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A thrilling debut novel for fans of Liane Moriarty and Celeste Ng about how far we’ll go to protect our families―and our deepest secrets
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 . . .
In the rural Virginia town of Miracle Creek, Young and Pak Yoo run an experimental medical treatment device known as the Miracle Submarine—a pressurized oxygen chamber that patients enter for therapeutic “dives” with the hopes of curing issues like autism or infertility. But when the chamber 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.
Angie Kim’s Miracle Creek is a thoroughly contemporary take on the courtroom drama, drawing on the author’s own life as a Korean immigrant, former trial lawyer, and mother of a real-life “submarine” patient. Both a twisty page-turner and an excavation of identity and the desire for connection, Miracle Creek is a ravishing debut by a major new writer.
“[T]hought-provoking journey of ideas disguised as a courtroom page-turner…Miracle Creek becomes a fascinating study of the malleability of truth in the courtroom. For the reader, learning the killer’s identity matters less than parsing the moral compromises each character makes to guard his or her own version of truth.” ―The New York Times
“A deeply moving story about parents and the lengths they will go for their children…Readers will be riveted by the book’s genre-bending structure and superb pace. Miracle Creek is a stunning debut about parents, children and the unwavering hope of a better life, even when all hope seems lost.” ―The Washington Post
“In her mesmerizing debut novel, Miracle Creek, Angie Kim takes readers into the courtroom for a story of lies and a trial to find the truth…She shows an enormous amount of empathy for her characters, infusing them with such intense humanity that I sat weeping for them in an airplane middle seat, between two strangers, for several minutes after I finished the book. With clear, assured prose and penetrating emotional intelligence, she takes us deep into their inner lives . . . The plotting is deliberate and detailed and marvelously done.” ―The Los Angeles Times
“This novel is a stunner, emotionally packed, with separate characters delivering internal plot twists and turns. Part family drama, part trial drama, part culture war drama — digging into sensitive topics like parenthood, immigration, infertility, and alternative therapy — this novel is all secrets, secrets, secrets…Angie Kim gives the reader a supremely masterful unraveling in this tense, psychologically astute, emotionally riveting, suspense-filled literary thriller.” ―Los Angeles Review of Books
“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 satisfying—though not easy or sentimental—ending. 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.” ―Kirkus (starred review)
“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. 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.” ―Library Journal (starred review)
“[Angie Kim] knows how to build a suspenseful courtroom thriller, but just as importantly, MIRACLE CREEK offers a thoughtful exploration of numerous themes that will resonate well outside the murder plot…The author also powerfully, and at times painfully, interrogates the inner lives of women who are the primary caregivers for children with chronic, debilitating medical conditions.” ―Bookreporter
“A stand-out, twisty debut…Kim, a former lawyer, clearly knows her stuff…a masterfully plotted novel about the joys and pains of motherhood, the trick mirror nature of truth, and the unforgiving nature of justice.” ―Publisher’s Weekly
“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).” ―Booklist
“Clear your calendars, put your phones on airplane mode, and get ready to hear the sounds of your heartstrings being plucked! This stunning debut is a family drama, courtroom thriller, and a mystery, all of which add up to one of the most incredible novels of 2019… My two-word review: Jaw. Dropping. I was absolutely floored by this book! Reading it felt like opening a present I had been hiding in my heart.” ―Liberty Hardy, Book of the Month Club
“Kim explores the deepest, darkest and most untamed facets of the human psyche through her riveting tale of murder. “Miracle Creek” is a thrilling, page-turning story of how even the most well-intentioned white lie can lead to an explosive outcome.” ―Character Media
PRAISE & REVIEWS FROM AUTHORS
“Miracle Creek is a marvel, a taut courtroom thriller that ultimately tells the most human story imaginable, a story of good intentions and reckless passions. Compelling, generous, at once empathetic and unsparing. I am wrecked, I am heartened and hopeful, which means, in short, that Miracle Creek is pretty much the perfect novel for these chaotic times in which we live.” ―Laura Lippman
“I know this story but have never seen it in a novel—the struggles of the Korean immigrant entrepreneur in America, with a technology that seems like magic, who can go from hero to villain in an instant, now at the center of what is possibly a murder—a bright seam of crisis, mystery and love emerges in these pages. Kim has written a bold debut novel about science and immigration and the hopes and fears each engenders—unforgettable and true.” ―Alexander Chee
“Miracle Creek grabbed me hard right from the start. This is a terrific courtroom thriller, a sly whodunit that’s beautifully written and also full of heart.” ―Scott Turow
“I picked up Miracle Creek and literally couldn’t put it down. It’s that wonderful, brilliant sort of book that you want to shove at other people as soon as you’ve finished so they can experience it for themselves.” ―Erin Morgenstern
“The novel is a gripping page-turner, but what I loved most was Kim’s thoughtful, honest exploration of parents of children with special needs, and immigrants. Perfectly paced, filled with wisdom and compassion, this is a book you don’t want to miss.” ―Jean Kwok
“Miracle Creek is an engrossing puzzle-box of a book: A twisty courtroom drama that also manages to be emotionally astute, culturally perceptive, and deeply empathetic. Kim tackles hot-button subjects with a delicate touch, proving herself a master of both portraiture and storytelling. I loved this novel.” ―Janelle Brown, author of the New York Times bestseller Watch Me Disappear
“Beautifully written, [the] unflinchingly honest and thought-provoking Miracle Creek unfurls through a courtroom drama about the death of a disabled child. Angie Kim deftly explores the lies that people tell themselves, the temptation of hope, and the struggles of the immigrant experience through the shifting lens of intensely believable characters.” ―Yangsze Choo, author of the New York Times bestseller The Night Tiger
“Miracle Creek is a courtroom drama with impeccable pacing, an original plot, and stellar writing. It’s also a remarkably empathetic book, exploring the ripple effects of causality and the urgent need to do right by each other in big and small ways, recognizing that even the best of us will fail once in a while. It is a lovely reminder that even when doing the right thing feels like swimming upstream, we never know what harm may be prevented and what good might come from our actions. A great read that deserves broad success.” —Sara Hinckley, Hudson Booksellers, Marietta, GA (May 2019 IndieNext Featured Review)
“I love a good courtroom drama, so I love Miracle Creek. But this is more than a good thriller; it is the story of parents with children needing treatment for autism or cerebral palsy, the story of family of Korean immigrants; the story of myriad marriages and the ‘right’ way to raise children in a very challenging environment. I loved this book and can’t wait to introduce it to book clubs . . . if only so I can have someone to talk about it with.” ―Sarah Bagby, Watermark Books & Cafe