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.”Miracle Creek by Angie Kim
Miracle Creek by Angie Kim begins with a startling and intriguing confession drawing readers into the heart of the mystery and legal proceedings of a court case involving charges of intentional arson and murder.
This contemporary legal thriller is set in a rural town in Virginia where an alternate and sometimes controversial therapy called HBOT is being preformed on individuals with diagnoses of autism, cerebral palsy, and infertility.
HBOT (hyperbaric oxygen therapy) is a procedure where high volumes of pure oxygen is administered at an elevated pressure in a sealed compartment. While a relatively safe procedure, HBOT can be potentially fatal if fire comes in contact with the oxygen tank–which is the case in this book.
Pak and Young Yoo have emigrated from South Korea, and now are the owners of the HBOT tank where they run scheduled oxygen sessions called ‘dives’ on their patients. Mary, their teenage daughter is struggling to adjust to her life as an adolescent, navigate her uneven relationship with her parents, and come into her own as an individual and almost adult.
At the time of the explosion there are seven clients (including caregivers) attending the dive:
Kitt and Elizabeth are both friends and mothers to autistic sons, both approaching their sons’ diagnoses in different ways, and both undergoing the same HBOT therapy. Teresa has a teenage daughter with cerebral palsy, and Matt is a Radiologist going for personal reasons.
When the oxygen tank explodes, leaving two dead and more seriously injured–the question is not whether this is arson and murder–because it has been already confirmed as such–but who is the responsible person?
While there were parts of this book that I didn’t like which left me uncomfortable, I did enjoy the legal proceedings and back and forth of the lawyers, the character development, the different voices and experiences in each chapter, and the mystery and whodunit aspect of the novel.
I would say there is a trigger warning with this book, as it does explore some mature issues and themes.
My overall rating is:
About the Author:
Angie Kim had some similar experiences as the characters in this book–she moved from South Korea as a preteen like Mary does, she went with her son for HBOT therapy, and she graduated from Harvard Law School and practiced as a trial lawyer. Her book has become a national bestseller and won the 2020 Edgar Allen Poe Award for Best First Novel by an American Author. It also was a nominee for the Goodreads Choice Award for Mystery and Thriller 2019.
I also posted a review of this book on my Instagram account.