McDowell

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An admired and lauded surgeon climbs to the top of his profession. But his callous and questionably moral determination angers colleagues and friends who vow to destroy him. He becomes a member of the President’s cabinet when a personal family tragedy presents him with a dilemma that leads to a felonious crime. When his world of wealth and privilege collapses, only time can reveal if he rebuilds his life to garner always-desired esteem.
Award finalist in both the 2014 and 2015 William Faulkner Creative Writing Competition.
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110 reviews for McDowell

  1. Pamela Gossiaux

    An Extraordinary – and Entertaining – Work of Fiction!
    Coles is the winner of nearly 40 awards for his fiction, and I can see why. After reading McDowell and listening to a few of his short stories on his website, I believe he must be one of the most talented and prolific writers of our time.
    McDowell grabs your attention immediately, as Hiram McDowell is attempting to scale a snowy mountain peak in Nepal. Near the summit, his fellow-climber falls from exhaustion and pleads for McDowell to help him. The result sets the tone for the rest of the novel.
    McDowell, a world-renown surgeon and philanthropist, lives a posh and acclaimed existence. On his third marriage, this one for convenience, he only shows love for his three children. McDowell feels he has earned the right to whatever he wants (and in some ways he has, with all he has done in the medical world) but his hubris will be his fall when a terrible tragedy strikes his family.
    Author William H. Coles writes a powerful story of self-discovery, retribution, and grief that covers the gamut of how the press can build or destroy a reputation, how we ourselves must live with the consequences of our actions, and what happens when dollars replace compassion in science.
    Coles, an ophthalmic surgeon, brings his own experiences into this riveting tale. And his work will appeal to readers and writers alike. As a writer myself, I can’t say enough about his website, where he shares his wealth of information and resources with writers. You really need to visit it. He is also a lecturer and collector of antique furniture, a jazz musician, a painter, and a professor. He’s nothing short of amazing.
    This is literary fiction at its best – but not the kind your teachers made you read. It’s entertaining, gripping, and leaves the reader with the desire to pick up another of Cole’s books. I can’t wait to see what he’s working on next. I highly recommend McDowell.

  2. Flowers123

    Review from OnlineBookClub.org
    McDowell is one of those books that will leave you pondering. You’ll laugh, cry, feel hatred, judgmental, and even revise your initial judgment of the main character.
    William H. Cole’s McDowell is a fascinating story. It is an in-depth portrayal of the principle of cause and effect. Of what you do today might haunt you tomorrow. This set me thinking about the lives we lead. Which I believe is the primary purpose of this story to set you thinking. The first half of the book showed Hiram in all his glory. As a man who is in charge of his life. But the second half portrayed him as a total float that is driven by his situations. Often alone he tries as much as possible never to be found as he journeys from place to place meeting new people and hiding from the law. It appears he would not have had this experience if he was just a little more attentive to people when he had money, power, and fame.
    Read the entire review here…

  3. holsam_87

    Review from OnlineBookClub.org
    McDowell by William H. Coles is a fantastic read. The characters, both primary and secondary, are so well written and developed that they were what drove the plotline. Hiriam McDowell is a top surgeon that has all the comforts that anyone could desire, but he lacks compassion for not only his colleagues but his family as well. Can Hiriam learn to have empathy for others? It might take a big change in his life, but I think so.
    There are multiple themes explored in this book that could challenge other people’s morals. One being the misogynist main character, especially since he kept being overly focused on women’s imperfections. This leads to moments of infidelity, which stemmed mostly from the dislike of his spouse.
    Read the entire review here…

  4. Dorcas Serwaa Adu

    Review from OnlineBookClub.org
    There are a series of things I loved about the book, McDowell. Starting from how it teaches that immediate judgement of a person is not the best way to go about things. When the matter arises, we must listen to both sides then later present our judgement so as to prevent being bias. Also the case that success doesn’t have to always be about money. It should be about making a change as well as earning an honest and decent living, thus working selflessly. It also emphasis on the benefit of family and not being with a person just so you can earn something from them. Hiram saw the need to destroy anything that will drag him down out of the way as he felt the world needed to serve him which shouldn’t be the case. This is because the statement is in the opposite of what is to be actually done.
    Read the entire review here…

  5. Jsovermyer

    Review from OnlineBookClub.org
    I liked the outstanding character development in this book. Hiram McDowell is a flawed man. Most books have one-dimensional characters, either all good or all bad. McDowell is very multi-dimensional. He is very bad, self-centered, and selfish. But there is also a good side to him. He does love his children, even if he is not good at showing it. His hospital in Nepal does do good work. But he sees nothing wrong in using the charity’s money for his personal use. He doesn’t understand why people dislike him. This book is also filled with other interesting and well-defined characters, including his children, Paige the news reporter, and Max Rojas the detective.
    Read the entire review here…

  6. Beate Levai

    Review from OnlineBookClub.org
    This novel reminds me of the literary classics where colorful and versatile pictures are depicted of the contemporary societies and where the main character undergoes a profound transformation. I also liked the epigraphs at the beginning of specific chapters. I think the author is a master of creating authentic ambiances with dialogues and style (e.g., the professional language used on the ethics board meeting; the slang spoken in the streets of Seattle).
    I highly appreciate the fine character drawings in the novel and think the pen-and-ink sketch of McDowell on the cover fits very well to the book.
    This book is not about merely Hiram McDowell’s life; it is about life with Hiram McDowell participating in it. I recommend this novel to those who like reading high-quality literature. I wholeheartedly rate it 4 out of 4 stars.
    Read the entire review here…

  7. leanne_brown17

    Review from OnlineBookClub.org
    This book was a very satisfying read for me, because the details and story development are written very precisely, with little to no “fluff” or unnecessary information. I was able to turn the pages quickly and without confusion as to what was going on. Although I was never confused, I also never knew what was going to happen next, and thoroughly enjoyed the unpredictability of the plot.
    I think that the author accurately depicted the difficult and often tumultuous road of self-exploration. In real life, we often get caught up in what we think success should look like, and forget to keep our feet on the ground. I am certain that anyone who reads this book will know someone who shares characteristics with McDowell, and it may even be themselves. By leading the reader on a journey of self-reflection with his main character, Coles shows the reader that we should pay attention to the roadblocks we face in our own lives, because an unexpected change of direction may be exactly what we need.
    Read the entire review here…

  8. Nerea

    Review from OnlineBookClub.org
    Have you ever read a healthy story that’s gripping right from the beginning? Well, McDowell by William H. Coles is one of those stories.
    This is one of the great art of writing that the author gifted to the readers. The suspense in the story was intense and the ending of the story aroused shock and grief. The plot and characters are well developed. Though the plot portrayed gross output, the author was careful not to disappoint the sensitive and weak souls by not adding explicit and graphic scenes.
    Read the entire review here…

  9. abramwhiz

    Review from OnlineBookClub.org
    McDowell is a book everyone will love to read. The book has, a structure that you can’t even predict what will happen next, so as you read, event comes as a surprise which makes the reading interesting in the book, the author tried to use words, that makes the story looks real. What I love about the book is the plot telling about the life of Hiram McDowell and, others around him. And I also like the way the writer titled some chapters making the reader follow up. During the course of my reading, I don’t think there is anything that made me hate the book, so for that I will recommend this book for anyone who has interest in reading it.
    I sincerely enjoyed this book and, I will rate it 4 out of 4 stars. The author has created an effective story. I gave it this rating because, the book deserves it, also for the plot and the characters being used, it is really mind bending. I’m sure anyone who reads it will love it.
    Read the entire review here…

  10. Dawnks09

    Review from OnlineBookClub.org
    I like the most about this book is how it can bring a catharsis to any reader. Hiram accomplishes a great way to involve the readers from his behavior, actions, and experiences. He can encourage the readers to discourage by making things complicated. The story is professionally edited and well-written. It hits the emotional quotient of the reader, and it maintains the connection between the characters and the reader.
    I rate McDowell 4 out of 4 stars. The clear description of the customs, culture, and tradition of some places was also emphasized by the author. I would highly endorse this for those people who love character-based story, suspense and self-discovery books. It hits the emotional quotient of the reader, and it maintains the connection between the characters and the reader. It helps us to see that the true redemption is seized when you accept the future consequences for your past mistakes.
    Read the entire review here…

  11. lucie_paul

    Review from OnlineBookClub.org
    What I liked about this book is that we are taught the good morals of caring for others, being kind-hearted and selflessness. Character development and both feelings and thoughts were nicely expressed by the author and the story flowed very well.
    Considering that McDowell is full of mature content, I would recommend this book to adults who love fiction novels. The book was professionally edited though I noticed some important scenes were very brief and needed more content. The book has so many characters that the names can be easily forgotten. Otherwise, I found this book to be very interesting, enjoyable and kept me wanting more. With that said I rate McDowell 4 out of 4 stars.
    Read the entire review here…

  12. Sanashiii

    Review from OnlineBookClub.org
    I rated this book 4 out of 4 stars. The prologue is intriguing in my opinion and the plot is so good to be rated. The characters have their own unique lines, I can feel their variations from one another. The conversations are well written. I was really hyped reading this until the last part. No shortcomings and hanging parts as I read through it. And surprisingly, I did not found any errors.
    I recommend this book for everyone! We all need to know what are the consequences of our actions. This novel is filled with lessons that we can apply in our daily life. It has its own set of characters, amazing plot lines that will surely be useful for us, to improve ourselves. Be sure to check this one out, it has a message that will surely open your eyes.
    Read the entire review here…

  13. Shilpa Paul

    Review from OnlineBookClub.org
    The book is thought-provoking. It will force you to reflect if you admire or hate the protagonist. There are circumstances where one is bound to analyze if the actions of Hiram were appropriate, considering both emotional fronts and complexity of the situation; was there any other way out? For e.g. abandoning his ailing companion at the Himalayan mountain ranges. Emotionally one would find it heartless to abandon a friend behind. But considering the adverse and unfavorable climatic condition, he must have realized there is no possibility of saving his friend and decided to save himself. Being a doctor, he must have accessed the situation.
    I will rate the book 4 out of 4 stars. It was a pleasure to read the book and has no errors. I will recommend it to all readers who enjoy a good read.
    Read the entire review here…

  14. wairimu1

    Review from OnlineBookClub.org
    McDowell is a story full of life lessons for the reader, it holds up a distant mirror to anyone who has anything in common with the protagonist. He is ambitious, professionally driven and doesn’t care too much about people. It’s a shame that McDowell is so familiar, many successful professionals don’t seem to care about people either. Can their kind be redeemed? You’ll just have to read to find out.
    I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars, I found no grammatical errors and the book is very well edited. The narrative moves at a fast pace without overlooking any important aspects of the story. I was particularly impressed by the author’s depiction of McDowell’s transformation. I started out feeling one way about him but ended up changing my mind by the time I turned the last page of this book.
    Read the entire review here…

  15. serendipity 27

    Review from OnlineBookClub.org
    William H. Coles’ novel, McDowell, is a character-based fiction about one man’s journey of self-discovery. Coles offers up a stirring novel about human nature and morality. This was an unforgettable novel and one that makes the reader think long after the last page has been read.
    I rate this novel 4 out of 4 stars. Coles creates a complex tale about a man who made mistakes but wasn’t evil. McDowell’s life was a study of someone who was judged harshly by the media. He strove to get his story out there despite journalists trying to spin the narrative of his life. The author showcases how Hiram becomes someone who is capable of more than the sum of his professional career. I would recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys good drama and plot twists. The ending surprised me. I would caution those who are sensitive to topics such as suicide or abuse. There was nothing that I disliked about the novel and I did not see any major grammatical errors. I highly recommend this compelling novel.
    Read the entire review here…

  16. Loveli

    Review from OnlineBookClub.org
    This novel is a gripping and moving story that explores human character, as well as one’s ability to criticize yourself if needed. It also examines what drives human actions, thoughts and ideas. McDowell is a horrible person when we first meet him; lies, cheating and deception are all part of the game for him to get to the top. You find yourself asking: ‘Why does he do things this way?’ Whilst he does not experience a miraculous transformation, he does learn powerful lessons and eventually discovers the real purpose of life.?
    rate McDowell 4 out of 4 stars. I recommend it to anyone who is looking for a book that explores human flaws and ideals. As I previously mentioned, fans of literary fiction will particularly enjoy this novel.
    Read the entire review here…

  17. oncemoredorothy

    Review from OnlineBookClub.org
    One of the reasons why I have come to enjoy this book was Hiram’s character development. From a man who thought he had no fault and believed fate was cruel to him; he transcended into someone who realized his faults and was willing to improve his ways. He showed kindness to the people he encountered and worked as hard as he can to earn money. His character also showed his love for the arts and nature. McDowell really redeemed himself in the second half of the book. Another reason was that the story didn’t solely focus on Hiram’s journey but the people who were involved. We get to see the situation of the other characters even if Hiram was reconstructing his new life in the second half.
    Read the entire review here…

  18. Sahar Majid

    Review from OnlineBookClub.org
    This novel is very impressive with its premise, writing, and characters. The plot is utterly gripping, and the writing style is just as captivating in its simplicity. The latter, I found, was very important given how complicated the narrative gets at times, and adds a good balance to the novel in its entirety. Coles also employs this one method where he almost casually states shocking progressions in the novel. This makes the reader curious enough to continue reading. The characters were also absolutely fascinating, and one of the things I loved most about this novel is that it took the time out to provide an intimate look into the lives of each, and every single one. This made it a lot more enjoyable when they mingled and combined to affect the life of Hiram McDowell. The character revelation and development, not just of Hiram but everyone around him, is very realistic and well-done with no situation or character seeming unnecessary or out-of-place.
    I will give McDowell by William H. Coles a well-deserved 4 out of 4 stars. I have no complaints whatsoever. It was professionally edited, and a delight to read.
    Read the entire review here…

