Reviews for Miracle Creek

Kirkus
Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

A Byzantine web of lies surrounds a fatal fire at an unusual treatment facility in this taut legal drama.Kim, a former trial lawyer who turns 50 the same week her debut novel is published, does not make it easy on the reviewer charged with describing her book. This is a complicated and unusual storythough when you are reading it, it will all seem smooth as silk. The Yoos, an immigrant family from Korea, own a hyperbaric oxygen therapy tank in a town called Miracle Creek, Virginia. (In a characteristically wry aside, we learn that "Miracle Creek didn't look like a place where miracles took place, unless you counted the miracle of people living there for years without going insane from boredom.") HBOT treatment, which involves sitting in a chamber breathing pure, pressurized oxygen, is believed to be effective in remediating autism and male infertility, and those conditions are what define the group of people who are in the "submarine" when a fire, clearly set by an arsonist, causes it to explode. Two people are killed; others survive paralyzed or with amputations. The novel opens as the murder trial of the mother of a boy who died in the fire begins. As we come to understand the pressures she has been under as the single mother of a special needs child, it does not seem out of the question that she is responsible. But with all the other characters lying so desperately about what they were doing that evening, it can't be as simple as that. With so many complications and loose ends, one of the miracles of the novel is that the author ties it all together and arrives at a deeply satisfyingthough not easy or sentimentalending.Intricate plotting and courtroom theatrics, combined with moving insight into parenting special needs children and the psychology of immigrants, make this book both a learning experience and a page-turner. Should be huge. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

In Miracle Creek, Virginia, recent Korean immigrant Pak Yoo has staked his family's future on the Miracle Submarine, a hyperbaric oxygen chamber reputed to heal a range of conditions, from autism to infertility. When a fire beneath the chamber's oxygen tanks causes an explosion that kills two of his patients, Pak is paralyzed while trying to rescue the survivors. Now, Pak's client Elizabeth Ward is on trial for intentionally starting the fire that killed her autistic son, Henry, and her friend, Kitt. As the trial opens, Elizabeth seems deserving of the rage crinkling the courtroom's atmosphere: she researched hyperbaric-chamber-fire fatalities; excused herself from that evening's treatment; and insisted that Henry take the seat linked to the exploding tank. But once her attorney begins to pick apart the prosecution witnesses' testimony, Elizabeth's and the Yoos' alternating narratives slowly unveil secrets that paint a more complex picture of the crime. Powerful courtroom scenes invite comparisons to Scott Turow, but Kim's nuanced exploration of guilt, resentment, maternal love, and multifaceted justice may have stronger appeal for readers drawn to the Shakespearean tragedies in Chris Bohjalian's Midwives (1997) and William Landay's Defending Jacob (2012).--Christine Tran Copyright 2019 Booklist


Publishers Weekly
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In Kim's stand-out, twisty debut, Young and Pak Yoo live in Miracle Creek, a small town in Virginia, with their daughter, Mary. After immigrating to Virginia from Seoul, they start the business that operates in the barn behind their home: hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) sessions in a chamber designed like a submarine. But then the fatal explosion that kicks off this winning novel happens, leaving two people dead, Pak in a wheelchair, and Mary permanently scarred. One year later, the Yoos must testify in court against Elizabeth Ward, who's been accused of orchestrating the incident to kill her son, Henry, a child who'd been undergoing HBOT to treat his autism, and who died in the explosion. As the trial progresses, each person who'd been present that night must reckon with what really happened. There's a rich cast, among them Matt, a doctor who'd been using HBOT for his infertility and who'd had a not-completely innocent relationship with Mary, and Young, whose desperation to be a good wife and mother leaves her wanting as both. Kim, a former lawyer, clearly knows her stuff, and though the level of procedural detail is sometimes unwieldy, nonetheless what emerges is a masterfully plotted novel about the joys and pains of motherhood, the trick mirror nature of truth, and the unforgiving nature of justice. (Apr.) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Library Journal
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

DEBUT Living in the fictitious town of Miracle Creek, VA, Pak and Young Yoo, and their teenage daughter, Mary, are fairly new immigrants to the United States. Pak, a certified hyperbolic technician, runs a business using hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) to treat conditions spanning from autism to infertility. When an accident occurs on-site, client Elizabeth Ward is suddenly charged with creating the fire and explosion that killed her autistic son and another client and injuring others. During the four-day trial, the secrets between the Yoos and their clients begin to emerge. In fact, everyone -participating seems to harbor a secret or two, and the stories that unfold are intriguing. First novelist Kim effectively uses her background as a trial lawyer, skillfully crafting her narrative by interweaving the stories of her characters, each of whom speak for themselves as the story progresses toward a surprise ending. VERDICT With touches of mystery, legal thriller, and character-driven storytelling, where nothing is ever quite as it seems, Kim's promising debut will certainly have readers looking forward to her next offering. [See Prepub Alert, 10/15/18.]-Shirley Quan, Orange Cty. P.L., Santa Ana, CA Copyright 2019. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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