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How It Happened (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

How It Happened is a masterful whodunit thriller featuring FBI interrogation specialist Rob Barrett. Barrett was sent to rural Maine to work on a murder case that the state police had been unable to crack. A heroin-addicted 22-year old, Kimberly Crepeaux, had implicated herself to acquaintances, but she refused to talk to the police. Barrett extracts a shocking confession, detailing a young couple’s murder and her role in hiding the bodies afterward. Although many people are skeptical of Kimberly’s story, Barrett is convinced that she is telling the truth. Unfortunately, compelling new evidence disproves Kimberly’s account. A disgraced Barrett is reassigned to a non-homicide post, but he resumes his investigation on the sly. As he tries to find evidence against the “upstanding citizen” Kimberly implicates in the murders, he is drawn deeper into the opioid crisis ravaging the area, endangering both of their lives. Koryta’s vivid characters, perfect evocation of rural Maine, and timely and compelling plot make this story exceptional and unforgettable. Readers who enjoy page-turning thrillers, coastal Maine, and the talented Mr. Koryta will savor this book. - Kim


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."

About the Author

Michael Koryta is the New York Times bestselling author of fourteen novels, most recently If She Wakes. His previous novels--including Last Words, Those Who Wish Me Dead, and So Cold the River--were New York Times notable books, national bestsellers, and have been nominated for numerous awards, including having won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Koryta is a former private investigator and newspaper reporter. He lives in Bloomington, Indiana, and Camden, Maine.

Praise For…

"Cool and cunning... the story feels like the real deal... Gives me goose bumps, a credit to Koryta's descriptive powers."—Marilyn Stasio, New York Times Book Review

"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 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."—Nelson DeMille, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Cuban Affair

"This gripping and absorbing story about a protagonist coming to terms with his conflicted past, a lost love, and a crime that seems determined not to be solved could only be penned by Michael Koryta, whose sense of place and insight into the human experience are unsurpassed."—Sandra Brown, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Seeing Red

"Ingenious.. Koryta' s plotting is sure-footed, and the secrets he discloses, one by one, at the novel's end are both surprising and plausible... How It Happened [is] a book the reader won't soon forget."—The Washington Post

"Michael Koryta's latest may be [the summer's] best page-turner. This isn't a whodunit: We know from the start that the upwardly upstanding, inwardly creepy Mathias Burke murdered a young couple in the town of Port Hope, Maine. The book casts its spell in revealing the whys and wherefores of the killings, as investigated by Burke's onetime high school classmate, Rob Barrett, a Boston FBI agent whom Burke likes nothing better than to humiliate... Koryta, who has introduced supernatural elements into several novels, plays it pretty straight here. But that doesn't mean he fails to deliver his usual blend of dark psychology and pulse-pounding action."—Lloyd Sachs, Chicago Tribune

"Koryta drew on his experience as a private eye to craft this harrowing suspense novel set in Maine."—O Magazine

"With this searing look at an investigator's obsessive efforts to close a case that has awakened childhood demons, bestseller Koryta has produced his most powerful novel in years... Koryta, when he's at the top of his game, has few peers in combining murder mysteries with psychological puzzles."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Is Koryta capable of telling a less-than-gripping tale? ... flawless, unpredictable storytelling streaked with his usual dark undercurrents. Crime fiction doesn't get any more enjoyable."—Kirkus (starred review)

"Fans of Koryta's previous works, readers who enjoy rogue investigators as protagonists, and devotees of murder mysteries will enjoy this enthralling tale."—Library Journal (starred review)

"A compelling psychological thriller...ingenious...[and] heartfelt."—The Tampa Bay Times

"Koryta excels at action set in remote places, and fans of
William Kent Krueger and C. J. Box will enjoy this one."—Booklist
Product Details
ISBN: 9780316293938
ISBN-10: 0316293938
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication Date: May 15th, 2018
Pages: 368
Language: English