How It Happened (Koryta)

How It Happened 
Michael Koryta, 2018
Little, Brown and Co.
368 pp.
ISBN-13:
9780316293938


Summary
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 American from a writer Stephen King has called "a master" and the New York Times has deemed "impossible to resist." (From the publisher.)



Author Bio
Birth—September 20, 1982
Raised—Bloomington, Indiana, USA
Education—B.A., University of Indiana
Currently—lives in Bloomington, Indiana, and Camden, Maine


Michael Koryta (Ko ree tah) is the New York Times bestselling author of more than a dozen suspense novels. He was raised in Bloomington, Indiana, where he graduated from Indiana University with a B.A. in criminal justice.

Koryta began writing at a very young age. As an eight-year-old boy, he began writing to his favorite writers and by 16 had decided he wanted to become a crime novelist. Four years later when he was only 20 (and still a student at IU), his first novel, Tonight I Said Goodbye, was accepted for publication and later nominated for an Edgar Award. In fact, he wrote his first two published novels—and was published in nearly 10 languages—all before he fulfilled the "writing requirement" classes required for his diploma.

Before turning to writing full-time, Koryta worked as a private investigator, a newspaper reporter, and taught at the Indiana University School of Journalism.

Koryta's novels in include How It Happened, Rise the Dark, Last Words, Those Who Wish Me Dead, The Prophet, The Ridge, and So Cold The River. His books have won or been nominated for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, Edgar Award, Shamus Award, Barry Award, Quill Award, International Thriller Writers Award, and the Golden Dagger.

Koryta and his wife, Christine, divide their time between Bloomington, Indiana, and Camden, Maine, with a cranky cat named Marlowe, an emotionally disturbed cat named John Pryor (after the gravestone on which he was found as an abandoned kitten), and a dog of unknown heritage named Lola. (Adapted from the publisher and Wikipedia. Retrieved 5/17/2018.)



Book Reviews
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.
Washington Post


(Starred review) With this searing look at an investigator’s obsessive efforts to close a case that has reawakened 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.
Publishers Weekly


(Starred review) As with many of Koryta's recent novels, his main characters are men with hidden rage they've been struggling with since their childhoods.… [D]devotees of murder mysteries will enjoy this enthralling tale. —Jason L. Steagall, Gateway Technical Coll. Lib., Elkhorn, WI
Library Journal


(Starred review) Is Koryta capable of telling a less-than-gripping tale? This book may not be as ambitious as his best efforts (including Rise the Dark, 2016), but it is flawless, unpredictable storytelling streaked with his usual dark undercurrents.Crime fiction doesn't get any more enjoyable.
Kirkus Reviews



Discussion Questions
We'll add publisher questions if and when they're available; in the meantime, please use our GENERIC MYSTERY QUESTIONS to start a discussion for HOW IT HAPPENED … then take off on your own:



GENERIC DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
Mystery / Crime / Suspense Thrillers

1. Talk about the characters, both good and bad. Describe their personalities and motivations. Are they fully developed and emotionally complex? Or are they flat, one-dimensional heroes and villains?

2. What do you know...and when do you know it? At what point in the book do you begin to piece together what happened?

3. Good crime writers embed hidden clues in plain sight, slipping them in casually, almost in passing. Did you pick them out, or were you...clueless? Once you've finished the book, go back to locate the clues hidden in plain sight. How skillful was the author in burying them?

4. Good crime writers also tease us with red-herrings—false clues—to purposely lead readers astray? Does your author try to throw you off track? If so, were you tripped up?

5. Talk about the twists & turns—those surprising plot developments that throw everything you think you've figured out into disarray.

  1. Do they enhance the story, add complexity, and build suspense?
  2. Are they plausible or implausible?
  3. Do they feel forced and gratuitous—inserted merely to extend the story?

6. Does the author ratchet up the suspense? Did you find yourself anxious—quickly turning pages to learn what happened? A what point does the suspense start to build? Where does it climax...then perhaps start rising again?

7. A good ending is essential in any mystery or crime thriller: it should ease up on tension, answer questions, and tidy up loose ends. Does the ending accomplish those goals?

  1. Is the conclusion probable or believable?
  2. Is it organic, growing out of clues previously laid out by the author (see Question 3)?
  3. Or does the ending come out of the blue, feeling forced or tacked-on?
  4. Perhaps it's too predictable.
  5. Can you envision a different or better ending?

8. Are there certain passages in the book—ideas, descriptions, or dialogue—that you found interesting or revealing...or that somehow struck you? What lines, if any, made you stop and think?

9. Overall, does the book satisfy? Does it live up to the standards of a good crime story or suspense thriller? Why or why not?

(Generic Mystery Questions by LitLovers. Please feel free to use them, online or off, with attribution. Thanks.)

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