Miracle Creek is a story about a family that moves from South Korea to a town called Miracle Creek in Virginia for a better way of life. Pak Yoo and Young along with their daughter Mary set up a therapeutic medical device called a HBOT chamber. HBOT, is a hyperbaric oxygen chamber with pressurized oxygen. This therapy involves breathing in pure oxygen to heal patients with special medical needs. Soon, an unfortunate event occurs – a mysterious fire explosion of the Miracle Submarine, resulting in the death of two patients. Was this incident an accident or a murder? Miracle Creek is centered around this murder mystery that deals with a fast-paced and thrilling courtroom drama.
It is written by debut author Angie Kim who includes many of her life instances in this story. Angie Kim, similar to Mary’s character also moved from South Korea to Baltimore with her family at a very young age. The author tackles difficult themes such as immigration, identity crisis, and challenges of parenting based on her personal experiences. Angie Kim is a practiced trail lawyer who draws on her experiences for a realistic courtroom setting.
The story starts with a slight tension in the air followed by the fire explosion of the Miracle Submarine. From here on begins the courtroom trail, where the mother of one of the patients is charged with murder. As you proceed, the story goes into the background of the main characters involved in the accident. These include, Pak Yoo – father, Young – mother, Mary – daughter, Matt – patient of HBOT, and Elizabeth – mother of her deceased child, Henry, who finds herself accused of committing the crime.
The murder mystery keeps you gripped right from the beginning till the end. You will find yourself guessing and reaching a conclusion on who might have possibly committed the crime. Can it be the South Korean family for the insurance money? A frustrated mother? The protestors who are against unsafe medical treatments for autistic children? Or an angry wife? I personally had three suspects. I cannot say that I was surprised and neither was I certain but it was a clear ending with no loose ends.
The story is not just about solving a murder mystery but it also deals with many powerful themes and problems which we face regularly in our lives. There are many excerpts in the story which are brutally honest and true. I found myself agreeing and relating to many of them. This book deals with elements such as autism and parental challenges, immigration and its language barriers, neglected childhood resulting in teenage rebellion, infertility and self-doubt, making it a heavy and full-filling read.
“There’s something, though, about the sounds that other people make. Not talking, necessarily. Just their sounds of living – creaking upstairs, humming a tune, watching TV, clanging dishes – that blot away your loneliness. You miss them when they’re gone. Their absence – the total silence – becomes palpable.”
Coming in at just under 400 pages, Miracle Creek is an easy recommendation if you are looking for something entertaining. It is a varied and heavy read with glimpses into the lives of several different characters.
“We all have thoughts that shame us…but if that were to actually happen, that’d be unbearable”