  19. Ma Cheryll

    Review from OnlineBookClub.org
    I find the author very skillful as he successfully made his way through controversial topics such adultery and elicit affairs, dysfunctional family relationships, juvenile delinquency, conspiracy and corruption. Problems that our society face nowadays. I love the parallelism he showed, putting a sense of truthfulness in the story. Most of all, I love that it opens a way to redemption, how God can make a way through those people in our lives, for us to change for the better. Last but not the least, I appreciate the way the author made use of a narrative style of writing, where readers are ushered into the next scene, providing no lull in the story. The illustrations preceding the parts of the book gives readers a peak of what the proceeding chapter was about.
    Read the entire review here…

  20. Kibetious

    Review from OnlineBookClub.org
    I enjoyed reading this book. I was challenged by a question that seemed to provoke the genuine intention behind philanthropic efforts. The question was, ‘How many times a day do we do things for others that are really for our own pleasure and advancement?’This is what I believe can be applied before anyone does anything whose outward appearance is to benefit others. I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. The book was professionally edited. I recommend it to those who like fiction stories. It will appeal most to readers who love adventures and stories dealing with thought-provoking subjects.
    Read the entire review here…

  21. Rosebella

    Review from OnlineBookClub.org
    McDowell is a story of about life and transformation. I think the great lesson in this book is that we are all capable of change. It is always a question of what factors are needed to start the ball rolling. This reconditioning is not easy. Hiram is a man twisted up in anger until he begins to meet people who show him a new perspective on life. As a character, he is brought out so well. An arrogant man who elicits feelings of loathing from the reader. From early in the book, Hiram is incapable of putting others before himself. As the story unravels, he becomes a man capable of risking his freedom to save someone else. This is a truly incredible story that is well paced. Despite the constant scene changes at the beginning, the storyline was easy to follow. The author does a great job in character development. I could connect with the main, as well as the minor characters. None of the characters felt like a prop. They all played a part in the overall development of the story.
    Read the entire review here…

  22. capricornius16

    Review from OnlineBookClub.org
    William H. Coles has woven such an intricate tale that would elicit a whole range of emotions from many of its readers. I sometimes get angered by Hiram’s indifference and standoffish behavior towards the people around him, and there are times I would feel joy, pain, and anguish for Ann, Sophie, or Billie. I love the depth of the characters populating the book because they’re not just simply black or white, but characters that have their good sides and bad sides as well, same as you and me. There’s also the genius of the storytelling here that though I first deplored everything Hiram did and represented, I gradually grew to understand and like him towards the end. It’s really a character-driven narrative that a lot of readers will appreciate.
    All in all, McDowell is such a surprising and excellent read for me, and I highly recommend it to people looking for something with a bit more meat in the story and characters that are very much relatable. I give this book 4 out of 4 stars.
    Read the entire review here…

  23. Theresam

    Review from OnlineBookClub.org
    McDowell is a compelling story about moral and ethical values. The story touches upon important topics, including gun control, mass shootings, suicide, euthanasia and redemption. The characters are complex and realistic. The book is well-written and difficult to put down. I would recommend this book to anyone that enjoys epic novels, strong characters and philosophical discussions. The author creates a powerful character in Hiram McDowell and takes him through an epic journey. I give this book 4 out of 4 stars for the complexity of the story and the strength of the characters.
    Read the entire review here…

  24. Nephyz+254

    Review from OnlineBookClub.org
    I must confess that this is one of the best novels I have read so far this year. I liked the writing style of William H. Coles. I smiled, I laughed and frowned at times. To me, this novel was a page-turner. The book is full of twists and turns that will make you read until very late hours in the night. The characters are well developed and nicely introduced in away not to cause confusion to the reader. Some of the characters like Paige Sterling, Ann, Sophie, and Max Rojas are hard to forget. Most of the characters were real and engaging.
    Read the entire review here…

  25. Susan Keefe, Midwest Book Review

    Oh how the mighty fall…

    Multiple award willing literary fiction author William H. Coles has used his life experiences in the worlds of medicine, music, and writing to create this unforgettable thriller filled with mystery and suspense. Creator of storyinliteraryfiction.com a resources website for the authors, illustrators and readers, William Cole lives and writes in Salt Lake City, Utah.
    The stories main character Hiram McDowell is a respected surgeon, set on a glorious path to success. However, like many before him, whilst travelling on his meteoric rise to greatness Hiram has no compunction in leaving in his wake the lesser beings (in his opinion), who for a short while have entered his life, fulfilled their roles as wives, sponsors and allies in his rise to fame. An arrogant and self-centred globetrotting celebrity, used to being the centre of attention, he is calculating, ambitious, and domineering towards his children. Highly regarded and used to basking in praised for his good works, he has grown to consider himself invincible, spending his time indulging in his great loves of mountain climbing, music and captivating beautiful women for sex.
    Throughout the story it is clear how controlling he is towards his children, yet how much he supports and protects them. However, when as a result of a terrible event his grandson Jeremy is left on life support he takes control to a new level when decides to take things in his own hands, and as a result is accused of an horrendous crime, and given a prison sentence.
    Life changing events do just that, and at this point in the story, the character we know as Hiram changes beyond recognition, as he escapes from prison and becomes a fugitive on the run. Crossing America, living inconspicuously in quiet locations, he evolves into someone totally different, kind and caring, with empathy for those whose lives cross his, everything is documented in his biography, but will it ever be published?
    Can we escape our past decisions in life, or are they destined forever to define us? This is the question I found myself asking at the end of this absorbing book. Hiram’s character captured my rapt attention from the very first page because of a myriad of reasons, fascination being just one of them. With a totally unexpected end, this story is packed full of mystery and suspense and is one of the best I have ever read.

  26. Supergirl1

    Review from OnlineBookClub.org
    McDowell is a timeless story of life, told from every angle. The protagonist does not see himself as a bad guy. He just has no time for sentiment or emotion. To his family, he is hardly anyone but the guy that provides them with cash. To many of his colleagues, he is nothing but an over-ambitious fellow. And to society, he is the charming doctor with a golden heart. This book gives a realistic reflection on human perception and its shortcomings.
    This is a book I think everyone will enjoy and benefit from. It’s a little difficult for me to recommend it to a specific group. However, if you love crime and family related stories, you should get yourself a copy to read. It has been professionally edited, and I found no grammar errors. McDowell deserves 4 out of 4 stars and gets it from me.
    Read the entire review here…

  27. sonya01

    Review from OnlineBookClub.org
    I highly recommend this book to any reader who likes powerful character development and plenty of food for thought. McDowell’s story will take you on a journey full of twists and turns, both good and bad. When you turn the final page, you’ll feel sad and satisfied all at once, and strangely wanting more.
    I finished McDowell with the feeling that, if it were at all possible to get hold of Hiram’s completed memoirs, I would be very interested to read them. Seldom have I come across such a complex and multi-faceted character as this, and I feel he would make a fascinating case-study for any psychologist. Only once adversity had stripped him of everything did the real person emerge and redeem himself in one final act of altruism. And hopefully, that’s how we will remember Hiram McDowell.
    I would unreservedly give McDowell a rating of 4 out of 4 stars and look forward to many more books by this talented writer.
    Read the entire review here…

  28. Sirajuddin

    Review from OnlineBookClub.org
    McDowell by William H. Coles is a fictional story of a surgeon who is eager to climb the ladder of success by hook or crook. And he is a passionate climber, and his expertise in climbing and surviving in the harsh climate is remarkable. His ambitions are high, and he can go to any extent to achieve them. He becomes the president of the International College of Surgeons, and by exercising this new authority, he wants to improve healthcare and education. But in his pursuit of achieving success, he forgets ethics, and empathy for others and pays the price for it.
    I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars, because I didn’t spot any typos or grammatical errors, and the presentation of the book is very professional. I enjoyed reading this great piece of fiction, and to a greater extent, this novel is interesting and engaging.
    Read the entire review here…

  29. DorcasToo

    Review from OnlineBookClub.org
    William H. Cole has once more written an epic book. I have read several of his books, and I have always enjoyed as I kept turning the pages. The storyline is captivating if you enjoy reading medical genres. This book is about the struggles of a surgeon as he balances between his family, career and being a good citizen. A book on redemption, coming back to say and finding redemption. The author manages to bring out both a dark and the light side of McDowell, as, he balances both sides.
    McDowell has an epic writing style considering this is a fictional book; but, has to have some facts in it because of its background in medicine. There are no medical jargons used as there is no use of heavy vocabulary that will keep the reader using a dictionary. Also, there were very few errors in the book, making the story smooth. The one moral lesson from the book is that don’t judge a book by its cover. Everyone is set to make Hiram as the villain at the beginning, but, as we reach the end the perspective is a different one.
    Therefore, I rate this book a 4 out of 4 stars. I found the book written well and edited professionally. I would recommend it all lovers of Medical Thrillers.
    Read the entire review here…

  30. jedreid

    Review from OnlineBookClub.org
    I was so hooked with the plot it was really a struggle to put down this book once I get started especially when one by one, each well-developed character was introduced in the story and had come to be an important part of a whole. As I read, I was able to feel with the characters and was filled with different emotions like happiness, sadness, anger, hate and love. Though I didn’t think I will hate and love a character as much as I do with Hiram. He confused me sometimes with his actions as one moment he’s being crude and then an unorthodox but still loving father the next. He made me pause and think and that made him a truly remarkable character, someone I will surely remember for a very long time.
    I love the psychological aspect of this novel as it was challenging to think and understand the characters’, specifically Hiram’s actions, reasons and motivations. Furthermore, I love how politics in healthcare and journalism were explored through the story, how there were also citing of sexism or the corrupt practices in some philanthropic foundations. Though it was so sad to realize, that yes, those circumstances were actually happening in real life.
    I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars because it was well-written and I didn’t find anything to dislike about it. It was also thought-provoking, thus, I highly recommend this to everyone but most especially to those who love crime and psychological stories.
    Read the entire review here…

  31. amandathebibliophile

    Review from OnlineBookClub.org
    This complex and moving fiction story will definitely beg the reader to marvel at the human capacity to survive despite extremely challenging odds. It also does a great job of highlighting the drastic impact that people’s choices can have on their relationships. Additionally, I found the sort of staccato writing style a very effective tool for describing scenes. I found myself really feeling along with the characters and seeing the scenes. A provocative and dark current ran throughout, but the writing style kept it strongly afloat for me, keeping me engaged and very moved.
    I resoundingly give this book 4 out of 4 stars and highly recommend it to many readers, but perhaps especially lovers of crime and mystery stories, as well as those who value analyzing human nature in fiction. Though quite mild, it’s noteworthy to mention for sensitive readers that a few scenes have sexual content. Additionally, McDowell was clearly professionally edited and I found no mistakes worth noting. This book is a great one for discussion!
    Read the entire review here…

  32. Bookmermaid

    Review from OnlineBookClub.org
    If ever there was a book that should not be judged by its cover, it is William H. Coles’, Mc Dowell. The demure portrait of a mature male figure on the cover is a stark contrast to the mountain climbing, womanizing and identity remaking encountered in the enigmatic character of Mc Dowell. Mc Dowell is a compelling, thought-provoking narrative that mediates on the philosophy of defeat, success, truth, misery, self-discovery, and identity.
    Coles action-packed narrative explores what occurs after the attaining of the American Dream. His characterization of a caring yet distant father and husband is epitomized in his eponymous protagonist Hiram McDowell a successful, ambitious, well-rounded surgeon who becomes the President of the International College of Surgeons in Denver among other accolades.
    Read the entire review here…

  33. cvetelina_yovcheva87

    Review from OnlineBookClub.org
    The novel is simply amazing. It deals with a lot of social issues. There are pages dedicated to the inferior roles of women in Eastern cultures. The novel also focuses on problems concerning gun possession and the education of children. My favorite part of the book is the one referring to Hiram’s change from an egoist to an altruist. It is really amazing to see how one can totally change his attitude toward the world.
    I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars because it is really great. I think that it is a suitable choice for all types of readers as there is love, passion, betrayal, and crime in it. Maybe only the science-fiction lovers will not find it grabbing. I really adore the book and, if I have a chance, I will read other books by William H. Coles. His knowledge of the human soul is striking.
    Read the entire review here…

  34. Ctcntry4

    Review from OnlineBookClub.org
    I soundly rate McDowell 4 out of 4 stars. This book naturally gives the reader plenty to think about and allows them the chance to decide how they feel about Hiram McDowell. I would enthusiastically recommend this book to those anticipating a good coming of age story, and one that will deliver you plenty to think about in your own life. I think one of the best quotable lines was, “People content in themselves learn to give selflessly, without concern for personal gain, to learn the joy of being human. How many times a day do we do things for others that are really for our own pleasure and advancement?”
    Read the entire review here…

  35. Noeld150

    Review from OnlineBookClub.org
    This novel grew on me slowly until I finished the first half of the book. That is when some moral, ethical and spiritual values came into play. The characters then seemed to appear stronger and more believable. You were hoping for Hiram to find a way out of his situation. This is the kind of book that leaves you thinking. The storyline is great, and the personal growth of the main character is inspiring. I enjoyed traveling all over the United States with Hiram and sharing each of his adventures with the people he met and helped.
    The story is well-written, and the many characters are strong. It is emotional and thought-provoking. I would recommend this book to adult readers. It is an easy read, and it does have some unexpected twists. Just about every emotion known to man seems to appear in this novel. I rated this book a 4 out of 4 stars and look forward to reading more books by William Coles.
    Read the entire review here…

  36. Samisah

    Review from OnlineBookClub.org
    McDowell is a work of fiction written by William H. Coles. This book is a powerful one. The subtle messages passed across by the author are the same issues ravaging our homes and societies today. Messages of poverty, love, gun control, dysfunctional homes, selfishness and so many others.
    I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. This is due to the many messages and simple language Mr. Coles employed. I think the world needs to hear more and more of this issues, only then will we be willing to face it and resolve them. I would not hesitate to recommend this book to youths, families and anyone who feels he or she needs to rediscover themselves again.
    Read the entire review here…

