I really liked this. I didn’t want to read it for the longest time, because I thought it was lit-fic (and it sort of was), but when I heard it was a courtroom drama/mystery, I immediately bought it. The premise also sounded like something pretty unique, and I wanted to see what the author could do with it.
The Yoo family are immigrants from Korea, and run a business called Miracle Submarine in the small town of Miracle Creek. The sub in question is actually a hyperbaric oxygen chamber, used for hyperbaric oxygenization, and their business purports to help patients with disabilities, autism, infertility, among other things. The entire story is told with the frame of a murder trial. The summer before, there was a fire in the barn where the sub was kept, and two people died while in the chamber. Who set the fire? And why?
The book is told from multiple POVs. All the members of the Yoo family (Young, Pak, and their daughter Mary) get a perspective, as well as other members of the HBOT “dive” group and their families. All of the members have secrets, and different perspectives on what happened that day, and summer leading up to it. I thought Kim did a really nice job of pacing out the reveals and reversals. It was page-turning, but never sensational. I also thought her grasp on human emotion was superb. She really nailed the way that humans can be so many conflicting things inside, managing to make characters who did despicable things still seem human, and not like monsters. I also thought she pulled off a really great ending, one that was satisfying, and that meant something.
Glad I read this, and will definitely be reading any of her future work.