When people ask me what my favorite genre is, I am often torn between two – mystery and literary fiction. Needless to say, I have hit my sweet spot when I stumble upon a great literary mystery. These are the page turners that are also beautifully written, and fortunately there are many authors who are masterful in this genre. Some of my favorites are Defending Jacob by William Landy, Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight, and The Secret History by Donna Tartt. And now I have Miracle Creek by Angie Kim to add to the list.
In the opening pages of Miracle Creek, we learn that there has been an explosion at Miracle Submarine, a center for hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) that has resulted in the deaths of two people and many others injured. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is an experimental treatment for a range of medical conditions ranging from autism to infertility and involves patients spending time in a pressurized oxygen chamber. After learning that the explosion at the Miracle Submarine was caused by arson, the remainder of the story entails a riveting courtroom drama that spans four days in the present and includes flashbacks leading up to and after the explosion.
While there is definitely a mystery to solve, Miracle Creek reads more like a complicated family drama with dynamic characters and relationships. Suspects range from Elizabeth, whose son was killed in the explosion, to Yoo, the owner of the Miracle Submarine. Many times over the course of the story I was sure I knew ‘who done it,’ but every time I was wrong. Still, in a season of thrillers that seem harder and harder to believe, Miracle Creek offers a welcome change, with a twist at the end that was a quiet surprise and made for a truly satisfying reading experience.