Cover Image: How It Happened

How It Happened

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Member Reviews

Kimberly Crepeaux is a teenage jailhouse snitch and she confessed to the murder of two people. No one believes her. A great story by Michael Koryta, who I love!
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Michael Koryta is one of my favorite authors.  This was a fantastic book and a very quick read.  I just love his writing style and would recommend to anyone who loves suspenseful/legal thrillers.  I appreciate the advanced copy.
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How It Happened by Michael Koryla is an intense story about an FBI agent and lawyer who has been asked to get confessions from a case where several people died and drugs are involved. Rob Barrett is the agent who has been asked to interview and investgate the crimes since his speciality is confessions. The story takes place in Port Hope Maine where Barrett used to live there. He is determined to bring the man he feels is the main villian and in the process almost loses his job  and his life several times. He is determined to find and convict the man who he feels is responsible for many deaths due to drugs. At the end of the book hs finally gets a confession from the guilty man.
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Enjoyed this book. Kept me interested all the way through. Would recommend to a fellow reader.  Love the cover.
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'When you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.'

Sherlock Holmes may have been right.....but what if that which remained was still impossible.....and still the truth?

A confession that leads nowhere:
No bodies.
No evidence.
And a suspect above reproach.

A thought provoking thriller that will keep you guessing as an FBI agent risks his career and his life on the word of a notorious liar based solely on his instincts.
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I have not read Koryta before, so this was my first novel of his works. I have to say, I think it was a great place to start. I will absolutely read his prior and upcoming works now when I’m in the mood for a twisty crime novel. Thank you to NetGalley and Little, Brown and Company for allowing me to read this novel in exchange for my honest review.

In How It Happened, we start with a recorded confession by Kimmy Crepeaux. She details a grizzly double murder that she's an accomplice to, but she's admittedly not the most respected of witnesses. With a history of substance abuse and false confessions, no one would think twice if Special Agent Rob Barrett chose to move on without taking Kimmy at her word. If anything, his colleagues are dubious of his choice to believe her when she tells him that the reputable Mathias Burke is responsible for the killings...and they'll be given their chance to say I told you so. 

In this crime novel that takes place in the placid state of Maine, Koryta takes the reader on an account of a crime that has been haunting the community of Port Hope and the families of the deceased. Special Agent Barrett has promised to provide answers, but when things don't go according to plan, he finds himself shut out of the community he once spent his summers at as a youth. What transpires is a battle against his past demons, and a fight for the truth, his reputation, and justice. 

There are those authors who can depict a setting for you in the most intricate of terms, and Michael Koryta is certainly among them. With every curve of the road, mud-slicked lake, and chilling sea breeze, I could envision Barrett's stomping grounds. 

Kimmy's confession is the hook of the novel, and the reader is immediately drawn in. I did feel that the first third of the book was a bit slow moving, but it quickened up as I continued to read, particularly in the final third of the book. Once I reached that climactic descent through Koryta's narrative, I couldn't put the book down as I read chapter after suspenseful chapter. 

There was certainly an extensive amount of either research or experience behind this book (or perhaps both!), but the amount of detail that he included surrounding the setting did slow down the pace a bit for me, however beautifully written. While it makes for cinematic prose, I didn't feel the need to know why roads were named a certain way or little tidbits as such. 

The characters are complex and multi-dimensional, the plot compelling, and the narrative organized, structured, and clever. I would certainly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys crime fiction!
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A rural community in Maine, Kimberly, a known drug addict, has a story to tell. One that solves the murders of two locals whose bodies were never found. The FBI sends in Barrett, who has ties in this community from the summers he spent here in his youth. He has an unsolved tragedy in his own background, one that haunts him to this day. Kimberly tells her story, who did the murders, and where the bodies can be found, to Agent Barrett. He believes her though many don't. The problem is the bodies are not where she said they were, and Barrett in disgrace is sent to the Montana field office

Crime fiction at its best. An unpredictable story with many strange twists and turns. Loved Barrett, who puts everything on the line to prove his belief in Kimberly is not wrong. A crime that hearkens back to an old nemesis of Barretts from those long ago summers. A crime that will tie into other deaths that are perpetuated in Maine and across the country. He is determined to prove his theory about the murders of these two young people, who had been in love, with their whole future ahead of him. He is the rare lawman who cares about the victim, not just the solving orbs case. 