  37. SomaKenya

    Review from OnlineBookClub.org
    What I loved most about the book is Cole’s wrought writing style; very detailed descriptions, of people, events, places and emotions to mention a few . Also, the introduction of each chapter with a title of which character the chapter is about, the italicized writing to explain a character’s thought process, the thought out introduction of characters among other detailed attributes in the book.
    It is a book that sends the mind to think about what is core in life; why we exist. The book brings out through McDowell’s life that,’ Human brains evolve but remain primitive in the hunter-gatherer stage; realms of pain and pleasure remain the same’ as seen through McDowell’s sharply contrasted life as brought out by Coles in the first and second part of the book; at first lavish life then his fall from grace.
    Read the entire review here…

  38. Joshua Ogutu

    Review from OnlineBookClub.org
    McDowell is a story that is packed with enough episodes to thrill its audience. This story has lessons that teach us on hospitality. It also trains us on the importance of being humble and kind to others. The story incorporates several episodes that are capable of stirring emotions of reader. Conflict is the fuel that propels the plot of McDowell to great heights and I loved how the author strongly develops this theme making it one of the pillars that supports this story. The elegant narration is capable of having you captivated as you read this story.
    William H. Cole develops this story into a character-driven story and I loved how he fully utilizes his characters in this story. No character is merely created as an instrument to be used in the development of the plot. All characters have a role to play in taking McDowell to the next level. I loved how this story comes to an end in a way that will astonish the readers. This surprise ending gave me authority to declare McDowell a pragmatic book that most if all not readers will like to identify with.
    Read the entire review here…

  39. NicholetH

    Review from OnlineBookClub.org
    This book really peaked my curiosity and kept me reading to find out how it will all turn out for McDowell. The plot was very well thought out. The chapters with different characters in always had a connection to McDowell and flowed well. I could not find any grammatical errors which was very refreshing.
    I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. I appreciate the author’s skill in writing. It was not a type of book that I normally enjoy reading, but this was worth reading. McDowell was a very interesting read. I recommend this book to any adult who enjoys drama and seeing selfish heroes come to a fall and to those who enjoy good fiction. If you are someone who gets easily offended by rude and selfish people then this book would be a bit much. I would like to congratulate the author on a very well written book.
    Read the entire review here…

  40. Kister Bless

    Review from OnlineBookClub.org
    The book is inspiring and heartbreaking at the same time. It portrays real life situations that happens in our lives on daily basis. McDowell deals with the realities of devastation that can occur in the lives of the people we love because of our own self-promotion and egocentrism. It also portrays social issues that are evident in our lives today for instance assisted suicide and the power of the press. The message in the book has the ability to change us in a positive way. McDowell plays a great role in our lives in that from it we learn that we should not let material desire rule us to a point of destruction. Like in the book, Hiram is a kind of a person who lets material desire rule to a point of destruction. Even though how he reacts to the destruction is just amazing and unique.
    I rate McDowell 4 out of 4 stars because it was such an interesting and peculiar novel in that it was written in a different way from what most of us are used to. The book also had a great plot and was engaging too. I would recommend this book to those who love great self-redemption stories rich in complex characters. It won’t disappoint.
    Read the entire review here…

  41. ShailaSheshadri

    Review from OnlineBookClub.org
    Not even at a single point, I felt the story boring. It was indeed suspenseful and captivating. It is the beauty of William Coles’s writing. He keeps the reader engaged throughout and urges the reader to think and feel for the characters. At many points in the novel, you will predict some conclusion, but the story mostly turns in a different way. This plot is extremely unpredictable. The story made me stick to the book. I felt cheerful, furious, and emotional at times while reading. This fictional tale kindles many questions on the importance of upbringing of children and bondage in the family. This novel caused me to reflect on how a person alters his lifestyle to befit himself to a completely different situation and how he tries to protect his life.
    Read the entire review here…

  42. Davinasmith18

    Review from OnlineBookClub.org
    The book had a great storyline that covered a variety of controversial issues. I discovered an underlying idea that there are power and purpose in self-discovery and introspection, but I thought there an equally strong message regarding humans as social beings and the importance of social relationships. At one point McDowell believed he was a loner and found energy in isolation, yet a time came when he lost his tolerance for being alone, and he yearned for human contact. It is ironic that at times Hiram depicted people as a source of extreme conflict in his life, but at the same time, he demonstrated his need for people to maintain his sanity.
    I did not want to put this book down. Throughout the story, the drama evoked a range of emotions, including love, disgust, compassion, anger, and confusion. I recommend this book for anyone who enjoys the intellectual challenge of trying to understand the decisions and behaviors of humans. This book is appropriate for adult readers. I enjoyed this book immensely, so I rated the book a 4 out of 4 stars.
    Read the entire review here…

  43. Charlyt

    Review from OnlineBookClub.org
    The story is very thought provoking, making you think what your life had done to others without you being conscious of it. The points of view shift from one person to another after some chapters but they are very well done. The narrative is very fluid, and it does not confuse the reader. The characters are realistic and it is easy to be sympathetic towards them. Hiram, being the protagonist, is a character so complex that you wouldn’t know whether to like him or hate him. And I believe that is where the expertize in writing can be seen.
    Read the entire review here…

  44. fernsmom

    Review from OnlineBookClub.org
    I had previously read The Surgeon’s Wife by William H. Cole, so I had not only been excited to read another book by this same author, I had also felt I knew the type of doctor the main character would be. I couldn’t be further from the truth. The main characters in these two books are very different and other than perhaps the writing style, I wouldn’t have known McDowell was by the same author. It reminds me of when you watch a move who an actor portrays a villain where you are used to seeing them as the hero. It takes a little time to get used to, plus it is surprising and a credit to the actor if they do well at both parts. The same with McDowell, the author can write about any character I believe now, and make it in an entertaining book.
    I felt so many emotions in this book, mainly aimed at Hiram, but occasionally some other characters. I’m recommending this book to readers who enjoy books that are professionally edited with plenty of in-depth characters, and who like a believable story that is entertaining. This was an easy one for me to rate; this book deserves the rating of 4 out of 4 stars. Is this author the next Robin Cook? Yes, the thought crossed my mind, so I had to check, and yes, he is a surgeon. I look forward to reading another book from this author.

    Read the entire review here…

  45. Ayisha M Ashruf

    Review from OnlineBookClub.org
    McDowell by William H. Coles proved to be a worthy read. The story is centred around Dr. Hiram McDowell, a wealthy surgeon at the peak of his career who cares for no one but himself. His callous behavior and lack of morality angers several people who vow to see him fall from grace. What happens as his world of privilege collapses around him forms the rest of the story.
    What I loved the best is how each character is detailed. There is more story to each of the characters. I, for one, would love to read Sophie’s story. I also loved how McDowell evolves as the story progresses and the reader learns to care for him. This is an amazing book. It is well written and I loved reading it. I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars.
    Read the entire review here…

  46. San Francisco Review of Books

    Review from San Francisco Review of Books
    “The motives and means of McDowell’s death will always be front page interest”
    Utah author William H. Coles, MD is a retired Ophthalmologist whose medical career was internationally lauded for his expertise as an ophthalmic surgeon specializing in ocular injury repair and reconstruction, a professor and chairman at SUNY Buffalo School of Medicine, a Regent for The American College of Surgeons, president of the Association of University Professors in Ophthalmology, and lecturer on mechanistic biologic ophthalmic research and ophthalmic surgery internationally. Preparing for his career as a literary fiction writer Coles studied in more than 100 courses and workshops with more than seventy-five authors, editors, and teachers and created storyinliteraryfiction.com, a website with resources for fiction writers, illustrators, and avid fiction readers. He has published ten books – five novels, collections of short fiction and three books on the writing of fiction stories. He has also garnered honors for his participation in the arts – jazz piano, antique art, museums, and historic preservation.
    After reading MCDOWELL and absorbing this consummate novel of the rise and fall of one man’s existence, read the book again – this time to bask in the brilliant prose and, yes, poetry, written by an author whose name should be on every list of significant contemporary writers. William H. Coles blends his depth of knowledge about medicine with his extraordinary sensitivity to philosophy and the true meaning of life as it can be lived, abused, fractured, and redeemed – all in the story of one Hiram McDowell.
    Read the entire review here

  47. selfpublishingreview.com

    In McDowell, tragedy and consequence lead an arrogant and narcissistic Dr. Hiram McDowell to examine his life and search for life’s meaning beyond winning and possessions.
    Hiram is first glimpsed leaving his Mt. Everest climbing partner to die. If that’s not enough to establish his unreliability, he goes on to belittle his wife, trick a colleague and ignore his children. Hiram’s the quintessential egoist surgeon: busy, belligerent, brilliant, and self-absorbed.
    Author William H. Coles paints a damning picture of the selfish Dr. McDowell. Married for the third time to Carole, he barely acknowledges her and openly cheats on her, and he belittles her daughters. Hiram’s hospital charity in Nepal serves a dual purpose: it delivers health care to the local population, but it also serves as a base for Hiram’s climbs of Everest and other peaks. He gives out his self-promoting ghostwritten biography at a fancy fundraiser for the Nepal hospital. By the middle of the book, Hiram’s character becomes so unlikable, a reader might ask: where’s this going?
    The answer is exhilarating. Coles’ uneven, somewhat jumpy but important set-up in the first half of the book pays off profoundly in the second. Jumps that mysteriously gave depth to minor characters finally become understood. Now, Hiram’s on the run, escaped from prison after a heartbreaking series of events. With intelligence, discipline, and his skills from climbing the world’s backcountry peaks, Hiram eludes the law.
    Coles takes the novel in a fascinating direction, where McDowell becomes a work of redemption and reflection, with all the nuances expected from a complicated character. Stripped of his money and his power, Hiram first becomes bitter, intent on revenge for being wronged, but slowly, as he evades the law with the help of people he meets and befriends while traveling the country, Hiram eventually finds self-awareness.
    Reflection comes through writing his memoir, which is first meant to bring redemption and prove his former life was justified. But after meeting a taciturn bookseller in rural Montana, Hiram begins to reflect on his life’s decisions. He begins to ease into friendship with Maud and her family. He helps others and accepts their kindnesses in return.
    While the first half of the novel is a study of an unpleasant character, Coles creates a page-turner in the second half of the book. A journalist and private detective are on Hiram’s trail. There are taut scenes where Hiram looks to be caught but escapes to travel to a new town. With each new person Hiram meets, Coles allows a natural introspection to emerge from these new friendships. It’s a surprising change of direction, but one that works very well. Rather than seeming like disparate halves to different books, the second half justifies the first and brings the story together. The dialogue is honest and raw, and Coles’ writing gives resonance to each encounter.
    Real life characters like Hiram rarely pause and self-reflect, even when tragedy strikes. Coles crafts McDowell in such a manner that readers end up rooting for a character who was initially fairly loathsome. A thrilling story of redemption, McDowell succeeds with sharp writing, a great story and well-crafted characters.

  48. jenjayfromSA

    Review from OnlineBookClub.org
    Ultimately, we can only know another human being by what he says and does.
    That is exactly what author William H Coles gives us in McDowell; an objective examination of a man as seen from different angles – wife, children, co-workers, colleagues, friends, media and the ever-judging public with its own agenda. They surround him like a circle of spotlights flashing on and off. I found this approach challenging and refreshing. The facts are presented, and the reader is left to draw his own conclusions according to his own standards.
    This was a drama that made me ponder on the big questions of life and meaning, something I always cherish, while telling a vivid and nuanced story. I recommend McDowell to readers who are interested in character and motivation in a story which is probably best categorised as Other Fiction. I give this 4 out of 4 stars.
    Read the entire review here…

  49. chelhack

    Review from OnlineBookClub.org
    I enjoyed reading this book. It grabbed my attention from the prologue and held it captive the rest of the way through the book. I also believe that there is also a hidden lesson in this book. It personally made me think about all of the things that I not so much as take for granted but look over and or do not show my appreciation for all of the time. I like that this book did make me feel a lot of emotions which means to me that this is something that I felt deep within my being.
    I give this novel McDowell a 4 out of 4-star rating. I gave it this rating because there were little to no errors that I caught while reading this book. I really enjoyed this book and I would not give it any lower of a rate because as I previously mentioned that I believe that there is a lesson within the contents of this novel.
    Read the entire review here…

  50. Lhisa

    Review from OnlineBookClub.org
    The setting of the book was in multiple states of the US due to the travels of Hiram especially in part two, and Kathmandu, Nepal. The setting of the book worked well with the strong dramatic plot that was fast paced but smooth, keeping the reader intrigued and guessing at what may happen next until the very last page of the book. You literally feel as if you had no idea what he will throw at you next, something i particularly liked about it and due to this and the fact that there were few errors in the book, i rate it 4 out of 4 stars which i believe it earned.
    The way that Coles showed the direct and indirect effect that Hiram had on all the characters in the book up until his death was something that i liked due to the realism of the idea. I loved that Cole showed the growth and development of Hiram’s children once they were able to let go and come out from his shadow. This is especially so for Billie and Sophie.
    I recommend this book to those who are looking for something that will intrigue you from beginning to end, i can guarantee that thus book will not disappoint. I recommend it for readers who like to delve into the mysteries of the mind and are willing to deal with the harsh realities represented within which are sadly still a part of our reality.

