Miracle Creek

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 16 Apr 2019

Member Reviews

What a book!  It opens strong and is mainly a courtroom drama which I am usually not a fan of. However, this one is woven through the lives, stories and backgrounds of so many well done characters it made it feel very different. From the hyperbalic chamber explanations - which of course I had to Google! - to the Korean culture, to the things people do to heal the sick this one had me glued. 
I thought I had the ending pegged - and then the author twisted it and my stomach all around. 
Very well done - highly recommend!!
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What an incredible family story-meets-courtroom drama. Angie Kim creates empathy and suspense in a way that blends these two genres together seamlessly. So many former lawyers-turned-writers get caught up in the legal piece and ignore much of the rest of the story - Angie Kim gave the perfect amount of detail without getting in the weeds. Favorite book of the month!
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Three words – secrets and lies!

Pak Yoo runs the Miracle Submarine – it is pure oxygen and deep pressure. It is hyperbaric therapy (HBOT) that patients hope will provide healing for their ailments such as autism and infertility. All was going well until the day the Miracle Submarine blew up and killed two of its patients. Now Elizabeth Ward finds herself on trial for their murder.

Oh my, this was some story! It seemed that just about everyone has something to hide. Elizabeth is on trial for murder, but the murderer really could be a number of different characters. I could make a case for a few of the characters as to why they were the murderer, but I really wasn’t sure who to point the finger at. It kept me guessing and changing my mind throughout until I neared the end of the story and the clouds parted and the murderer’s identity was revealed.

This story was more than just a mystery/courtroom drama. It shed light on some of the day-to-day concerns parents of autistic children go thought. It also touched upon immigration, as well as a bit of Korean culture woven into the story.

The character development was fantastic! Everyone has a backstory and that was no small feat because there were quite a few characters.

If you like a mystery that will keep you guessing throughout, this is the book for you!
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I loved this book so much. I love court room dramas and this one was told so well. I loved the immigration issues it tackled and the voices of mothers raising Autistic children, 

The way it is told from different perspectives gave such a holistic narrative of the entire story. Just when I thought I had it figured it out, it would switch to a different POV and I would change my mind. I loved how it kept me guessing all the way to the end. 

A very beautifully told story that I would recommend to everyone. n
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A fire was intentionally set at a medical facility in rural Virginia that killed two people. Now the mother of one of the victims, an autistic boy, is accused of the crime and on trial for her life. But many other people are keeping secrets of what happened that night. Is the mother truly guilty or is one of them the real murderer? 

It's hard to believe this is a debut novel--it is that well written. The plot is complex with many layers of lies. Nicely placed suggestive hints keep you guessing till the end. 

The courtroom scenes are among the best I've read. Angie Kim has experience as a trial lawyer and it shows in her narrative. I especially liked this observation as the trial unfolded: "It scared [him] a little, how these lawyers could take a given set of facts and spin them in opposite directions. [He] got the feeling [the prosecutor] cared about the truth only insofar as it was consistent with his theory of the case; otherwise, not so much. Any new evidence that didn't fit was not cause to reconsider his position, but something to explain away."

Angie Kim writes so well about certain situations, perhaps because she has lived them herself. Several of her characters for instance are Korean-Americans, including a teenage girl, and Angie herself came to America from South Korea as a preteen. Kim weaves their problems with assimilating, coping with the new language and being accepted into her story. "Pak Yoo was a different person in English than in Korean. In a way, he supposed, it was inevitable for immigrants to become child versions of themselves, stripped of their verbal fluency and, with it, a layer of their competence and maturity. In Korean, he was an authoritative man, educated and worthy of respect. In English, he was a deaf, mute idiot, unsure, nervous, and inept." 

Her characters deal with life's problems in authentic ways, trying to think them through, struggling with their emotions, making tough decisions about what is right or wrong. She really gets into their minds and hearts as they cope with fear, guilt and self-recriminations. 

This author can really write! I highly recommend adding this book to your summer reading list. 

I received an arc from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. Many thanks! I look forward to reading many more books from this author.
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This was a tough one.  I LOVED parts of it.  I liked parts of it.  A couple parts just felt like the flow was off and I had to go back and re-read to see if I missed something.  This was a debut novel and deals with some tough subjects including how far will parents go for their children.

