3 Pretzels. Need a pretzel rating refresher? Click here.
Look, I love a good court room drama, and this book had all the makings of a good one. But it fizzled out for me. The idea was great, the plot and character development were spot on, it was just a tad too long. This book left me feeling the way I feel after literally every social engagement I’ve ever had. You know how, when you go to leave a place, and you stand there saying bye for thirty minutes, hand on the doorknob, ready to go, but you just keep running your dumb mouth for some reason? Miracle Creek was exactly that. It made a good first impression, nailed all its jokes, drank just enough to not cross the line from quirky to plain old weird; it just didn’t know how the hell to leave.
^ I just described myself at a party. Or anywhere, really. I got jokes, y’all, but I will linger a good fifteen minutes too long. It’s just what I do. Enough about me, what’s this book about anyway?
A Synopsis, in brief:
Miracle Submarine is a treatment facility run by a family of Korean immigrants. At Miracle Submarine, patients are treated for a plethora of conditions by being submerged in a hyperbaric chamber for one hour at a time, twice a day. These are called dives and they are used to treat everything from impotence to autism. Everything is cool until the place blows the hell up, killing two patients and injuring several more. The book opens with a literal bang. Miracle Submarine is on fire and we don’t know the extent of the damage until we get to court.
The mother of one of the patient’s who died is on trial for murder. It is believed, and presented to us right off the bat, that she was tired of caring for her sick child and wanted a way out. She used cigarettes she found to set a fire to the chamber and was, conveniently, not present when the place blew up.
The bulk of the story takes place in the courtroom. Angie Kim, a former trial lawyer herself, using the familiar setting to lay out the plot. We find out as the jury finds out. We also get some outside the courtroom backstory and shifting points of view, stuff the jury isn’t privy to, to try to come to our own conclusions about who did what and why. Why is a big question in a case like this. And, of course, it’s not as cut and dry as we’re initially led to believe.
If you plan on reading this book, I’d stop here.
Okay, you’ve been warned.
I will say that, while this book wasn’t the best courtroom drama ever, in fact, it’s not even the best one I’ve read this year, the ending wasn’t quite what I expected, which I find refreshing. So often we get endings tied up nice and neat. Miracle Creek isn’t one of those books. Sure, everything is resolved-ish, but I was left wondering what would happen to some of the characters later on. I love when books make me do that. So, like I said, tons of things to like about this book, it just ran out of steam for me. The good news is, Angie Kim seems like a lovely person and she’s working on a second novel. I’ll definitely give her another go.