    Read the entire review here…

  51. Harzelryan

    Review from OnlineBookClub.org
    This novel is delightful, fun, and interesting fictional tale which can keep you glued to your seat turning the pages due to the curiosity of how his struggle will pan out. The novel has a very well mapped plot with much better pacing. The author did a splendid job in introducing characters and well-connected subplots which work as a support to the main story of Hiram’s journey. The author brought out a question on human capability when life turns out contrary to the expectations.
    The book was professionally edited since I found no grammatical errors. It has a nice flow, but it has one weakness where it is difficult to figure out the time differences between some scenarios. The story is appealing to a variety of readers especially those who are intrigued by the study of human nature through fiction, love, and crime, and mystery stories.
    I will conclude by offering this book a rating of 4 out of 4 stars. This is due to its well-plotted setting, and it is adventurous and filled with suspense together with reasons stated earlier.
    Read the entire review here…

  52. Ra1972

    Review from OnlineBookClub.org
    I thoroughly enjoyed the character development of McDowell. William H. Coles very expertly made this character come alive for us. Through powerful dialogues and intriguing plot the reader ends up holding their breath for what will happen next. The catharsis of McDowell redeems his character which makes the reader sympathize with him in the end. We see McDowell’s spiritual transformation when we see him tread the path of the downtrodden. These people are despised and held in contempt by McDowell earlier on in the book. This book gives a message of love and giving.
    Read the entire review here…

  53. KitabuKizuri

    Review from OnlineBookClub.org
    This book is great for those who like works of fiction which most likely will have one reading again just to allow the story to sink and for some reflection. I recommend it to them. The nature of the story will leave the reader questioning the morally acceptable choices we ought to make during critical life and death moments of people who fall under our care. To some extent, such moments in the book may not be for the faint of heart. The role and effect of media on society is also explored in the book. Other themes of interest may stand out to the reader as they read through the book.
    I rate the book with 4 out of 4 stars. There were hardly any grammatical or spelling errors except for deliberate alteration to mimic the manner of speech of various characters. There aren’t many offensive moments in the book, so any grown person can read it without a problem. It may not be good for a young audience though. Like I hinted in the previous paragraphs, this book won’t be one to forget for a long time.
    Read the entire review here…

  54. Julez

    Review from OnlineBookClub.org
    I believe the appealing quality of this book is its closeness to reality. You read and can actually relate with an event or a character’s emotion. Billie was passionate about music and drumming until he discovered his real gift. Sometimes in life, you may think you have it all figured out until an unexpected step takes you in the direction you were meant to go. At another point during the course of reading, I felt like giving Ann’s character a good shaking due to her anxieties and how it was affecting the children. Later on, I got to discover the origin of her issues and realized that in real life, we have judged a lot of folks without making an effort to make their lives better or discover what actually ails them.
    If you are in search of a good realist novel to curl up with, then I recommend this one for you. I rate it a 4 out of 4 stars. It has a wonderful plot, well-developed characters and can also be read by young adults who could pick some vital lessons from it.
    Read the entire review here…

  55. acremer

    Review from OnlineBookClub.org
    As you read this book, you begin to develop several questions. Is it possible to be forgiven for terrible crimes? Is it possible for someone who has lived the majority of their life with no remorse to change? And finally, does Hiram McDowell really deserve everything he gets, or is he treated unjustly because of who he is?
    This book was a different genre than I would normally read, however, I absolutely loved it. This book had me questioning how I felt the entire time I read it. The book had no qualities that I didn’t appreciate.
    I would give this book a 4 out of 4 stars. It was a very enjoyable read. I thought that the book was cleverly written, edited professionally, and contained no mistakes. The story line grips you and doesn’t let go until the very end. This book will make you feel so many emotions.
    Read the entire review here…

  56. Littlecandle

    Review from OnlineBookClub.org
    McDowell somehow sends us a message. It tells us to be open-minded and considerate with the persons around us. Oftentimes, we tend to be opinionated particularly if we see a pattern of wrongdoings in others. McDowell teaches us to be objective in looking at things and circumstances. For we, too, are not perfect. We do not and cannot know what’s running in someone else’s head and how the circumstances affect his inner being. After all, at the end of the day, life is not all about being on top or bottom, fame and glory. It’s about knowing – or rediscovering – who you are.
    William Coles is one author whose works are worth reading. In fact, I look forward to reading his other books. I recommend McDowell to any age group. Beginner writers can learn a lot from Coles’ style.
    Read the entire review here…

  57. daydreaming reader

    Review from OnlineBookClub.org
    The plot is intriguing, and the writing flows smoothly. The author interweaves various topics in such a manner that it is not confusing. None of the issues overshadows each other. For instance, one of the themes is mental illness. One of Hiram’s daughters suffers from anxiety. Due to the events that unfold in her family, her condition worsens.
    I am not sure how I feel about Hiram’s character development. Sometimes, it is as though he is on the edge of some fantastic self-discovery. Other times, not so much. I felt as though there was little emphasis on Hiram’s change. Of course, in the grand scheme of things, the book was not just about Hiram, but also about how his actions affected the lives of others.
    Read the entire review here…

  58. KMSingh

    Review from OnlineBookClub.org
    I give the book 4 out of 4 stars. The style of Cole’s writing is reminiscent of Flannery O’Connor, clean and spare with moments of great beauty. There were scenes in the second half of the book (especially the section set in New Orleans) that were lyrical and conveyed McDowell’s progress on his journey. It isn’t a satisfying book to read. I think that would defeat its purpose, which is to open the reader to meditate about life and what it all means.
    McDowell is one of those books that is hard to classify. It will appeal to those who enjoy literary fiction, especially fans of Flannery O’Connor. And yet, I recommend it to anyone interested in the workings of the human heart. We don’t all climb Mt. Everest, but McDowell’s hopes and dreams are something we can all understand.
    Read the entire review here…

  59. T_stone

    Review from OnlineBookClub.org
    The life of the protagonist has forcible characters filled with a blemish, which at some stage, I had sympathy for. Hiram’s character has unlikeable traits, which changed through his walk to seek redemption. McDowell is a thought-provoking book that will leave readers with questions like “Can someone as pernicious as Hiram find redemption?”.
    The story is an interesting one which compromises of family, love, relationships, family feud, lack of parental guidance, greed, power, money and success. I like the writing style used by the author because it got me engaged immediately I started reading it. McDowell also talks about issues such as journalism, euthanasia, music, divorce, mental illness and the justice system of America.
    There was nothing I didn’t enjoy about this book. I didn’t find any errors in this book. It goes to show that it was professionally edited, therefore, I’ll give McDowell by William H. Coles a 4 out of 4 stars
    Read the entire review here…

  60. Values_and_standards

    Review from OnlineBookClub.org
    In McDowell, William H. Coles has presented a compelling story of atonement. The atoner is the titular character, Hiram McDowell, who is introduced to us as a gifted surgeon, a ruthless careerist, a shameless philanderer, and in general an amoral, nasty piece of work. His only redeeming feature is his love of his children. That aside, there is nothing to like about Hiram McDowell, and those who he has mistreated in the book will concur with the reader that he needs taking down a peg or two.
    Indeed, this is the initial hook of the story. McDowell is so narcissistic, callous and unlikeable that the reader will want to see him get his comeuppance. And when it comes, it is shattering for McDowell, and ultimately sobering. Stripped of his power and prestige, forced to go on the run from the law, he is forced to learn virtue while living as a poor fugitive. And this spiritual awakening sees the struggle of a deeply flawed man making an effort to become a better person.
    I have no hesitation in giving McDowell 4 out of 4 stars. Coles has provided a well-written and engrossing chronicle of how even the worst of us can improve with honest self-examination and genuine effort, and a story that can provide that is one that everyone can benefit from reading. In short, I recommend McDowell to everyone.
    Read the entire review here…

  61. oge123

    Review from OnlineBookClub.org
    The book produced mixed emotions. As I read, I developed anger, hatred and admiration for the character of Hiram, the protagonist, a multi-talented character. He was a surgeon, a musician and a mountain climber. The book is divided into two parts. The first part showed Hiram, a bad parent, an uncaring and difficult spouse, a selfish partner, a deceitful and manipulative leader and a murderer. It also presented Hiram’s rise to fame, the climax of his achievements and his undoing. The second part of the book showed the renegade Hiram, angry and embittered by his predicament and his assumed ill-treatment, still arrogant and struggling to survive against all odds with his revenge plans. All his negative attitudes towards life and people changed when he met Maud. His anger against the society dissipated and he aimed only to prove that he was unjustly condemned.
    I rate MacDowell 4 out of 4 stars because it is captivating, adventurous and filled with suspense and therefore, will appeal to individuals that love adventures and crime stories.
    Read the entire review here…

  62. Pappap12

    Review from OnlineBookClub.org
    I was captured by the scope of this book. Hiram and his daughter Sophie are extensive travelers worldwide and their separate searches for meaning in life take place on a grand stage of varied interests and circumstances throughout the book. Characters from all walks of life are presented, from the board room to the TV and publishing world, to the trailer park. These characters interact primarily with Hiram, but also with Sophie and Paige who are each in pursuit of their own happiness and fit in life, as they try to also determine how Hiram fits into their lives.
    The dialogue also was very realistic and satisfying and fit the characters persona. This was especially difficult given the variety of the characters needed to populate a novel of this size. Except for some of the characters toward the end of the story, which I address as dislikes below, you could easily imagine these people having these conversations with each other. In addition, the dramatic tension among the three main characters, and within each, made for a very satisfying novel.
    Read the entire review here…

  63. holaerjon

    Review from OnlineBookClub.org
    William H. Coles puts a lot of heart, time and effort into this story you the way it is written. I was experiencing the same emotions as what the characters were feeling. This was focused on ethical, moral, and personal themes. It was a truly original story. The changing plot forced the characters out of their comfort zone and into situations that challenged them. It is written in a very literary style that has good tension all the way through with great details. This book is both edgy and fun. There is an underlying message we can all relate to. It has substance and can make you a part of the authentic human experience.
    Read the entire review here…

  64. Clarion Review by Joseph S. Pete

    McDowell is an ambitious, often captivating character study.
    William H. Coles’s engaging novel McDowell is a story of hubris and personal transformation.
    Haughty doctor Hiram McDowell, a nominee for secretary of Health and Human Services whose recreational mountain climbing parallels his boundless professional ambition, is brought down abruptly and hard after his grandson goes on a killing spree. The wayward grandson ends up brain-dead after a failed suicide attempt; McDowell mercy-kills him, but the jury in his case does not buy his euthanasia defense. He is convicted of second-degree murder. He escapes prison, goes on the lam, and reinvents himself.
    At first, McDowell is a deeply flawed, arrogant, and unlikable character. Early on, he covets power, treats women poorly, is career-minded to the exclusion of almost all else, and leaves a fellow mountain climber for dead. He spews venom and is genuinely unsympathetic. Initially, his story is hard to engage. Then, circumstances reduce him to a wandering fugitive who must survive by his wits; this reads like a comeuppance of sorts. In many ways, McDowell becomes a stand-in for the human condition.
    The novel excels at character development, at least with its subject. Supporting characters—like the diligent, aging television journalist Paige Sterling—are constructed more as types, if some still have rich inner lives. The book avoids realism in a diverting way, as with its cartoonish depictions of media. Newsroom scenes defy credibility, embrace stereotypes, and insert pontifications into an otherwise artistic novel. Other fantastical elements work better, as when McDowell literally hides in a cave and has a pitched argument with a wise bookseller.
    The writing is sharp, with plenty of concrete details. The language is sophisticated but accessible, and the dialogue is authentic, especially in internal monologues that believably convey necessary information. Exposition dumps and crude arguments are an occasional distraction.
    McDowell’s reinvention coheres with secondary plotlines. Scenes in which McDowell is challenged or forced to reconsider the way he had been living are the strongest in the book. He starts writing his memoirs, learns to drum, travels around the country, and struggles to get by. Revelations don’t come easily; he grapples with anger and inner turmoil over his fall from grace. Never completely cured or redeemed, he worries about how others perceive him up until the very end. The ending is satisfying and true to life.
    McDowell is an ambitious, often captivating character study.

  65. Shellag

    Review from OnlineBookClub.org
    Coles has done an excellent job creating a character that is nuanced, likeable but self-serving. The type of person that is likely to turn up in professional life. He has insight into human character and the motivations that drive people to make poor or even shocking decisions. The book is full of villains, but for the most part they are not two-dimensional. Like the main character, many are driven by ambition and jealousy.
    Coles’ descriptions of places and people can be evocative, especially when they are not screened through the minds of some of his sexist characters. For example, when the main character ends up in a small Montana town, he describes the home of a resident so realistically it could have been my grandmother’s house.
    As the story progresses, the character begins to undergo transformation. Meanwhile, the main story is interwoven with subplots involving the family and professional contacts, while McDowell, even when absent can be seen having an impact on all those who knew him. The author is skilled at holding onto all the ends of the strings and weaving them together into a sometimes suspenseful whole.
    Read the entire review here…

  66. Anamika55

    Review from OnlineBookClub.org
    McDowell the book is a skeptical reminder of life’s inequalities. Hiram’s travels and clever planning to avoid being caught are illustrated very well. Hiram’s fall from grace and the sea change in his attitude to eke out a few pennies and get a decent meal and bed are sometimes very touching. The journeys of Hiram’s daughter Sophie and Paige the TV reporter as they struggle to make a career bring relief to the monotony of Hiram’s wanderings.
    William H. Coles is sometimes brunt, sometimes touching and down to earth in the portrayal of the various characters and pleasant descriptions of the places where Hiram travels. I rate McDowell the novel, 4 out of 4 stars for its realistic portrayal of the two unconnected periods in Hiram Mcdowell’s life. Men at some time are masters of their fate. Each is therefore made accountable for the choices they make and the outcome of these choices decide their life. This is well articulated and William H. Coles must be credited for that.
    Read the entire review here…

  67. Dmoney98

    Review from OnlineBookClub.org
    I loved how the author showed the reader that, in times, we make mistakes in our lives, yet we can be a better person through our action and service to others. McDowell met some amazing people in his travels and not only did he take something from them when he had to leave, but he also left a piece of himself for them. I also enjoyed how we are shown that even though rough cards were dealt to McDowell he made the most of them. He relied on only himself.
    Read the entire review here…

  68. mhextreme

    Review from OnlineBookClub.org
    The book is built on questions about McDowell. Some of the questions are answered and some of them aren’t. It’s a masterful story about how a person’s life it affected by things that happen to them throughout their life. Can a person affect their own life and the outcome? How much of your life is affected by what you do versus what the world does to you.
    I enjoyed most of the book. I was invested and couldn’t put the book down. I looked forward to getting to know McDowell and learning what happened to him.
    Read the entire review here…

  69. Troubadour1

    Review from OnlineBookClub.org
    This book brings up a hot topic and you get to look at both sides. You also get to see how life experiences can change a person. This book gets you thinking. You can decide for yourself if Hiram McDowell was truly an evil man or just a man that made some mistakes, but meant well. There is a dramatic plot with strong characters. The author did a great job writing the story around each character. The ending is a bit of a surprise. There is something about the format used that I didn’t always like, but it was a good read and I recommend it.
    Read the entire review here…

  70. grahase71

    Review from OnlineBookClub.org
    This book drew me in so well that after reading for a few hours I went to bed but couldn’t sleep; my mind a kaleidoscope of spinning thoughts and questions. I wanted to get back to reading rather than sleep. McDowell has something for every adult/young adult who just loves to read; encompasses a wealth of emotions—–I shivered on snow frozen peaks of the Himalayas and felt the pain and agony of the poverty-stricken villagers as they foraged for anything edible in the muck and slime of the local dumping ground. Although a work of fiction, this book has a very real storyline.
    Read the entire review here…

  71. Wisdom_Wit

    Review from OnlineBookClub.org
    Hiram McDowell not only loved hiking and climbing but was also very good at it. (A quality that will help him stay hidden from the press and the Feds for a long period of time). A successful surgeon and a loving father who on his way to the peak of his medical career made a promise to a colleague, a promise he did not keep.
    The author has been able to capture to some extent what could’ve been a real life experience. This is an adventure story in every sense of the word guaranteed to keep you entertained.
    Read the entire review here…

  72. Fuzzy456

    Review from OnlineBookClub.org
    This book is so thought provoking, it will leave the reader with a lot of questions. Did all of Harim’s success and riches hide his goodness? Can a person who has “fallen from grace” be redeemed? Maybe the simple, true life is the best life.
    This book will appeal to any reader. It is expertly written, the chapters flow perfectly and the story is remarkable. This book evoked a lot of my emotions. Anger, shock, sadness and happiness. I have always believed that if a novel can stir up all of those emotions, it is a novel worth reading.
    Read the entire review here…

  73. Review from BlueInk

    William H. Coles’ novel McDowell traces the rise and fall of prominent surgeon Hiram McDowell, whose self-involved actions ripple through the lives of those around him.

