Former trial lawyer Angie Kim's excellent debut novel is a mystery and a legal thriller. It's also a serious exploration of what makes life worth living, the immigrant experience, and the effect of lies on family, and the very transient nature of truth. Told from several viewpoints, the story is about a Korean immigrant, Pak Yoo, who runs a hyperbaric oxygenation facility, an "alt medicine" treatment for, among other things, autism. As the story opens, a fire at the facility kills a child, a parent, and causes terrible injuries to everyone, both physical and psychological. A mother who was "absent" that day is on trial for murder, but author Kim gives us several other viable alternatives for who started the deadly fire, including Pak, his wife Young and teenaged daughter Mary. Or is it the most vocal of a group of militants protesting the facility? Kim does not skimp on her characters, we get to know them as real people. Equal parts page-turner and serious exploration of the above themes, this one feels like a major advance in the legal thriller.

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