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Miracle Creek by Angie Kim
Legal thriller

Miracle Creek

Debut

We love supporting debut authors. Congrats, Angie Kim, on your first book!

by Angie Kim

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Quick take

An addictive courtroom thriller about a tight-knit community and the murder trial that turns neighbor against neighbor.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_LegalThriller

    Legal thriller

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Whodunit

    Whodunit

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Literary

    Literary

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_SuburbanDrama

    Suburban drama

Synopsis

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.

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Get an early look from the first pages of Miracle Creek.
Miracle Creek

The Incident

Miracle Creek, Virginia
Tuesday, August 26, 2008

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. It was such a small thing, what he wanted. The police had just released the protesters, and while he stepped out to make sure they weren’t coming back, I was to sit in his chair. Cover for him, the way coworkers do as a matter of course, the way we ourselves used to at the grocery store, while I ate or he smoked. But as I took his seat, I bumped against the desk, and the certificate above it went slightly crooked as if to remind me that this wasn’t a regular business, that there was a reason he’d never left me in charge before.

Pak reached over me to straighten the frame, his eyes on the English lettering: Pak Yoo, Miracle Submarine LLC, Certified Hyperbaric Technician. He said—eyes still on the certificate, as if talking to it, not to me— “Everything’s done. The patients are sealed in, the oxygen’s on. You just have to sit here.” He looked at me. “That’s it.”

I looked over the controls, the unfamiliar knobs and switches for the chamber we’d painted baby blue and placed in this barn just last month. “What if the patients buzz me?” I said. “I’ll say you’ll be right back, but—”

“No, they can’t know I’m gone. If anyone asks, I’m here. I’ve been here the whole time.”

“But if something goes wrong and—”

“What could go wrong?” Pak said, his voice forceful like a command. “I’ll be right back, and they won’t buzz you. Nothing will happen.” He walked away, as if that was the end of the matter. But at the doorway, he looked back at me. “Nothing will happen,” he said again, softer. It sounded like a plea.

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Why I love it

Clear your calendars, put your phones on airplane mode, and get ready to hear the sounds of your heartstrings being plucked! This stunning debut is a family drama, courtroom thriller, and a mystery, all of which add up to one of the most incredible novels of 2019.

The road to hell is paved with questionable inventions … The Miracle Submarine is an experimental medical treatment device, essentially a pressurized oxygen chamber, run by Korean immigrants Young and Pak Yoo in rural Virginia. Though it's first considered revolutionary, public opinion turns against the device when it explodes, killing two people and tearing a community apart. Who is at fault? As the trial at the heart of the book unfolds, we gradually learn about the town, its secrets, and how the Yoos’ hopes and dreams became a nightmare.

My two-word review: Jaw. Dropping. I was absolutely floored by this book! Reading it felt like opening a present I had been hiding in my heart. It had so many important, heartbreaking messages about immigration, parenting, and responsibility. And knowing that Kim herself is a Korean immigrant, a former trial lawyer, and mother to a “submarine” patient, lends a whole additional level of credibility to the book. I cannot stress enough what an amazing writer Kim has shown herself to be with her very first novel, and I hope we get to read more from her very soon!

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Member ratings (14,133)

  • Syjil A.

    Claymont, DE

    Miracle Creek isn’t just a courtroom drama; it’s a family drama, medical drama, one involving immigration, parenting, disabilities and flawed people with good intentions. Gripping with a great ending.

  • Hailey L.

    Geneva, NY

    Loved the characters, the storyline and format was definitely different from anything I’ve read before, I was pleasantly surprised at how much I loved both! I Can’t wait to try more from this author!

  • Kate R.

    West Chester, PA

    Really well written and it’s obvious that Angie Kim did a lot of research for this novel. I was kept guessing throughout the trial and I didn’t know what to expect from the ending. Really enjoyed this

  • Devan M.

    Bellefonte, PA

    With gorgeous, evocative prose and complex, compelling characters, this legal and family drama shines. The author’s background adds authenticity. It’s a beautiful and emotional mystery worth savoring.

  • Elizabeth E.

    Mobile, AL

    I absolutely loved this book, and I have been rec’ing it to everyone. Part family tragedy, part immigrant story, part compelling mystery, all wrapped up in the best courtroom drama I’ve read in years.

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