    Fueled by ambition, Hiram’s achievements in medicine, politics, philanthropy and mountaineering make him as arrogant as he is successful, and his rise is littered with those he used for gain. In the opening scene, he saves himself by leaving his injured climbing partner to die on Mount Everest, establishing a pattern he repeats in relationships throughout the story.

    When Hiram’s grandson commits an act of violence and then tries to commit suicide, it spurs Hiram to take an action that lands him in prison. Escaping, Hiram uses his smarts and survival skills to build a tenuous life on society’s fringes.
    Meanwhile, a fading TV journalist seeks to publish a “tell-all” biography chronicling the depth of Hiram’s narcissism. As Hiram’s character evolves through pain and misfortune, however, her task becomes less straightforward.
    The story is told through the lens of several characters, including Hiram’s children (talented, insecure Sophie; hapless, good-hearted Billie; and neurotic, troubled Ann). Through them, we experience the bewildering juxtaposition of Hiram’s love for his family and his narcissism.
    Strong, precise scenes, interesting dialogue and compelling characters keep pages turning. Coles achieves beautiful moments when describing the local life at Hiram’s philanthropic hospital in Nepal “where all of civilization seemed to exist writhing on snake-width curves of the never-straight road” and during Hiram’s descent into the world of drifters where he begins to appreciate “unsuccessful” people and the kindness they show.

    At times, the book’s hasty transitions between chapters and experimental tense shifts are clumsy. And while Coles’ industrious examination of many topics, (i.e. gun control, euthanasia, religion), and large scope of characters add realism, the breadth and brevity can leave plot threads feeling unfinished.

    Such flaws aside, Coles paints a psychologically compelling portrait of a man hardened by success and brought to a new level of self-awareness through loss.

  74. Gerry_9

    Review from OnlineBookClub.org
    William H. Coles is a master at describing characters. When presenting any character he gives a profile of the character depicting his or her attitude in life and their personality .He goes further to reveal the thoughts of each character. William H. Coles incorporates many characters but that is hardly an issue since each individual is fully developed and contributes significantly into the novel. He perfectly transforms the character of Hiram McDowell from a wealthy and influential globetrotting surgeon to a homeless and destitute man running away from the law. His characters are like real people who change their perspectives and opinions. This is a great attribute to his story telling because the characters are not static in mannerism and behavior.
    Read the entire review here…

  75. _bbell

    Review from OnlineBookClub.org
    While reading McDowell, I really enjoyed the vivid characters and the complex questions that the author brings up throughout the story about what it means to be human. For example, on pages 215-216: “It’s no good if people seek success and money only for their own satisfaction and self-worth. People content in themselves learn to give selflessly, without concern for personal gain, to learn the joy of being human. How many times a day do we do things for others that are really for our own pleasure and advancement?” It is quotes like this that the characters ponder over throughout McDowell that really kept me wanting to read more. Another aspect of this book that I really enjoyed was how complex the author made his characters, making them seem relatable and interesting at the same time.
    Read the entire review here…

  76. tlchristmas

    Review from OnlineBookClub.org
    McDowell is one of the best books I have read in a long time. It is truly a tragedy, which is not my favorite genre, yet I have to rate it 4 out of 4 stars. I found it fascinating how Coles is able to keep the storyline going at a good pace, while continually keeping the reader focused on what is happening at that moment in time. The characters are well developed, even in the saddened state that some may become. The chapters are short but well defined as to who is involved, what they are doing, and where they are located. It has suspense, intrigue, compassion, hate, devastation, hope, and love. For readers who like stories that delve into the heart and psyche of people, and the resulting consequences for a person’s actions, McDowell is a must read. And if what goes up does come back down, can it go back up again?
    Read the entire review here…

  77. ADE_96

    Review from OnlineBookClub.org
    I really enjoyed this book such that I took several mugs of coffee to keep reading non-stop. The author gives us insightful events that open our minds to deep understanding. The crumbling of Hiram’s career led him to seek understanding of the human nature. He started to learn about meaning and happiness that he had never discovered in his wealthy life. He became kind, empathetic, and purposeful. In spite of his desire of demanding respect and recognition of self-importance, the circumstances he met taught him humility.
    Read the entire review here…

  78. GabbiV

    Review from OnlineBookClub.org
    I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars because of its adherence to the “tell, don’t show” rule in writing when introducing Hiram’s characterization. While not subtle, examples showcasing his character flaws show exactly the kind of character the author decided to create in his protagonist. This book delivers in great detail a character study focused on a stereotypically egotistical, misogynistic man who goes through life using people as he pleases without giving proper tribute when necessary.
    The dialogue flows easily and is direct, not a word uttered without purpose. This also highlights the politics of healthcare and how a lot of the goings on depends on whom you know and whom you please. A writing quirk I noticed in the book is that the author tends to stack his dialogue so that sometimes constant “he/she said” doesn’t bog it down. There is also at least one instance where this style of dialogue showcased how quickly a crowd can become hostile, displaying nicely that intellectuals are not above mob mentality.
    Read the entire review here…

  79. Slingrider 10

    Review from OnlineBookClub.org
    W. H. Coles establishes unforgettable levels of barbaric ambition for the central character, Hiram McDowell, in his newest novel titled McDowell. Born into wealth and nourished by an innate thirst for power, Hiram McDowell achieves accolades for superior skills as a top surgeon. His physical achievements in mountain climbing are likewise impressive.

    The novel is worth the read. A strong twist in fate provides the opportunity for the author to entertain the reader with excellent descriptive skills in the second half. I recommend this novel and rate it 3 out of 4 stars for contemporary relevance and quality story telling.
    Read the entire review here…

  80. Jerono koech

    Review from OnlineBookClub.org
    I particularly liked the fact that the book was able to stir deep-seated emotions of love, hate, pain but most importantly redemption all at the same time about a single character; Hiram McDowell. I however failed to appreciate the author’s need to suddenly introduce some characters like Jane bringing out a sense of confusion. More interesting of all the things in the novel was Hiram’s full transformation evolving from a total megalomaniac into a simple beggar capable of love and empathy in a life time. The least likable thing about the book was the extreme wave of violence and murder evident at most instances in the novel.
    Read the entire review here…

  81. Bukari

    Review from OnlineBookClub.orgIn summary I think this book is worth reading because as a human being you come across challenges everyday. I rate it 4 out of 4 stars, because I see no grammatical errors or typographical errors. I will recommend it to my friends in the health sector the book is easy to understand, but may be difficult to understand to those with little knowledge about the terms in some portions of the book.
    Read the entire review here…

  82. KatePanlilio

    Review from OnlineBookClub.org
    McDowell answers the most simple yet hardest questions every human can encounter in their lifetime. This book talks about the different aspects of life like morality, family and sorrows of life, love and sins. Every reader will surely be engrossed in following McDowell’s life as he embarks in a journey anyone would not wish to experience.
    The book teaches readers mainly about morality. What is right and wrong? Is what I am doing a sin? What would you choose—will you kill someone to end their misery or let them experience death in the living life?
    Read the entire review here…

  83. equus

    Review from OnlineBookClub.org
    The critical thing that makes this book so good is Coles’s narrative approach. Each chapter is from a different character’s perspective, holding varying degrees of reliability, and this allows for him to communicate with the reader to reveal details of the situation around them without giving too much away. We see as much as the characters do, know as much as they do. Despite this, there were no points where I felt troubled or felt that I had been left on a cliffhanger as many chapters finish with a paragraph written by an omniscient narrator. This medium makes the book feel more like a collection of short stories but, ultimately, offers completion and reader satisfaction.
    Read the entire review here…

  84. sassychaos

    Review from OnlineBookClub.org
    There were many good things that I enjoyed throughout this book. William H. Coles is marvelous when it comes to descriptions; there were many scenes throughout McDowell where I could picture the exact outfit and gestures that each character used which not only drew me in but also kept me re-reading for a heightened sensory affect. Chapters were quick, easy to decipher, thoroughly descriptive and very straight forward. His style of writing is very hard to come by in today’s readings, especially when most authors will use every chance to avoid immersing their readers through not only plot but through their senses.
    Read the entire review here…

  85. mamalui

    Review from OnlineBookClub.org
    This is a remarkable and touching story of one man’s journey towards redemption, freedom and self growth. It features a man by the name of Hiram Mcdowell who is the main protagonist in this story. Hiram was a renowned surgeon, president to the board of directors of the International College of surgeons and a veteran mountain climber. He had also successfully managed to open a hospital in Nepal in order to help the less fortunate. But despite of all his achievements Hiram was a flawed man, self centred, ambitious and a womaniser. He was a less than perfect husband to his wives and a not so good father to his children. His relationships suffered as he was never there for the people who loved and depended on him.
    Read the entire review here…

  86. love my books

    Review from OnlineBookClub.org
    McDowell by William Cole is a fiction novel set in Denver, CO. and other venues. The author is very descriptive of each character; very rounded and believable. The dialogue is realistic.
    Hiram McDowell was a prominent surgeon that had it all and then lost it all. He’s arrogant, cunning and this man has no morals. He is rude to his wife and family. He cheats on his wife and thinks nothing of it.
    This novel is so compelling that you’ll want to read on. It is full of twists and turns that finds the reader more interested in reading on to the end.
    Read the entire review here…

  87. dlovvorn3

    Review from OnlineBookClub.org
    In many ways, this was the most gripping and entertaining book I have read in a long time. The story was always changing and never boring, you never know what is going to happen next. It was so interesting that I finished it in one 24-hour period, I couldn’t put it down. This book is written in the third-person point of view, following several different characters whose lives intertwine in unavoidable ways. The novel is written beautifully, with diction and sentence structure that changes subtly depending on who the chapter is following at the time. The sentences themselves have a beauty and simplicity about them that is enthralling to read, several times I would stop to reread a sentence just to admire the complexity of it.
    Read the entire review here…

  88. HouseOfAtticus

    Review from OnlineBookClub.org
    The most intriguing thing about this book is the “antihero” element in it. McDowell might be the protagonist of the novel, but in no way is he the “hero”. The protagonist is by no means a loveable character. He has his own set of flaws and there is nothing idealistic about him. In fact, the one thing I loved the most about this book is the realistic element that the author brings with him. The character development has been strong and realistic and the author seems to have done his research.
    The author has effectively created flawed characters who are hard to love but are nonetheless memorable. The author has built a realistic narrative that is strengthened through the characterisation of the book. As someone who loves realist novels, I certainly found this book wonderful. I love the way the characters have shades of grey, and none of the characters is too idealistic. Read the entire review here…

  89. KSup18

    Review from OnlineBookClub.org
    Coles crafts a beautiful journey to self discovery through many detailed character perspectives. He writes vividly, taking the reader through the journey of the main character, Hiram McDowell. He gently approaches several controversial issues, giving light to both sides. Coles explores the ordinary things in life, such as marriage strife and parenting, and the extraordinary events, that many of us will not experience. This exploration offers the reader an intimate look into a wide variety of adventures, both heartbreaking and exhilarating.
    Read the entire review here…

  90. juliannedanford230

    Review from OnlineBookClub.org
    Opening with a stunning scene that drops the reader straight into the action. McDowell by William H. Coles promises to be an extremely compelling novel. The novel presents a unique blend of Nepalese mountain climbing, themes of misogyny, and an unforgettable protagonist. Focusing primarily on the titular character, McDowell draws readers in through its array of characters, clever dialogue, and underlying arc of redemption.
    Coles’s analysis of McDowell’s character and motivation remained a constant source of intrigue throughout the novel. The author’s unique implementation of multiple perspectives allows his audience to feel as though they have lived McDowell’s biography; from the inner thoughts of his nemesis reporter to the devastating struggles of his most trusted daughter, nearly every point of view seems to have been considered.
    Read the entire review here…

  91. Indigo14

    Review from OnlineBookClub.org
    William H. Coles has the great ability to visually bring the characters to life both physically and emotionally. It is easy to envision Hiram’s interaction with each new character. He has extensive knowledge of that which he writes; the surgeon’s relentless research and drive to help those less fortunate, the snow team’s struggles on a mountain, and dealing with marriage and children. I believe this was more of a weakness than strength due to his arrogant, egotistical self-importance.
    McDowell is exciting as you follow Hiram across the country. I was stunned with the ending, did not see it coming. Kudos Mr. Coles! This is a real page turner. Read the entire review here…

