Title: Miracle Creek
Author: Angie Kim
Publisher: Sarah Crichton Books
Publication Date: April 16, 2019
Page Count: 349
My rating: 4 1/2 stars
About the book:
The “gripping… page-turner” (Time) hitting all the best of summer reading lists, Miracle Creek is perfect for book clubs and fans of Liane Moriarty and Celeste Ng
How far will you go to protect your family? Will you keep their secrets? Ignore their lies?
In a small town in Virginia, a group of people know each other because they’re part of a special treatment center, a hyperbaric chamber that may cure a range of conditions from infertility to autism. But then the chamber explodes, two people die, and it’s clear the explosion wasn’t an accident.
A powerful showdown unfolds as the story moves across characters who are all maybe keeping secrets, hiding betrayals. Chapter by chapter, we shift alliances and gather evidence: Was it the careless mother of a patient? Was it the owners, hoping to cash in on a big insurance payment and send their daughter to college? Could it have been a protester, trying to prove the treatment isn’t safe?
“A stunning debut about parents, children and the unwavering hope of a better life, even when all hope seems lost” (Washington Post), Miracle Creek uncovers the worst prejudice and best intentions, tense rivalries and the challenges of parenting a child with special needs. It’s “a quick-paced murder mystery that plumbs the power and perils of community” (O Magazine) as it carefully pieces together the tense atmosphere of a courtroom drama and the complexities of life as an immigrant family. Drawing on the author’s own experiences as a Korean-American, former trial lawyer, and mother of a “miracle submarine” patient, this is a novel steeped in suspense and igniting discussion. Recommended by Erin Morgenstern, Jean Kwok, Jennifer Weiner, Scott Turow, Laura Lippman, and more– Miracle Creek is a brave, moving debut from an unforgettable new voice.
Miracle Creek by Angie Kim is primarily a legal thriller but blended well into it is not only a murder mystery and courtroom drama but the various aspects of the lives and relationships of it’s many players. The book begins with the event that will then fast-forward readers a year to the trial all the while looking back to what happened from the various points of view.
The setting of the incident in question in this story takes place in a small town in Virginia where Korean immigrants, Pak and Young Yoo, have set up a very unique business. The Yoo’s are running a hyperbaric chamber that is built to handle many patients inside at one time as it’s been found that the oxygen therapy that takes place in one of these chambers can help with anything from infertility to autism.
One morning the Yoo’s are running one of their group sessions when things do not go as planned. The group inside the chamber are all regulars and familiar with one another but as the session takes place protesters have staked out the area, the Yoo’s are distracted, one mother stays out of the chamber to sneak off for some alone time and while all is happening around them the chamber explodes. Evidence leads to a trial taking place a year from the accident where all the secrets and lies will be revealed.
Ok, I have to admit that starting out reading this book the first response it got out of me was really pure anger. The jump ahead has a mother of an autistic child on trial for the explosion because the child was a burden to her… WHAT?!?!? So after fighting the urge to throw it across the room I continued on to find an emotional roller coaster with plenty of spiraling twists and turns. In the end I thought to myself any book that can elicit a strong emotional reaction that fast and then keep the pages turning deserves high marks. 4 1/2 stars from me for this thought provoking read.
I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.
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About the author:
Angie Kim moved from Seoul, South Korea, to the suburbs of Baltimore as a preteen. She attended Stanford University and Harvard Law School, where she was an editor of the Harvard Law Review, then practiced as a trial lawyer at Williams & Connolly. Her stories have won the Glamour Essay Contest and the Wabash Prize for Fiction, and appeared in numerous publications including The New York Times, Salon, Slate, The Southern Review, Sycamore Review, Asian American Literary Review, and PANK. She lives in Northern Virginia with her husband and three sons. MIRACLE CREEK is her first book. Visit her website at http://www.angiekimbooks.com.