his past and flashbacks to his childhood. The novel deftly layers the mystery with contemplations on grief, addiction, reputation, and small town relationships. How It Happened is destined to be a must-read this summer, and serves as a legacy cementing achievement in Koryta's already stellar career.
More than 1 year ago
How It Happened by Michael Koryta is a highly recommended murder mystery.
The novel opens in Port Hope, Maine, with Kimmie Crepeaux confessing to Rob Barrett, an FBI investigator and interrogation specialist, how Jackie Pelletier and Ian Kelly died and where to find their bodies. She also names the killer - local respected caretaker Mathias Burke. Kimmie claims Mathias forced her and her friend Cass Odom to assist him. Kimmie tells Barrett everything that happened in exact details. The problem is Cass is dead from an overdose and the bodies can't be found where Kimmie swears they should be found. All of this increasingly points to her unreliability as a witness. Kimmie is a heroin addict who already has a reputation for committing petty crimes.
As the search for the bodies continues, Barrett's reputation is on the line. He spent summers in Port Hope with his grandfather, and apparently had an antagonistic relationship with the suspect Mathias Burk. Barrett believes Kimmie, but when all the evidence points to her lying, his reputation and career suffer. However, Jackie Pelletier's father, Howard, still wants answers and pleads with Barrett to resume his investigation.
In How It Happened Koryta has written a compelling psychological study and gripping murder mystery. This is a engrossing plot populated by well-developed characters. The quality of the writing is great; Koryta delivers expressive prose, and an unpredictable, intricate plot full of dark secrets. The character development is amazing. These are all wounded, flawed individuals who are struggling with their own secret inner turmoil and their personal backgrounds. This would be an excellent page-turning choice for summer reading.
Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Little, Brown and Company via Netgalley.
More than 1 year ago
This book begins with Kimberly Crepeaux, a heroin addict and jailhouse snitch, telling a highly seeming probable story of the death of a young couple. At first, when I was reading this very first part, I wasn't sure what was going on. However, I soon figured out it was the junkie's testimony. And away, the book went.
This book was outstanding! I think it is Mr. Koryta's best book yet.
You just know that the murder is solved very early in the book, but your questioning it. How can the author tell you "what happened" so early it in the book? How could Barrett get it so wrong? Or did he?
Hence, the title "How it Happened". That was the cray, cray part. My mind came up with so many scenarios. Yes, they were mostly wrong, but who wants to guess it right? And when it all came out . . . turns out that I had one thing right, but was not even in the same country as to how all of it happened.
I spent my Mother's Day deeply absorbed in this thrill ride and loved every minute of it!
Huge thanks to Little, Brown and Company and Net Galley for providing me with a free e-galley in exchange for an honest, unbiased opinion.
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