  92. August1959 for OnlineBookClub.org

    Review from OnlineBookClub.org
    The Novel is a gripping saga of a heartless man’s pursuit of his ambitions that brought about his tragic end.
    The author has expertly woven a tale where there are no heroes and villains. He presented characters whose lives were lived according to their passions and ambitions. For the main character, Hiram McDowell, his life was defined by the peaks he needed to climbed and the valleys he should pass, the obstacles that needed to be overcome so as to satisfy his self-actualization only to be lead to a belated self-discovery that he was a total failure as a doctor and father. In McDowell’s eyes he was a good man.
    Read the entire review here…

  93. Sahani Nimandra for OnlineBookClub.org

    Review from OnlineBookClub.org
    Have any of you ever wondered why life is so good to people who cheat and that it does not come back to bite them? Well! William H. Coles will walk you through this, in his outstanding book, the McDowell. This book seriously had something to say and I noticed there were a lot hidden meanings. What I found so captivating was that this book contained some very insightful, mind-bending and transformative experience that it offers to its reader. The book is separated into two parts, and the first, the rise of the protagonist and the second, his fall. The book consisted of 72 characters and each chapter was strikingly eventful that it won’t fail to reduce the interest of the reader.
    Read the entire review here…

  94. Blarishas

    Review from OnlineBookClub.org
    Overall, it is a great book. It sheds light on how one can surpass the limits in society to acquire control of power and money. These are examples for us to search for love, not for money. To be with family members not with aliens. It as well holds a big lesson about salvation. If one commits sins, he can redeem them. But McDowell is very late here in this fictional story. One matter which I disliked is that he must find a stern penalty for what he had caused. But he found a new life and that is his luck.
    I rate McDowell 4 out of 4 stars and I hardly ever do that. Because the book is professionally edited and well formatted. I did not take in a moment when I noticed either spelling or grammar errors. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in a thriller and adventurous books. This book focuses on force, power, death, revenge as well as money.
    Read the entire review here…

  95. Dolor

    Review from OnlineBookClub.org
    Hiram McDowell is a highly skilled surgeon, mountain climbing enthusiast and philanthropist of healthcare charity foundation in Nepal. He is an infidel husband to his third wife, Carole Mastriano and a ruthless stepfather to her two daughters from her previous marriage. His ambition to build a new direction for the College of Surgeon to be hailed again as world leader in surgery, made him bribe for presidential votes and deceive his colleague Michael O’Leary. If there is a soft spot in his heart, it is his love to his children from his second marriage, Billie and Sophie. The roller coaster ride in Hiram McDowell’s life includes Billie, who had an affair with one of Carole’s daughter (Tasha) and Ann (his daughter from his first marriage) who got tangled in a chaotic marriage. Despite the loopholes that happened during his presidential reign, Michael O’Leary failed in his plot for vengeance. After committing mass school murder, Jeremy (his grandson from Ann attempted suicide but was not successful. This incident progressed to his conviction of euthanasia (mercy killing) that resulted to his stay in jail then break free in quest of redemption.
    Read the entire review here…

  96. Sarah Tariq

    Review from OnlineBookClub.org
    The McDowell by William H. Coles is a beautiful novel. The story revolves around a doctor; Hiram McDowell, his family and the people associated with him. Through this book, the author has unearthed many hidden realities of the medical profession; some positive and some negative. McDowell is a philanthropist and at the same time a man void of moral compass. William H. Coles’ view of McDowell’s character makes the reader to ponder over the importance of morality in the medical profession and its lacking- the lust for fame, money and sex- ultimately ruins not only a doctor but also his family.
    Hiram McDowell is a renowned doctor, apparently known for his philanthropist tasks and climbing the high mountains. In Nepal, he establishes a charity foundation (hospital) and time to time go for climbing the towering mountains. His appetite for fame compels him to deceive his colleague to become the president of International College of Surgeons. His family is too unhappy with him. He has three children: Ann, Sophie and Billie. He deceives his third wife and his disrespectful behavior prepares her to detach herself from him. The illicit child of Billie also becomes a source of trouble for both.
    Read the entire review here…

  97. youdonthavemybrain

    Review from OnlineBookClub.org
    McDowell by William H. Coles is one of the few good reads I have come across lately. It solely reflects on the importance of humanity through the many changes in life the intricate character called McDowell goes through. The beginning of the novel is very intriguing as Hiram McDowell, despite being a celebrated surgeon, leaves his hiking mate to die in the biting coldness of the oxygen deficient atmosphere up a mountain in Nepal as he himself carries on with his journey down to safety. As time progresses, we learn that he doesn’t care about his third wife who has reluctantly given in to an open marriage lifestyle. His wife’s daughters do not exchange even a word with Hiram and his son gets into trouble with one of them, all being under the same roof.
    McDowell has cheated his way through to become the president of the International College of Surgeons. Surprisingly, he seems to be concerned only about his children. There comes a time in his life when his mentally sick grandson fails in his suicide attempt after committing multiple murders and gets hospitalized in an extremely critical stage only to die in a mysterious manner, causing McDowell to be convicted of second-degree murder. Quite soon, he manages to break out of prison and live as a runaway, whose story is of immense importance to a journalist trying to keep her job as she battles with the sexism hurled at her. McDowell now gets schooled by his life that gradually opens his mind to a spiritual good.
    Read the entire review here…

  98. Rosemary Wright

    Review from OnlineBookClub.org
    McDowell written by William H. Coles spotlights the backwash of arrogance and selfishness. The protagonist of this work of fiction is Hiram McDowell, a self-important, self-centred and ambitious surgeon. He is a regent to the board of directors of the International College of Surgeons in Chicago. Hiram approaches Michael O’Leary, a key member of the college’s board of governors executive committee, and asks him to swing votes for him to be nominated for the post of the president of the college with a promise to make Michael the executive director of the college. Hiram is elected president but he broke his promise to Michael who vowed to ruin him.
    Hiram’s high-and-mighty attitudes get him into trouble with the law, and he is convicted and sentenced to twenty-five years imprisonment. He escapes from jail and takes a journey into the wilderness and starts writing a memoir. He then meets a woman in a convenience store and his values and perspectives about life change. This book is in two parts. The first part is about the rise of Hiram McDowell and the second part, his fall. The setting of the story takes the readers of the book through various cities in the United States of America; from Denver to Chicago, New York, and other cities.
    Read the entire review here…

  99. Gunnar Ohberg for OnlineBookClub.org

    Ambition, greed, legacy, morality, and redemption are only a few of the many themes in William H. Coles’ epic adventure, McDowell. We first meet Dr. Hiram McDowell, celebrated surgeon and titular protagonist, as he attempts to navigate the Himalayas during a violent snowstorm. His actions and decisions in this opening scene foreshadow much of what constitute Hiram’s complex character: his determination, quick and harsh decision-making, and questionable moral compass.

    Flash-forward one decade later, and the aging McDowell finds himself the head of a family that resents him and with a career that does not fulfill him. His third wife, Carole, despises him. His wayward children, Ann, Billie, and Sophie reach out to him for money and little else. His peers at the International College of Surgeons loathe him for political and personal reasons. And an energetic and talented journalist, Paige Sterling, has discovered possible evidence of fraud and corruption that threatens to tarnish his reputation and dismantle his political ambitions. Hiram’s actions in the wake of a familial tragedy compound the growing pressures in the doctor’s professional and personal life and kickstart a chain of events that lead to his downfall and possible redemption.
    Read the entire review here…

  100. Arushi Singh from OnlineBookClub.org

    McDowell by William H. Coles is a book that follows the story of the eponymous “hero” Hiram McDowell, who is a famous surgeon and a sleaze in every other way. He is stuck in a bad marriage primarily because of his infidelity. He also has children that his role as an absentee parent further colours his character.

    This book is essentially for adults but can also be enjoyed by mature teenagers who wish to explore the complex nature of relationships.

    What intrigued me about this book from the very beginning was the “antihero” element in it. McDowell is the protagonist of the novel, but he shouldn’t be confused as being the “hero”. McDowell does not possess the traditional qualities of a hero. There is no sense of idealism in his character and this makes the character hard to like, and therein lies the beauty of the book. The author does not glorify any character or create characters that seem too good to be true. In fact, of all the elements in this book, the characterization by the author is arguably the most potent.

    The author has created grey characters that you would love to hate and hate to love. The absence of the traditional hero makes this novel much more intriguing and adds to the element of realism. This makes the novel a fascinating read. The characters in the novel have their own flaws as well as stories. Many of them are difficult to like but one could easily relate to them.
    Read the entire review here…

  101. Ferdinand_otieno from OnlineBookClub.org

    McDowell by William H. Coles is a fictional drama novel. The book was published in 22nd August 2015. The book follows the story of Hiram McDowell, a celebrated surgeon and how his life changed. The author writes the story around Hiram and events that affect his life, directly or indirectly. The author writes the book from the perspectives of Hiram, his wife Carole, their children(Anne, Sophie and Billie) and many other characters.

    Dr. Hiram McDowell is a renowned surgeon who is down to his third marriage. After returning from climbing the Himalayas, he sets his sights on becoming the director of the International College of Surgeons. His wife Carole is upset with him for his blatant infidelity and keeps threatening divorce. Hiram pays little to no attention to his children because he is dependent on his career. Hiram promises Michael O’Leary (one of his colleagues) a lucrative position if he helps him to be elected as director, but passes him over after gaining his position. Michael sets his new goal on revenge, making sure he ruins Hiram. Hiram gets called before the judicial committee of the International College of Surgeons on charges of misconduct. Hiram barely survives the committee. Hiram also has to deal with his children because his wife informs him that his teenage son Billie may be a father soon. This causes conflict between Carole and Hiram and may for cast a break. Will Michael ruin Hiram’s career? Will Hiram reconcile with his wife? What will he do with the news that he may become a grandfather soon? Will Hiram change his ways? All these questions will be answered in this amazing book.
    Read the entire review here…

  102. Bookseed for OnlineBookClub.org

    It was a great pleasure and privilege to read this book. Hands off to the author for a marvellous work of fiction, for absolute literary greatness.

    We meet Hiram McDowell, an American man with a complex man with an even more complex life and we are immersed into the journey of his life and his family’s life. Hiram is a surgeon, a father, a husband, a humanitarian, and a pursuer of his highest potential. We are told the story of his life, how he has relentless ambition and drive to succeed above and beyond, which only leads him to greatness. However his own ferocious approach to life starts to back fire on him as he losses all he worked for, he makes a few bad decisions that he pays for dearly but not without the growth and introspection that any significant life event can cause. His children are not spared as they also have to deal with the aftermath of their father’s tumultuous life.

    Hiram is a strong character, very well depicted and created with layers and layers of humanness, flaws and all, that I loved going through and discovering. There are times I hated him and times I pitied him…I would at times recognise him as a friend and at others a foe…this story is just amazingly written by William H. Coles. It is difficult to put this book into a genre due to its multifaceted themes, but it is definitely a drama. McDowell appears to be self published however it definitely gives the impression of being professionally edited, with very few errors in language and grammar and perfect structure.
    Read the entire review here…

