Miracle Creek: A scorching legal drama

This blistering book has barely left my hands for the last few days. I started it on Tuesday night, intending to read a few pages. Before I knew it, I was 100 pages deep and we were well into Wednesday morning. I finished it today and it’s left me drained – in the best possible way.

I won this copy in a giveaway, and as we’re buddy reading it at the moment I won’t go into loads of detail. But if you have the chance to read Miracle Creek – do it. It’s a fantastic example of a courtroom drama (is drama the right word? Thriller? ..) that soars far beyond the trial.

Miracle Creek isn’t just about whether a mother murdered her autistic son. It’s a window into the lives of parents raising autistic children. It’s a novel with a whole cast of morally ambiguous characters. It’s about immigration and culture, belonging and acceptance. It’s about parenthood and ‘normal’ and societal pressures. It’s about what people will do for their families – regardless of the consequences. It made me question what I’d do in each of these characters’ shoes, and where I’d draw the line.

I thought some of the most poignant scenes were mothers sharing their darkest, innermost thoughts. These were thoughts soaked in hatred and anger; but shared across the spectrum of characters. It played into a form of the madonna or the whore trope: mothers were either angelic, devoted and selfless, or they were emotionless, abusive and uncaring. Miracle Creek is a takedown of the Good Mother: it condemns those who judge mothers for what they do, and emphasises the lose-lose situation that many mothers find themselves in.

Through its oft-changing perspectives, short sections and four-day window, Miracle Creek is a quick read. New evidence and changing truths batter you, shaking any confidence in guess-the-perp abilities. I guessed about two-thirds of the way through. And while in some trial-based books this leads to an anti-climax, in Miracle Creek, it made the reveal even more heartbreaking.

Miracle Creek is a terrific debut and I can’t wait to see what Angie Kim does next. Her mastery of the plot and characters is superb, and not a surprise when you look at her own background. She moved to the US from South Korea as a teenager; she’s a trained lawyer; and she has children with medical issues. I was blown away by this one and urge you to bump it to the top of your tbrs.

Read this if you want a scorching tale that leaves you empty at the end. A book for any mood: whether you want an easy read that races through, or a tough ride that makes you call your own morals into question. For fans of authors like Jodi Picoult, who can take divisive, gritty subjects and weave a wholly human tale.


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