A immigrant family, the father Pak, mother Young, and teenage daughter Mary (her Americanized name) struggle now that they are reunited after years of separation.  Pak.opens an HBOT facility.   Link included because I googled to wrap my head around what it did to get a better understanding. 
https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/hyperbaric-oxygen-therapy/about/pac-20394380  The cast of characters have all brought their children (or themselves) in search of help.  A horrific accident happens that results in injuries and loss of lives.  The story is part family drama and part court room drama as both unfold as the book progresses.

The third party narration is helpful and also lets you see how judgement you may have made were false as you were reading one person's version of events.   It makes you ponder how often this happens in real life.

Thank you Netgalley for the ARC.  I would say this is a 3.5 rounding up to 4.
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This isn’t an easy read. It’s disturbing at times yet at once, incredibly moving. Miracle Creek is a thrilling courtroom drama in which the author respectfully touches on a bounty of poignant topics. 

The story begins on the night of the incident. A family have recently migrated from South Korea and opened a business providing HBOT treatment. This is a treatment in which patients breathe in 100% oxygen and is said to improve a range of health problems, from infertility to autism. Then, a mysterious fire breaks out. Fast-forward one year and Elizabeth Ward is on trial for the murder of her eight-year-old autistic son and another patient. The pressure of parenting her autistic child was driving Elizabeth to the edge. Did she commit arson and murder her son? Or, is there another explanation? 

Being a courtroom drama, I don’t want to delve too deep into the plot as you’ll no doubt want to uncover all the scandalising details on your own. I will note that this book is an incredible exploration of grief, prejudice, love and pride. The trial and mystery make for the perfect backdrop for a powerful character study. The people involved in the tragic event are flawed, complex and the ripple effect of their rash impulsive decisions spiral out of control and change their lives forever. 

Furthermore, through the multiple characters perspectives, Kim sheds light on motherhood and what it’s like to care for disabled children. She explores how far a parent will go to protect their family and proposes thought-provoking questions; what would we do in their shoes? In addition, she illustrates the prejudice surrounding immigrant communities as we learn more about the Yoo family and their daily struggles in society. 

Watching the courtroom action unfold, it’s fascinating how easily our opinions and beliefs are skewed by the manipulation of words and interpretations of events. I didn’t know who to believe. While I read each of the characters’ points of view, filling in the night in question, I felt hatred, anger but also sympathy for all of them. As they share more about their lives prior to the event, their omissions are what effectively keep the reader guessing. 

We always want the best for our family and, sometimes, telling lies and keeping secrets are deemed necessary. Miracle Creek, a deeply moving mystery, presents the tragic consequences that can follow. I took so much away from this book. Sign me up for all of Angie Kim’s future releases!
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Angie Kim's writing is phenomenal. I picked it up during a reading slump, and the first chapter alone got me hooked!
Miracle Creek is the story of the tragedy and fallout surrounding an "accident" with the Yoo family's HBOT; a medical "submarine" that supposedly has healing properties. When the submarine explodes and two patients are killed, there are secrets and desperation abound... and everything makes its way to the surface. 
At a time when we need more authors telling diverse stories that are well written and keep us on the edge of our seats, Angie Kim's story of a Korean immigrant family's sacrifices, hopes and dreams - with a totally new Big Little Lies-esque twist - is a welcome perspective!
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This fascinating debut novel covers all the bases - family drama, mystery, courtroom drama. A Korean couple opens an alternative health clinic that provides HBOT - hyperbaric oxygenation, which is supposed to help with autism, infertility, CP and other health problems. On a day that protesters have gathered outside the facility, it explodes. The same day one of the mothers chooses not to accompany her autistic son into the chamber. The same day the couple are both away from the controls of the chamber. So, who exactly is to blame when all the participants are either killed or injured? Who could be that much of a monster?

Told from multiple points of view, we get to see both the day of the “accident”, their lives prior to it and the ensuing court case when the mother is charged with murder. The multiple points of view are extremely effective. “Teresa hadn’t expected an exact match between his memories and hers - she watched Law and Order; she wasn’t that naive- but still the difference was unnerving.” 

We are taken into the world of parenting autistic children; the anguish and the hardships but also the bliss of a small achievement.
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This book was amazingly written and  plotted. Truly one of the best books I’ve read! The courtroom ready like the best episode of a Law and Order episode. Unique plot and lots to think about and discuss! Cannot wait to read something else from this author. What a amazing debut you won’t want to miss!!!
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The story of a deadly explosion at a medical treatment facility, Miracle Creek is both a suspenseful courtroom mystery and a fascinating societal critique.

