HOW IT HAPPENED by Michael Koryta
Kirkus Star


Email this review


Boston FBI agent Rob Barrett gets himself sent to Port Hope, Maine, the town where his grandfather lived and where he spent his childhood summers, to help crack the case of a young couple's murder, which appears to have been committed by a childhood antagonist of Barrett's.

To the surprise of local cops who haven't been able to get 22-year-old drug addict Kimberly Crepeaux to utter a word about the murders of Jackie Pelletier and Ian Kelly since she turned herself in and admitted she was part of it, interrogation specialist Barrett quickly gets her to open up about everything. She swears the killer was Mathias Burke—despite his reputation as "the paragon of the peninsula"—a local man who had built up a large landscaping and caretaking business. Kimmy says Mathias forced her and her friend Cass Odom to help him dump the bodies in a pond, but when divers can't find any corpses, evidence points to another suspect, and a humiliated Barrett is forced to admit Kimmy must be lying. He's reassigned to Montana—to the taunting delight of Mathias. Months later, after having received repeated phone messages from Kimmy, who's just out of jail, and from Jackie Pelletier's pleading father, Barrett returns to Maine to resume his investigation on the sly. There, he has his eyes opened to the lethal toll of a heroin blend that was responsible for Cass' death three days after Jackie and Ian's murders. The only questions are how Mathias is connected to all those deaths and what price Barrett will pay in his pursuit of the truth. 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.

Pub Date: May 15th, 2018
ISBN: 978-0-316-29393-8
Page count: 368pp
Publisher: Little, Brown
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 2018


MysteryTHE KILLING HABIT by Mark Billingham
by Mark Billingham
MysteryTHE HYPNOTIST by Lars Kepler
by Lars Kepler
MysteryTHE DAY OF THE DEAD  by Nicci French
by Nicci French
FictionTHE OTHER WOMAN by Daniel Silva
by Daniel Silva
Kirkus Interview
Michael Koryta
May 26, 2014

Young writer Michael Koryta is already a master of suspense. He tells Kirkus TV how he keeps readers guessing in his new thriller, Those Who Wish Me Dead. View video >


FictionRISE THE DARK by Michael Koryta
by Michael Koryta
FictionLAST WORDS by Michael Koryta
by Michael Koryta
FictionTHOSE WHO WISH ME DEAD by Michael Koryta
by Michael Koryta


MysteryKINGDOM OF THE BLIND by Louise Penny
by Louise Penny
FictionUNDER MY SKIN by Lisa Unger
by Lisa Unger