How It Happened opens with a confession detailing the murders of Jackie Pelletier and Ian Kelley. Unfortunately, the confession came from Kimberley Crepeaux, a young woman not particularly known for honesty. More importantly, her confession implicates a respected and much-admired member of the community, Mathias Burke.

FBI investigator Rob Barrett as an expert in confessions, he is certain she is telling the truth. He also recalls a childhood incident that revealed a wickedness in Mathias Burke that is hidden to most people under his hard-working ambitious caretaker/landscaper facade. When they search for the bodies where Kimberley told them to look and they are not found, it looks as though she is the liar, but Barrett resists the obvious, setting him at odds with the rest of law enforcement and the community.

The story is fast-paced and well written, but it suffers from the villain explaining everything at the end like some Bond villain giving Bond time to escape his certain death, except of course, it’s after the villain has been caught. The sneering, look-how-clever-I-am confession was just too much and ruined the story for me. I am a show, don’t tell reader so this is kind of resolution is designed not to appeal to me. Frankly, I thought the whole solution was overwrought, reaching deep into conspiracy and far more complicated than it needed to be for some small-town murder.