Title: Miracle Creek
Author: Angie Kim
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Adult, Literary Fiction
Publisher: Sarah Crichton Books
Pub. Date: April 16, 2019
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
A literary courtroom drama about a Korean immigrant family and a young, single mother accused of murdering her eight-year-old autistic son
My husband asked me to lie. Not a big lie. He probably didn’t even consider it a lie, and neither did I, at first . . .
In the small town of Miracle Creek, Virginia, Young and Pak Yoo run an experimental medical treatment device known as the Miracle Submarine—a pressurized oxygen chamber that patients enter for therapeutic “dives” with the hopes of curing issues like autism or infertility. But when the Miracle Submarine mysteriously explodes, killing two people, a dramatic murder trial upends the Yoos’ small community.
Who or what caused the explosion? Was it the mother of one of the patients, who claimed to be sick that day but was smoking down by the creek? Or was it Young and Pak themselves, hoping to cash in on a big insurance payment and send their daughter to college? The ensuing trial uncovers unimaginable secrets from that night—trysts in the woods, mysterious notes, child-abuse charges—as well as tense rivalries and alliances among a group of people driven to extraordinary degrees of desperation and sacrifice.
Angie Kim’s Miracle Creek is a thoroughly contemporary take on the courtroom drama, drawing on the author’s own life as a Korean immigrant, former trial lawyer, and mother of a real-life “submarine” patient. An addictive debut novel for fans of Liane Moriarty and Celeste Ng, Miracle Creek is both a twisty page-turner and a deeply moving story about the way inconsequential lies and secrets can add up—with tragic consequences.
Trigger Warnings: Sexual abuse and Suicide
One day in Miracle Creek, Virginia an experimental medical treatment device aka Miracle Submarine explodes out of nowhere and kills two people while injuring others. Now, the mother of a patient is on trial for the murder and attempted murder of everyone involved. Told through different perspectives and following the trial, we will uncover what really happens and the aftermath of the explosion. Are the owners of Miracle Submarine, Young and Pak Yoo, really innocent? Is the mother actually capable of killing her only child? Or have one of the other patients commit the crime? Many speculations, a tense trial, what is really the truth here? And at what cost do they hide that truth?
This is Angie Kim’s debut novel and she definitely knows how to write a good book with flushed out characters and knows how to keep you interested in the plot. There are trigger warnings to Sexual abuse which involve a minor with an adult and I’m probably giving away a lot here. However, I was really uncomfortable with the scene because the author didn’t allude to what happened, she wrote out exactly what happened and that was a bit much for me. Therefore, if this is something that you wouldn’t like, please read with caution or don’t read at all. I also felt that suicide was used as a plot twist and that left me feeling “meh.” I really don’t know how to feel about that, I mean we finally learn the truth through this unfortunate event. I was just left with this question of “was that really necessary?”
Because Miracle Creek is about a Korean Immigrant Family, we learn a lot about their culture, them coming to the United States, their language barriers, and what they went through while being here. I really enjoyed those aspects of the book and learning as well. It definitely added to the story and the characters without taking away from the plot of the book.
Angie Kim wrote this book through different character perspectives while still keeping it in 3rd POV which I also found interesting. Usually when books are told through different perspectives, it’s written in 1st person. I thought that for a literary fiction novel, the pacing was great in the first half of the book. However, it definitely dragged and slowed a lot down. We were getting more back story and the characters were frustrating me. There was a lot of back and forth between the characters which is okay, I just thought that it got dragged out for too long. And, I have no problem with unlikeable characters, I usually like them the most but I hated all the characters (except for Elizabeth and Teresa).
I feel like the book was okay and I liked how it concluded. I won’t lie that I started skimming through the book in the last chapters because I wasn’t that much interested anymore. I also do feel like I’m in the minority because it’s gotten tons of hype and buzz.
My favorite parts of this book were the chapters about the Courtroom. Ugh the scenes were so good. This book would do really great as a movie or even a short mini-series like The People v. OJ Simpson. I can definitely see this book becoming that and would probably had preferred it rather than reading it.
There were a lot of characters in this book but they were distinct and I think that’s so important when it comes to books. Even if I had to stop midway through a chapter, once I picked the book up, I wasn’t confused as to who’s characters perspective I was in.
Overall, I would recommend it if you’re into Courtroom Drama and Thrillers.