A quick paced novel, some edge of your seat suspense, and a well told story. Definitely recommend to readers who enjoy well thought out crime fiction.
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Michael Koryta's novel, How It Happened, was the best thriller I've read in months. When FBI agent Rob Barrett  returns to the sleepy Maine town of Port Hope to investigate the disappearance of two locals, he gets a confession from Kimberly Crepeaux, a local woman with a bad reputation for drugging, lying, and every sin under the sun. Crepeaux tells Barrett exactly how she and two acquaintances got involved in a hit-and-run that led to double homicide. Her confession is too detailed to be false--yet the bodies are not where she promised they'd be. Barrett is pulled off the investigation, and the FBI relocates him to another state. But Barrett refuses to let go of Crepeaux's confession. He's convinced she was telling the truth, even though all the evidence points to the contrary. He returns to Port Hope on a mission to figure out what really happened that night--and the truth is much darker and twisted than he expected. 

Koryta is a talented writer who knows how to build a plot with well-drawn characters. The storytelling never flagged for me, and I found myself thinking about this book every time I set it down for a break. I couldn't wait to clear my schedule so I could get back to figuring out what really happened. I look forwarding to reading more books by this author.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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Normally, a book ends with a confession.  Here, that’s the beginning.  Kimmy is a “jailhouse snitch”, a druggie with a string of petty crimes a mile long.  She confesses to being party to the murder of two teenagers and tells the FBI agent where to find the bodies.  Only problem?   No bodies. And the other person that she accuses knows to keep his silence.  And then, the bodies show up hundreds of miles away and everything is wrong.  

This is a great story with firmly fleshed out characters.  Each one, even the secondary characters, were easily pictured in my mind.  We hear not only the present day story, but Barrett’s childhood with his bully of a grandfather which has played such an important role in who he is today and why he can’t let this go.  Koryta puts together an interesting cast of characters that believe Kimmy.  Not your traditional police procedural.  

And the plot quickly gets even more intense.   Barrett is re-assigned but can’t stay away.  And then bodies start piling up.  There’s obviously more going on than Barrett knows.  It’s not just a question of how it happened, but why.  

I found this an enjoyable, engaging read.  At times, it strayed slightly into the unbelievability range, but never enough to dampen my enjoyment.  I definitely wanted to learn the how and why.  

My thanks to netgalley and Little, Brown for an advance copy of this book.
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I was very engaged with the storyline for most of the book.  The desire to know "how it happened" was strong.  The climax went a bit beyond by the end, and the finale lost its appeal.  If there had been a shocking twist at the very end, I probably would have thought the book was well worth the read.  However, it didn't, and I was disappointed.   It did keep my interest and entertained me, so I'm happy for that.  (3.5/5)
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How it Happened starts with a breathtaking first person confession. Kimmy confesses her part in a double murder to FBI agent Barrett and her voice is so achingly, brutally honest, Barrett believes her, and so does the reader. That first chapter draws you in and keeps you reading when the rest of the book is third person in agent Barrett's voice.
Barrett is the only one who believes Kimmy. Everyone else considers her a jailhouse liar and evidence seems to prove she is only a druggie spinning tales to get attention.
This is a well-written fast paced thriller. I will look for more titles by Michael Koryta
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It begins with a drug addicted young woman confessing to an agent about murder. She also tells where the bodies are. Guess what? The bodies are not there! Now, it's a serious mystery. Who is telling the truth? Who is the killer? Such a twisted story that keeps you guessing until the end. I liked the story for the intrigue and mystery. The characters were flawed but likeable. It's a good read. Thanks to NetGalley for an arc in exchange for an honest review.
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Another mystery that was really intriguing and surprising! It opens with a jailhouse confession from Kimmy, a self-proclaimed drug user and lowlife who is explaining to FBI agent, Rob "how it happened" that she, friend, Cass, and driver, Mathias killed two teens that night in a hit-and-run. Desperate to hide the evidence, she reveals in full detail how they hid the bodies in the pond and how she and Cass were forced to stab the young man so they would be fully complicit. But low and behold, the bodies are not there. So who is telling the truth? Mathias appears to be a well-respected businessman who has many ties to this rural community and of course, Kimmy has been known to lie before. Many clues, secrets, lies, so many people involved! While flawed, the characters are all human and likable in their own ways. A really great mystery!
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This was so not my usual genre, but I decided to branch out and give something else a try. All in all, it was a nice change of pace, but not something that made me feel I needed to immediately race out and get the rest of the books by this author.
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Michael Koryta's most recent release is a page turner.

