In rural Virginia, Young and Pak Yoo run an experimental medical treatment device known as the Miracle Submarine – a pressurised oxygen chamber that patients enter for “dives”, used as an alternative therapy for conditions including autism and 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.
When I started Miracle Creek it was one of those I eyed a little suspiciously – everyone was raving about it and we all know how that sometimes goes…
However in the case of Miracle Creek, every little bit of praise was undoubtedly justified- this had so many levels it will make your head spin but in the best way. Beautifully drawn characters, relevant and intelligent social themes, a courtroom drama where every little nuance takes you closer to an incredibly emotional truth.
Angie Kim manages her plot with insightful realism, drawing on every aspect of human nature and throwing it all into a melting pot of random decisions, casual lies and hidden secrets. One night, one terrible tragedy, that sends ripples outwards consuming all involved. There are twists and turns within the narrative but all done in an immersive experience so you barely think of them as twists but more as ever expanding knowledge.
The juxtaposition of Korean and American culture is a strong theme here that creates an indelible mark on the reading of it – a truly creative, authentic and heart wrenching crime novel that works perfectly on every level. It may break your heart a little and certainly will stay with you.