  103. read 30 more reviews from Indie Book Reviews

    – “McDowell” by William H. Coles is truly a great piece of storytelling, and any literary and character drama fan should go and read this (and the other novels by this author). There are several familiar arch types and tropes that border on cliché, but Coles manages to just avoid it with compelling backstory and genuine character development with the believable relationships that develop amongst the characters (especially with McDowell and his family). While Hiram McDowell is clearly the main figure in this novel (hence the title), he only exists due to the strength of the supporting cast. As with his other novels, Coles’ writing is terrific. However, the strongest part of this book for me is how Coles does a great job of fleshing out his characters so as not to be the stock cut-outs or even the caricatures they could so easily be due to their extraordinary situations (esp. McDowell). It gets close at times, but they are flawed enough and real enough to maintain a sense of believability and gets better as the books progress. Great descriptions and character intrigue pulls us into the world, and complex personal drama and scandals keeps us there. Some adult scenes and language but suitable for mature teens and older. (5 stars)
    ___________
    – I’m really becoming a fan of William H. Coles’s books… this is the third one I’ve read from him – the first two being “Guardian of Deceit” and “the Spirit of Want”. This one, “McDowell” is written in the same sort of way as the others, yet has its very own distinctive feel. In addition to being a riveting character-driven drama, it addresses several important cultural and social and personal events that brings more depth to the storyline. Like Coles’ other books, the writing is solid, there is lots of great character action and plenty of twists (which while a tad detectable still entertaining), lots of interesting dialogue between the leads and the supporting cast as well, and daunting personal and romantic obstacles to overcome. If you’re looking for something that is light years out of the ordinary in lit fiction, then this is definitely a great book for you. I like the way that Coles writes so descriptively and really makes us know the characters inside and out. Fast paced and even though there are more italics than I prefer (hard on my eyes), I flew through this book a quickly as I did the others and was sad to finish – although the ending is fitting and bittersweet. (4-5 stars)
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    – This is my third novel now by William H. Coles, and they have all been very, very good. I like the fact that “McDowell” is a fully-realized character-driven literary novel without all the bloat that we sometimes see in the genre (excessive descriptions, purple prose, meandering dialogue that goes nowhere…). Coles fills you in as we go without getting bogged down in describing every last thing. The story moves forward and you can’t help but get sucked into Coles’s strong narrative. And I haven’t even begun to talk about the characters, which were amazing, as usual. McDowell is a great lead, although he is super flawed and of questionable morals, this is what makes his storyline so compelling, and I enjoyed watching his relationship with the other characters develop over the course of the action. Some similar themes and motifs found in typical lit-fiction, but as usual Coles does a fantastic job of putting his own unique spin on them. I always appreciate how his characters’ stories don’t just get wrapped up with a neat little bow and the cliché ‘happy ever after’ at the end, but feel real and more ‘real life’. My only real complaint was that many key events felt ‘summed up’ in the narration, and some pivotal scenes (like Hiram’s fate) happens ‘off stage’ and we don’t actually get to experience it but are told about it (this happens a few other times too). Just misses out on the opportunity for more emotional impact, in my opinion. But still a powerful, memorable read and I am ready to read more great books from William H. Coles! (4 stars)
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    – Leave it to William Coles to create another engrossing, shocking, dynamic, and totally addicting story that kept me attached to my kindle for hours on end! I’ve lost track of how many of his books I’ve read now (3 maybe?), but each seems to be better than the last, and believe me that’s a pretty high bar! This book was creative, well-written, and fast-paced. Loved the character of Hiram McDowell and this may seem random, but I love that he isn’t the stereotypical ‘good guy/hero’ we always read about. He’s definitely shady and of questionable character. Thought his whole storyline with the characters was really original and intelligent and actually brings to light many real issues in life. I always love how Coles writes in a way that we really feel like we are inside the story right from the beginning, and we never want to leave! Coles not only writes well, he isn’t afraid to think outside norm conventions and come up with some pretty outlandish scenarios, but still remain quite believable. This book is a standalone, so there is no cliffhanger here and I loved the ending, even if it’s not ‘happy’. It totally works. Highly recommend for mature readers of literary drama and fiction. (5 stars).
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    – There is much to be said about a novel that reads well. I’ve mentioned this before in other reviews I’ve written, but a book that keeps you reading long after you plan on putting it down ranks high for me. Not only is it entertaining, but you look forward to getting back into the book each and every time you pick it up, if you have the self-control to ever put it down. That is what reading these books by William Coles, and particularly this novel, “McDowell” has done for me. Typical of many literary genre books I’ve read, “McDowell” has much in the way of raw, ugly grittiness, yet it remains inventive and profoundly ‘true to life’. With twists and turns from the opening pages you won’t know what to expect next. The plot moved quickly and even though sometimes the narration did more of the plot work than the dialogue, it wasn’t overkill, even if it came across as unusual in places (almost feels like reading a movie script on occasion). There are some adult scenes and coarse language and only minor typos. But really nothing that hindered my enjoyment any. Coles has a way with drawing unforgettable characters who get under your skin and in your head, and “McDowell” (the character and the book) is no different. A very strong effort worthy of being read again. (4-5 stars)
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    – There are few things I enjoy more than curling up with a good book and getting lost for hours on end, and “McDowell” by William H. Coles did a great job of keeping me hostage night after night! It’s fascinating character drama that in a way is very fitting of the genre, but also feels very original at the same time. The circumstances and situations Coles puts his characters in (Hiram, but also the others) are anything but run-of the-mill, yet still maintain a sense of believability. These things, while unusual, DO happen (shootings, hiking accidents, shoddy medical research, jail breaks, etc…) and while it’s unusual to have SO MUCH happen in one book, it’s also what makes it highly entertaining and hard to put down. But it’s not all high-octane drama, there is also the softer, emotional side that was appealing, and some deep philosophical themes throughout. I liked the characters and thought the dialogue seemed natural and helped to move the story forward nicely. Some bouts of ‘telling’, but mostly a fast paced read. An engaging and intelligent book that will surely appeal to mature fans of literary drama. (4-5 stars).
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    – I just finished reading 2 other books by William Coles and thought they were very good So I already had some pretty high expectations when starting this one, “McDowell”. That said, I always marvel at the way that Coles is able to make the story and characters come alive. The relationship between Hiram McDowell as he plays off the other characters, from college to family and all the others provides great insight into his character and pulls the plot forward organically… and still provides great action and danger (more towards the end). In terms of world-building, there is not an enormous amount (even though the exotic locales are well-described), but I thought it fit the story very well. I do think it is a little unorthodox in how Coles inserts spurts of a narrative summary, frequently at the beginning or the end of the chapters, that quickly tells much about the story or plotline or things the characters did or how they think/feel. The problem with doing it this way is it loses any emotional impact and also is easily forgotten. Much better to let the scenes play out more in depth. However, I enjoyed that it was fast paced and well written. An intoxicating and tumultuous journey best suited for older readers. (4 stars)
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    – This book is basically nonstop addicting awesome. Do not start if you have other plans – you’ve been warned. I should know better by now when I read books by William H. Coles that I’m down for the count, as he has such a way with words and with writing such interesting characters that you just don’t want to leave for a moment. This is a little different from his other books I’ve read, but still maintains the style I admire so much – original and creative storylines, strong, smart characters, and lots of complex, intelligent interweaving plotlines that come together for a fulfilling payoff in the end. I like how he writes these totally ‘out-there’ stories with characters who defy normal conventions on many levels, but they are completely believable because of his skillful world-building and sticking to personas he creates and the real-life scenarios (such as assisted suicide or gun violence). Their actions, as shocking (or even bad) as they may seem at times, always make sense for the characters, and this is so important for the integrity of the storyline. Even though Hiram is ‘flawed’ (to say the least), we always believe in him and understand why it is he does what he does. A little disappointed that we don’t get to actually witness his ultimate fate as I felt a little shortchanged there – he was a character that we grew attached to and we deserved to me more there in the scene at the ending (no spoilers). But still a great book, as are others by Coles, and a recommended read for anyone who enjoys action, drama, and great writing. (4 stars)
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    – While I heartily enjoyed the other two books I’ve read by William H. Coles, in my opinion “McDowell” was even harder to put down. McDowell is a great titular character and what is great about his is that he is so imperfect and human, he certainly makes mistakes and exercises poor judgment, but you are still sympathetic towards him. While the story is mostly centered around him (mostly), there are many other characters who add to the depth and breadth of the storyline, and we see many different perspectives which is good… but at the same time can feel a bit overwhelming as I prefer to have just a few focal points to connect to, while seeing the bigger picture. I thought the beginning was a little slow (after the initial opening scene), but once it started to pick up steam it didn’t stop. The editing is very good, and overall think the presentation of these novels to be very well done with a professional feel. Ready for the next one by Coles. (4 stars)
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    – Another great read from William Coles! This author is quickly becoming one of my dependable “go-to” authors when I need a great book to sink myself into. I found myself reading this one slower than I had his others, simply because I wanted to savor the amazing experience and not rush through it. Fortunately his books tend to be on the longer side, so the story is not rushed at all, yet maintains a quick pace that keeps you reading more and more until the exciting climax at the end. I think that other than Hiram, Sophie was my favorite character, and like McDowell, she shows great development throughout the course of the story. I liked the quirkiness of the supporting characters, too. The whole thing felt authentic and the dialogue was natural and flowed off the page. Occasionally I started to feel unsure what exactly the real conflict was…what exactly was driving the story forward, versus things just “happening”. It did become clearer as I read on, and it was only because I’d read this author before did I know I’d get my ‘reward’ at the end. But I still highly recommend this book (and the others Coles has written) and if it’s your first one by him then you are in for a real treat. Sit down, get comfortable, and enjoy the ride. (4 stars).
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    – William Coles put a lot of heart and time and effort into this amazing story and it shows. He has a wonderful way with words; his descriptions are vivid; you see what the characters are seeing, you feel what they are feeling; you feel like you are there. I felt like I was experiencing what they were; excitement, arousal, confusion, joy, heartbreak, happiness, etc. I found this last book very hard to put down, as I had to know what the outcome for each of these characters would be, especially Hiram, but also the others (loved Sophie’s outcome!!). Each time I did have to stop reading, I found myself thinking and pondering on what I had read, and what might happen next. I have enjoyed all the books I’ve read by William Coles, but for some reason I think this might be my favorite – no real reason why; they all have a ‘darker’ human element that I find intriguing, but I think since this one is really focused on so many ethical, moral, personal and character dilemmas, it was almost like watching traffic accident – strangely upsetting, yet impossible to not look at. I thought after reading a few other books by Coles that this one would start to feel repetitive, but he still has some surprises in store for us! The road is not smooth sailing, and is never predictable and will keep you hooked right up til the end—which I loved, btw- even though I was sad to see the story come to an end. I really enjoyed it and would recommend it to adult readers of literary fiction, drama. (5 stars)
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    – “McDowell” is a great piece of literary fiction no one should miss reading if they are looking for an riveting, entertaining read that is a little on the dark side. If you’re looking for a work completely lacking in cliché then I must say that you might have a bone to pick with this, as there were many ‘familiar’ elements that made me almost feel at times that I had read it before (I haven’t). But I believe the author’s job is not to be completely original (for is there such a thing as true originality, especially in literature?) here but rather to tell a powerful story that stays with you. For I believe that the true future for the genre lies not in becoming ‘newer’ but rather by taking standard tropes of the human condition and telling them better. This is where Coles’s strength lies, in my opinion. Sure we’ve read stories about conflicted, troubled characters before, but the way Coles writes them (especially here) in regards to their circumstances as well as the other characters around them stand out to me in terms of a raw authenticity that I rarely see. Normally books like this rely on some extreme plot devices to carry it forward, but here it is all character driven, helmed by one of questionable moral ground, which always makes for a more interesting ride. Solid writing, but I’m still not a real fan of the author’s habit of doing some bouts of telling narration to speed the story along. Still a great experience. (4 stars)
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    – “McDowell” was an excellent novel. Now, I want to go ahead and make clear that this book is a straightforward contemporary drama. Although it has its darker side, it isn’t an overly brooding piece of literature like so many other novels these days. It isn’t a social commentary on our time, cleverly hidden amongst conflicts and relationships. Nor is it a work of literary experimentation where the prose leaves one contemplating the brilliance of the one who penned it, although it is quite lovely. No, Mr. Coles has written a novel which is all about storytelling at its finest; the grandeur of the book lying in the very fact that the writing style, the language, and the deeply personal, almost intimate feel we get when reading about these characters will affect us on some level, whether we immediately realize it or not. The hero/antihero Hiram McDowell will expose sides of you that you may not realize you have inside you. While hard to root for at times, we understand him, despite his flaws. And it is his interactions with other characters that serves as a real crux for creating genuine conflict that has us hooked. Has this idea been done before? Sure. But it is a timeless tale of strength, courage, right vs. wrong that when told well will never go out of style and will take us along for the ride every time. Great pacing and for the most part the editing was well done. Recommend. (4-5 stars)
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    – This novel “McDowell”, in fact all the books I’ve read so far by this author William H. Coles, demonstrates what a truly gifted writer can do with the constraints and conventions of the literary/drama genre. This world feels so real, perhaps because he focuses on the lives of seemingly ordinary people (other than being really smart and successful) caught up in extraordinary events and lifestyle that is different from the norm – but they aren’t contrived our ludicrous for the sake of making a ‘good story’- quite the opposite. The changing plot forced the characters out of their comfort zones and into situations that challenge them and ultimately transform, on some level…for the better or the worse, but they are ultimately dealt their fate in one way or another, and this has a profound effect on us the readers. And while there is really just too much ground covered in this book to properly sum up in a brief review, just know that all of his books have exceeded my wildest expectations and keep getting better and better. Hats off to William Coles for rocking out this awesome book that was so well written and entertaining I have zero hesitation about recommending to fans of the genre. You will love it. (5 stars)
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    – “McDowell” by William H. Coles was a dark and complex, yet entertaining book that I read in just a few evenings. It delivers on so many levels, but the most important one to me personally was that it was fun. Not ‘haha this is great’ fun, or ‘silly light adventures’ fun, (though I do appreciate those types of stories as well), but fun as in, ‘I’m totally invested in this unpredictable book and I don’t want to stop reading because I have to know what will happen with Hiram and the others.” I feel like in a way these are some of the best (worst) characters I’ve come across in a long time. Some more fully fleshed out than others, but all added great spice and kept things lively. It is written in a very literary style, and at times seems almost more surreal than anything… I did notice some editing things (nothing major though) and at times the pacing was off, but I was still completely hooked until the end. Great twists and enough reality-based issues to satisfy those looking for a captivating and rewarding literary treat. (3 stars)
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    – I don’t think I can properly praise William H. Coles’s writing enough in “McDowell”. From the opening scene in Nepal, to New York, to Louisville, to Washington and more, there was not a single moment that I was not hooked in his story; his descriptions were sufficient but not boring, his characters well painted, the dialogues witty and the banters between the various characters authentic and progressed their story. The narrative would be beautiful and poetic in nature, other times would be complex and dark. Great mix. There was a little romance, but the women in this novel were not mere tools, but smart and strong and successful. A large and dynamic cast of supporting characters almost overshadow the lead of McDowell, but still added some perspective and completed the spectacular world Mr. Coles created. On to the next! (4 stars)
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    – For the most part “McDowell” by William H. Coles was an enjoyable, engaging and even eye-opening literary drama. However at times the impersonal narrative voice made it difficult to get involved in the story, and I frequently felt emotionally detached from all the action. Seemed like it lost focus at times and I really wondered about the need to have so many characters share the stage… we see several perspectives and while they’re still likeable characters they don’t drive the plot forward fast enough in my opinion. The writing and world building is quite solid, and as far as the actual story itself I was hooked… after about ½ way through. I wasn’t really a fan of the way that the story would be ‘explained’ to us in bursts to speed it along or catch us up or resolve plot points – instead of letting it play out more naturally for us and keeping us more connected. Some people may not mind this, but I always feel a little cheated, especially because it frequently happened at the most important parts of the book. Still a good read, I’d just prefer less narration to do the heavy lifting. (3 stars)
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    – Well written, shocking and entertaining, this read by William H. Coles blends well-known literary tropes and new ideas and the result is something quite unique, yet very comforting and readable! “McDowell” is the third book I’ve read from this author, but I like how they are all able to be read on their own (not a series, but standalone books) which is great. It seems that he really has a unique style in writing these, yet each one feels very different in terms of plots and the characters. It’s hard to pick a favorite, but I think this one might be it for me (although I did highly enjoy the others as well!!) This one has really good tension the whole way through, and it seems like just one thing after another keeps arising that makes everything more complicated in McDowell’s life. Had great detailing and substance, both with characters and events, … But while the storyline is great overall, I’m only giving this one 4 stars because I thought some parts felt really rushed, especially toward the end, like everything was quickly summed up, and it completely takes away from the emotional impact we are waiting for. I just didn’t get the closure/satisfaction that I like, and even though I did enjoy it, I’d prefer a more focused, coherent plot with a satisfying ending that I’m more part of. Still an incredible, memorable book that I highly recommend. (4 stars)
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    – Another fantastic read by William H. Coles. The plot was relatively simple to follow along, but the pacing was decent (better than in his other books, I felt), with adequate action and elements of danger and mystery, and the book just flew by very quickly for me. I have mentioned before that I’m not particular about prose in general, and I appreciate the lovely manner of storytelling that was employed by Coles. Reads very fast-paced which is something I really like in my books, especially those deemed more ‘literary’ because those frequently are on the slower side. I didn’t mind the occasional use of coarse language, but for some reason it felt oddly out of place several times in this book (unnecessary). Almost like breaking character. Like Coles’s other books, “McDowell” definitely had a ‘darker’ tone and had great personal stakes at hand for the characters, and an unexpected ending to the climax. All in all, this author does deliver the goods when it comes to creating a powerful and unpredictable world with believable characters who expose you to new truths about life. I am ready for more! (4-5 stars)
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    – I read all sorts of genres, from high fantasy, to YA paranormal, to educational nonfictions, and while I enjoy straight literary drama on occasion I’ll be the first to admit that it isn’t exactly my bread and butter. There are some things I always like about them, such as the ‘real life issues’, and the ordinary, yet unusually complex lead characters (always on some life transition of some sort), the quirky/bizarre supporting characters (usually in the supporting cast), the frequent ‘real-life’ dramatic situations…and expecting the unexpected, and the wonderful writing. Then there are the things I don’t as much care for, such as having too many characters, many of whom don’t really have fully formed personalities or functions but are just there to make everything feel ‘bigger’ or more complicated, as well as having too many subplots going on at once to make the focus feel lost at times. While some people love this, it can frustrate and bore me. With this book, we walked a fine line many times, and all these elements came into play at one point or another, and that resulted in me enjoying the story overall, just not as much as I would have liked. It felt exhilarating at times, laborious at other times… I didn’t love the ending because after all we go through with McDowell it was almost brushed aside…as well as several other important key events throughout. I realize it is the style of the author, but I felt like some of the best parts were missing, and I’m not sure why that was. But all in all there are so many things that worked very well, and the takeaway is powerful and profound. And it is a good story…(3-4 stars)
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    – “McDowell” by William H. Coles was awesome! It is set up more like a classic character-driven novel, that is both edgy and fun, with several interweaving characters’ storylines that create suspense and intrigue. All of the books I’ve read by Coles I have found to be extremely entertaining. There’s lots of developing action, great character and plot development, flashes of humor and romance, and some surprisingly emotional moments. Some characters are occasionally paper-thin, but the main ones are well-developed with substance and dark complexity (like McDowell) The world here occasionally feels like a composite of familiar elements, but also very fresh and original at the same time. Can’t think of other books I’ve read that are like this one. Recommend for fans of the genre and I’m eager to dig into the next one by Coles now. (4-5 stars)
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    – I have wholeheartedly enjoyed all of the novels I’ve read by William H. Coles, and this one “McDowell” is no exception. I’m giving this one 3.5 stars, which for me means “between good and very good”. This rating isn’t based just on the lovely prose, or deep characterization, or striking creativity (all which it certainly has). It’s simply based on the way in which the whole story affected me overall. I was invested in this book, specifically Hiram McDowell’s story, even though most of the time I wasn’t sure if I even liked him or not. But he is a fascinating, flawed character, and his supporting cast is just as intriguing. So I just kept turning pages until there weren’t any pages left to turn, without worrying about things like narrative structure or dialogue. The things that these characters go through in this book are almost too much to be believed… I feel like just a few of these things could have made for a solid book, but Coles really throws the kitchen sink at us here, with one thing after another. Really keeps the twists coming. I had a blast with this book, even if I occasionally had to force myself to put away my mental red pencil so I could just enjoy the ride. If you’re in the mood for some powerful storytelling with memorable characters, this is a great place to start. Best suited for mature readers only. (3-4 stars)
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    – Okay… “McDowell” is one of those books where I think an initial reaction would be, “YES!” I really enjoyed it. While I haven’t moved this book to my all-time favorites list I can and do highly recommend it. After a long dry spell where I hadn’t found a really “good” read I can just get totally and utterly lost in for days on end, I was lucky to stumble on this novel and several others by William Coles. I love all of the substance, character-driven action, the dark complexity and witty dialogue, but I definitely think this book could have used better narrative pacing and some light proofreading. There are also few moments where “info-dumping” becomes slightly tedious, but the plot and writing was overall such fun that I forgave most of my qualms. I don’t really have much else to say! Fantastic read! (4-5 stars)
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    – I really liked “McDowell”… even though after the intriguing prologue it seemed to get a little slow, thankfully it picked back up again after chapter four or five. That being said, I may have enjoyed this book more than the others I’ve read lately. The action kept me at the edge of my seat the entire time, and I am a big fan of the character development in this book. Though I will say, I’m not sure we needed such a wide POV from the multitude of characters in this one. I just want to feel a little more connected to them as characters, which goes by the wayside with such broad and frequently alternating perspectives. While McDowell is the main character, the others are what made this story just as strong ( I really liked Sophia). I think it needs better editing though, as sometimes it almost feels like a rough draft at times, with the author’s ‘notes’ to himself on what he wants to do with the story becoming part of the narration. Also, there are parts where the verb tenses change from past to present to past again… a little confusing. I wasn’t all that pleased with how it ended, but it does provide the closure and feels suitable for the storyline. (4 stars)
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    – “McDowell” is the second book I’ve read by William H. Coles and everything you could possibly want from a great literary novel is found here: strong world building, three dimensional characters (some of whom you love, others whom you hate), life and death situations, moral and ethical dilemmas, true-life issues, profound philosophical discussions, romance, and great writing. I like how there is not a weak or dull moment to be found here…. The plot moves at a quick pace, there is enough character action to keep entertained and although there are some deep and dark philosophical machinations dotted throughout, it never becomes heavy or tedious despite the occasional dark tone. I found that I was hooked in from the very first page and remained there until I reached the end which is saying something! It’s not a perfect book by any stretch, some typos here and there, some overused clichés… but it does deliver an epic and powerful tale that even well-read fans of the genre are sure to devour. (5 stars)
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    – When I read a great novel, to me it is about more than world building and unique plot (as those are pretty rare), but the strength in the characterizations. What REAL people do in REAL situations, even if those people are somewhat ‘extraordinary’ (like an esteemed surgeon) or the situations are unusual. As long as they are relatable and we can see ourselves in the pages, it is a success. I’ve read several of William H. Coles novels, and as usual, in “McDowell”, he delivers with lovable/hatable and quirky leads, but the supporting characters are also really well developed and all of them add something to the plot, be they good or bad. It was easy to read, not overly complicated, just a great story written without dragging things out… It’s one of the those books you pick up and just finish before you realized it’s over, like eating comfort food, the simplicity, yet character- packed pages and clever dialogue were great. I enjoyed underline tension that compelled me to not stop reading, as it does have its darker side. We never feel ‘safe’ as the threat of conflict on some level is always near, but that’s what kept me so hooked. When I was finished I closed my Kindle and smiled, for it was a good read…. I’ll read more novels by Coles for sure. (5 stars)
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    – When I started reading these books by William Coles, I’d come back to reading contemporary literary fiction after a long hiatus, and “The Spirit of Want” was the first book I picked up. When I was done, I immediately started in on another of his, “Guardian of Deceit”. The moment I finished that one, I started this one, “McDowell”. So I’ve spent the last few months reading books by this author so it’s pretty safe to say I’m officially a fan! To make a long story short, I like this book to the point I had to choose between reading a couple of more pages and getting a little more sleep at night. I would not say it grabs you right away, but it kind of grows on you as the story unfolds… The main characters and interaction between them are well written and very interesting, and none of the major characters are boring which is what turned me off to the genre in the first place – almost like authors were too afraid to really take risks or put their characters through the ringer. Not here! The dialog is good, as well. The story feels fresh and while the structure could use some improving, the takeaway with this and all his books is a profound and astute look into the human condition through the eyes of remarkable, imperfect characters who will surprise you more than once. (4-5 stars)
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    – “McDowell” was a complex, engaging read, and as far as “literature” go, these by William H. Coles are some of the best I’ve read lately. Great characters, good conflicts (internal and external) and witty, authentic dialogues. The only thing that bothers me is the slow pacing at times – it almost feels like a standstill and I find myself anxious for something to happen. And there were times where I was at odds with some of the characters and their roles, questioning their necessity. But the language Coles employs and the overall storyline is riveting and it’s just a sheer pleasure to read the words he writes. This is one of those stories that sorta sneaks up on you without even realizing it and gets inside your head and you are totally invested whether you realize it or not. Was happy with some of the characters’ fates, saddened at others. Like that it’s not a stereotypical “happy ever after” because that would miss the whole point. Not bleak, but not a ‘light hearted happy read’. But one that is real, has substance, and make you a part of the authentic human experience—–just the way a great book should do. (5 stars)
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    – A thoroughly engrossing and enjoyable read. I don’t give out 5 stars very often, but when I do it’s because the book was well-written, entertaining, thought-provoking, and gave me the feels. This book gets 4.5 stars (because of some typos and a few punctuation errors) rounded up to 5. It kept me entertained through some really dark days and for that I’ll round up to the rare 5. I know what’s good. And I know that this book entertained me with a great story driven by good characters that I connected to. I read a great many things across all genres. Some connect and hit home, others seem to be nothing but words on a page. As I read this I found myself really feeling a part of these experiences with these characters and going through things I never imagined, from climbing in Nepal, to writing stories, to making life and death decisions, to family scandals and tragedies, to imprisonment and so, so much more….If you are at all in the mood for a book that is intelligent, complex and profound… written in a literary quality narrative with unforgettable characters and an ending that has you wanting more, this is for you! Recommend for mature readers only. (5 stars)
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    – This is the second book I’ve read by William H. Coles. I liked this one better than the first. But it also has a darker psychological element and a brilliant literary prose that is a rare combination to find and helps make this book stand out from all the others. I very much enjoyed the characters, especially Hiram McDowell (whom the book is named after) and the scope of his figurative journey. I will say though, that it lacked some of the depth I look for in epic fiction and character complexities. However, this is a story that anyone can read and enjoy, not just fans of the genre. There is an underlying universal message here that we can all relate to. The story is powerfully told, easy to follow, and a lot of dialogue to move things along. When I had the opportunity, I was able to burn through it and have a lot of plot go into my head in just a couple of hours. If you’re a story-first kind of reader and love character-driven and dramatic novels, this is definitely for you. Even if Coles’s somewhat unorthodox manner of writing is slightly off-putting at first, I have grown to appreciate it how it adds, rather than detracts, to the overall story. Some adultish scenes and themes and language so best suited for very mature teens on up. (5 stars)

