Miracle Creek by Angie Kim
Farrar, Straus and Giroux: 4/16/19
eBook review copy; 368 pages
Miracle Creek by Angie Kim is a very highly recommended twisty legal thriller and a notable debut novel.
Young and Pak Yoo and their teenage daughter Mary are an immigrant
family from Korea who run a private experimental medical treatment
facility in rural Miracle Creek, Virginia. Their "Miracle Submarine" is a
pressurized oxygen chamber for hyperbaric oxygen therapy or HBOT, which
involves breathing pure, pressurized oxygen. Patients enter the chamber
for "dives" that are believed to treat a wide range of issues and
medical conditions. Their chamber is located in a barn behind their
home. A fire, clearly arson, occurs, which causes the submarine to catch
fire and explode, killing two people and injuring four others.
What or who caused the explosion is the focus of this legal thriller.
A single mother of one of the patients who died is being charged with
murder in the opening scenes. Her actions seem clearly suspect, but this
is a complicated story with many suspects. As the trial starts the list
of suspects, the secrets and the lies being told seem to multiply. As
Kim develops the backstory of all her characters, new information and
complications emerge, and the list of suspects grows ever longer as the
plot becomes increasingly complicated.
Miracle Creek is an irresistible page turner, merging a
dramatic murder trial with in-depth character studies and compelling
courtroom scenes. All of the characters have secrets and information
they are hiding from that night, but the complications are even more
intricate than just a simple omission of a single fact. The suspects
will change as you are reading and more facts and secrets come forth.
You will feel some empathy or sympathy for all of the characters at
least once. All of the lies and omissions will make sense if you have
ever encountered a person who always makes themselves look good during
all events and can never admit flaws. Even the way the lawyers can twist
facts to benefit their clients is telling.
The writing is absolutely excellent and the plot is the perfect
synthesis of character development, a complicated mystery, and a legal
thriller. I was entrenched in the complicated, detailed plot and really
had no clear idea who was guilty or if it would be a perfect storm of
lies and mistakes that led to the explosion. The final denouement is
very satisfying and ties up all loose ends. This is a brilliant debut
My review copy was courtesy of Farrar, Straus and Giroux.