Full review posted at BookBrowse.com: https://www.bookbrowse.com/mag/reviews/index.cfm/book_number/3920/miracle-creek#reviews (paywall, link included for publisher)
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Thank you to NetGalley and the publishing house for providing an advanced copy for review- it allowed me to toggle between my hardback and Kindle this month. All thoughts and opinions are my own! 

I do not typically turn to courtroom dramas for reading, but the premise for this one was so intriguing that I decided to make Miracle Creek my Book of the Month in April. Don't worry, if you missed that one, you can probably still add this one to your box this month! Honestly, this book really blew me away with it's smart twists that it surprised me that such seasoned writing could be found in a debut novelist. 

If courtroom thrillers aren't your cup of tea or if you haven't picked up one since the Grisham days, I encourage you to give this one a spin! 

The book opens with the court case so it is one of those right-out-of-the-gates kind of books that I tend to gravitate towards these days. The story centers around a family who have immigrated to the states and decided to open an experimental medical treatment facility that utilizes a pressurized oxygen chamber as a therapeutic device to treat complex medical cases like autism and infertility. 

When the device, known as the Miracle Submarine, explodes, killing two people, everyone becomes a suspect and each have their own motives that could throw their innocence into question.

Told from alternating perspectives, Kim really builds layered characters that are real and relatable. I found the mother, who comes under scrutiny, to be among the most compelling because she is dealing with the heaviness of the day-to-day grind of appointments and struggles with her son and her need to escape from these burdens. 

If you are a fan of Celeste Ng or loved Defending Jacob, I have a feeling you will love this book as much as I did. Kim really uses her own complex background in a way that makes you feel sympathy in the Yoo's family struggles of trying to make their life in America and not always feeling welcomed or at home. 

Please note, this review will be posted on June 1st, in the link provided!
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Above all, a novel about how hard mothers are on themselves.  No matter who we are, where we come from or our parenting challenges and successes, deep down lives the fear that we are just not a good enough mother.  That the petty feelings and frustrations that erupt from time to time make us inherently toxic to our children.  With that as the books core, I especially enjoyed watching the story unfold from the radically different persepctives of each of its characters, who are bound together by the tragedy that starts the book.  Realistic characterizations, just enough twists and turns to keep you guessing, and an interesting look into the lives of Korean immigrant families.  An excellent read.
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This was an interesting look at how all of our little choices in life interact with each other to create both big and small consequences and experiences.
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"But that was the way life worked. Every human being was the result of a million different factors mixing together… Good things and bad – every friendship and romance formed, every accident, every illness – resulted from the conspiracy of hundreds of little things, in and of themselves inconsequential."

Miracle Creek is a courtroom drama centering around Elizabeth, a woman accused of killing her eight-year-old Autistic son, and the Yoos, a Korean immigrant family who run an experimental medical facility using hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT). When an explosion occurs, killing two of the occupants in the “submarine,” evidence soon points to arson due to the remnants of a cigarette and matches being found near the point of ignition. The story follows the trial of Elizabeth, who is accused of starting the fire with the purpose of killing her son, as the drama of the courtroom unfolds.

One of the most interesting things about this novel was the intricacy in which the author wove together the stories from multiple disparate characters. As the drama unfolds, so do the lies that each of these characters have told and how those seemingly tiny and inconsequential lies have often disastrous consequences. The characters were really well-developed and interesting and sympathetic. Although I had my ideas early-on who set the fire – and ended up being correct, surprisingly – the motives behind said action were murkier to figure out. I also thought it was really interesting how much the author put herself and parts of her life in her novel – she immigrated to America from Korea when she was a young girl, she was a lawyer, she majored in philosophy in school, and her son underwent HBOT treatment.

The only thing that I didn’t like was the author’s overuse of imagery; though it was beautifully written and helped set the scene at several points in the novel, after a while it got to be too much.

Overall, I really enjoyed Miracle Creek. It was a really good read and kept me on the edge of my seat.