It has a tragic hero in the guise of an FBI agent, a heroin addict turned murder witness and many more somewhat redeeming characters residing in Maine.

While there were some proverbial holes in the narrative, this book was a page turning way to spend a few evenings.

Thank you to Net Galley for allowing me to read this book.
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Rob Barrett is a rising star in the FBI, assigned to assist a small-town Maine Police Department solve the disappearance of a young couple, one the son of a prominent politician. Rob gets a hail-house confession from the a young, less than reliable drug addict, but despite Rob’s certainty that she’s telling the truth, her information doesn’t pan out, leaving Rob’s credibility with the local police and his superiors damaged. 

But this case is more to Rob than a bad confession. The small town is Rob’s hometown and his childhood problems resurface almost as soon as he arrives. Despite his best efforts at reinventing himself, his past does its best to reclaim him, endangering relationships and possibly his career! 

Michael Koryta fans and new readers will not be disappointed by HOW IT HAPPENED. A great story that blends a good mystery with the personal battles we all face: overcoming our greatest weaknesses to become our best selves, but also knowing that our past will always be part of us. Koryta, as always, develops characters well, leaving readers to see a bit of themselves in each of them.
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I received an ARC of this one about a century ago and promptly put it on the backburner due to my friends’ “meh”-ish ratings and reactions. But then something popped up on my radar that changed my mind . . . . Stephen King posted on Instagram about it.  Uncle Stevie don’t spout off too often and I most certainly drink his blend of Kool-Aid. 

The story here starts with a young woman in an interrogation room confessing her part in a pair of murders. She provides every detail regarding the where, when, why and how. The only problem? When searched, it’s discovered the bodies aren’t in the place she swore they would be. Now it’s up to FBI Agent Rob Barrett to figure out truly how it happened.

So I think I know what happened to at least some of the people who didn’t loooooove this one: THEY READ IT WRONG. Ha! I keed, I keeeeed. But seriously, if a reader picks this up expecting an unreliable narrator tale there’s a very good chance they could be disappointed because this story? It’s 100% police procedural. 

I dug it.

ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you, NetGalley!
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How It Happened is a solid if unsurprising thriller/suspense/mystery.

The hero, Rob Bennett is the typical tenacious FBI agent, although it was a nice change of pace to have him be relatively unseasoned (though he still solves the case, of course) and I did appreciate that he was actually not rewarded for his initial efforts to investigate after the murder case he's working on has been "solved."

The bad guy, Mathias, was pretty typical. "Super smart," but Rob has his number from the start since he remembers Mathias as being not so nice as a kid from his time spent with his grandfather during the summer. 

It's a predictable read, but smoothly written. I ended up being most interested by the small backstory devoted to the death of Rob's mother and how his father and grandfather played an (unproven) role in it. Honestly, I wish Rob's grandfather had still been alive because he sure would have added a layer or twelve to the story.

How It Happened is what I think of as an airport book--something you grab before a flight and leave in the hotel for someone else to read when you're done. 

I did receive an ARC of this, but I also own the hardcover (it got great trade reviews) and wish I'd waited for the paperback. Still, I can give my copy to the library where I work because we have a long waitlist for this.
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I think this is one of Koryta’s best books to date.  The book was inspired by a case in Indiana that I am familiar with and was curious to note the similarities of which there were a few.  Rob Barrett is a FBI agent who specializes in confessions and when he is the only person to believe the testimony of a known drug addict, he puts his job on the line.  Dealing with small town life, the heroin epidemic and the complications in dealing with confessions, this is a great mystery and character study.  I received a digital ARC of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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Fans of Michael Koryta will not be disappointed by this engrossing thriller.  Just when the reader thinks that she has figured out what happened , the plot takes another twist.  Another page turner to satisfy fans this prolific writer!
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