How it Happened: I really don’t know how I got through this book

What is this about?: Less thriller, more mystery, this is the very long and drawn out investigation into the murder of two young people from a small town. Rob, the FBI agent, assigned to the case is convinced the confession he got from Kimberly is the truth, except it really isn’t…

What else is this about?: Small towns, and families — two things that always have the best secrets in books like this.


“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.”

I don’t think I ever hated a name more than Kimberly Crepeaux for the excessive number of times it was repeated in full throughout How it Happened. I still can’t figure out why the author chose this, but it was extremely disjointing because no one else got the same treatment.

When I think of a thriller, I think of something that will keep me on the edge of my seat the entire time I’m reading afraid for what the books holds when I turn the page. This book is nothing like that. In fact, it’s less suspense and I suppose it’s a mystery at heart.

As you can see, this was not the best read for me.

Taking place over I think close to a year (maybe) this book follows Rob Barrett as he investigates the death of the golden couple of this small rural town. The book opens with Kimberly confessing what happened, and setting Rob on a path to a suspect that eventually results in the suspect going free, and Rob being transferred to … wherever is more rural than this rural small town.

I was surprised at the length of time that this book covered. I just can’t decide if that’s a good thing or not — I suppose I kept on reading, so that must mean there was something about it that kept me going, but looking back now, I can’t think what it was.

There’s nothing particularly new about Barrett as a character, and the wealth of time given to an exploration of his past was another surprise, as much as his connection to this small town. I don’t know if this is going to be a series or not, but that part made me wonder if it will be.

There are strong characters in this, and the author explores what lies beneath the pictures these characters present to others in this small town. Rob’s investigation takes some interesting turns, and the underlying menace to him was an unexpected part of this story.

It’s a solid read, and a solid mystery, but nothing really new to make it stand out for me.


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