Thank you to NetGalley and Farrar, Straus and Giroux for a copy of this eBook in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts expressed are my own.
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I requested this one on NetGalley for the express purpose of being able to give my review but I had already chosen it from BOTM. So, with that being said, I chose correctly. This is an outstanding novel that is well paced and intriguing. It offers a very believable plotline, a family that has immigrated to Miracle Creek sets up a treatment center using hyperbaric oxygen tanks to do "dives" to treat all sorts of conditions, but primarily psychiatric and neurologic disorders of childhood. One day, the operator of the center leaves the center in the hands of his wife who is less than certain of her ability to manage. She does not feel confident in running the show and naturally things go wrong. This is only the first few pages. The real story unfolds in following the trial and what happens after.

This is a terrific read and I highly recommend it.

#MiracleCreek #NetGalley
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In a small town named Miracle Creek, a Korean immigrant and his wife run a hyperbaric oxygen treatment ‘submarine’ hoping to help others with many different medical conditions. One day, the submarine catches fire and explodes and injures some and leave others dead. A cigarette, matches, and a note are found where the fire started. Now they must figure out who started the fire. Was it the owner hoping to cash out on the insurance money to help his family? Was it the mother of an autistic child receiving therapy who just couldn’t take any more? Or was it someone else?

I wasn’t really sure what to expect when I requested this book and I wasn’t sure if I was going to like it. It sucked me in from the beginning and I ended up LOVING it!!!! It was more of a courtroom drama type read than I expected which I absolutely loved and it kept me invested and guessing until the end. I cannot say enough good things about this book and am so sad that the book is finished! You HAVE to read this!

Thank you  #NetGalley for an advanced copy of this book!
#MiracleCreek #NetGalley
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Miracle Submarine provides pressurized oxygen treatment to a variety of clients in a non-medical setting. Among its clientele are parents with children having various conditions for which there are no solutions, cures, answers through medicine, diagnoses such as being on the autism spectrum or cerebral palsy. Located in Miracle Creek, Virginia, the business is owned by the Yoo family, immigrants from Korea pursuing the American dream of a better life for their daughter, Mary.

BUT! Everything is about to go wrong in a horribly awful way. And we readers will be caught up in a mesmerizing tale of deception, half-truths, shades of gray to black in assessing degrees of blame and or guilt. One evening, after a day of complications and delays, there is an explosion while people are still in the tank, while a session is still under way. This novel is the outcome of that night, the reworking of all that may have happened, the trial experience, for blame is apportioned.

This is a novel of responsibility, guilt and/or innocence, the uses of blame, truth vs expedience. It’s a novel of relationships or the lack of them or how they can become warped by so many factors. How the lack of human support can have unknown echoes on future events.

Above all, it’s a thrilling read that I very strongly recommend to all. 5 strong stars.

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher through NetGalley in return for an honest review.
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Miracle Creek was a great mystery/courtroom drama.  It’s one of those books that I didn’t want to put down.  I was very impressed with this author’s debut.  

The book opens with the night of the explosion and fire in the Miracle Submarine, used for HBOT medical treatment.  HBOT stands for Hyperbaric oxygen therapy which is a medical treatment that uses increased atmospheric pressure and increased oxygen. The characters in the book use it for conditions such as autism, cerebral palsy, and infertility.  Two people die in the fire, and it looks like it wasn’t an accident.  The majority of the book is a murder trial and each character recounting the events of that night and the days leading up to the tragedy.  The author pieces together info as told through several of the characters. Bit by bit we learn more truths and uncover more lies.  

4.5 stars rounded to 5!  Highly recommended!  Looking forward to more from this author.  Many thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for this eARC.
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This was one of the books published in 2019 that I was looking most forward to reading! It’s a mystery novel with a thriller-like pacing, so gripping I almost fell on my face reading it while going home. I just needed to know what happened next.

In the small town of Miracle Creek, the Yoos run the Miracle Submarine, an alternative medical treatment to promote healing of the body by breathing pure oxygen. When the submarine one day explodes and two people died, secrets threaten to come to surface during the trial. Did Elizabeth plan to murder her own child?

This court mystery is absolutely enthralling. There was a surprising depth of humanity in the book, which talks a lot about immigration and fitting in, about autism, about the difficulties of being a parent to a disabled child and the joys of it, too. Even infertility is discussed honestly. I was absorbed by the story and read this in one day. I loved the multiple POV, which gave each character such depth. A really, really great book that I highly recommend!
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