  104. Sefina Hawke

    McDowell by William H. Coles is a literary fiction novel that would appeal most to a diverse audience of young adults and adults who enjoy mystery thrillers. McDowell is an arrogant surgeon and father of three who has a distinguished career. That all changed when his grandson goes on a massive killing spree that only ends with his failed suicide. When the young man dies under suspicious circumstances, McDowell becomes a suspect. McDowell quickly finds himself convicted of second-degree murder and becomes a fugitive. While on the run, McDowell works to set up a new identity and finds himself having to begin his new life at the lowest level of society. Will McDowell’s experiences as a lower class member of society help him to grow as a person or will he remain set in his selfish ways?

    McDowell by William H. Coles was a book that reminded me of the Marvel movie Doctor Strange with how both main characters were arrogant surgeons who seemed to not give much thought or care for those that did not directly affect them. However, this book sets itself apart from Doctor Strange with how McDowell not only lost his career, but also his freedom due to being convicted for his own grandson’s murder. I enjoyed the way that McDowell developed and grew as a character during the course of the book; his journey away from arrogance truly allowed him to undergo massive amounts of character development and introspection. I personally found the way the author ended the book to be both surprising and realistic.

  105. Raanan Geberer

    McDowell: A Novel by William H. Coles is about Dr. Hiram McDowell, an “alpha male” if there ever was one. He heads a Department of Surgery, plays rock guitar, climbs mountains in the Himalayas, runs marathons, has established a hospital in Nepal, and has been elected president of the International College of Surgeons. At home, however, it’s a different story. He acts callously toward his wife, doesn’t care if she knows he has another woman in Nepal, and is only involved superficially with his children’s lives. Now, another surgeon, whom McDowell passed up for executive director of the College of Surgeons, and an aging TV reporter, who’s anxious to prove she’s still relevant, are both on McDowell’s trail, independently of each other. They’ve discovered irregularities in his laboratory and financial improprieties in his charity in Nepal, as well as false statements in his autobiography. And that’s only the first step in his problems—problems that eventually will make him a fugitive on the run.

    McDowell by William H. Coles is an extremely exciting, well-written novel. The medical information, such as it is, is written in a way that laymen can understand. Coles does a good job of taking us into the world of elite upper-class professionals, where ambition and international travel take a front seat, but family unfortunately takes a back seat. We’re not really sure why McDowell is so driven—late in the book, when someone asks him why money and prestige are so important to him, he draws a blank—but he was likely raised that way, since his family was wealthy enough to own a stable of race horses. McDowell has no easy answers; he doesn’t undergo a miraculous transformation into a “good person.” In every way, however, I would recommend McDowell. An excellent book.

  106. Ruffina Oserio

    McDowell by William H. Coles is a literary fiction read that features crime, family, and one man’s epic fall from grace to grass and his pursuit of meaning, inner freedom, and redemption. Meet surgeon McDowell, an arrogant and selfish man who only thinks about himself and his children. But as life always has a way of putting people where they belong, he soon loses his wealth and reputation and his career falls apart, thanks to a grandson who commits a series of murders and yet fails to take his own life. This leaves the family with a vegetable. But then the grandson dies in a mysterious way, and all hands are pointing at McDowell. Read on to experience the family drama, the intense suffering, and how he will make one last attempt to redeem his life after his conviction.

    William H. Coles has written a story that has a lot of entertainment for readers. It is also one that comes with powerful lessons on love and giving. I enjoyed following the journey of the protagonist, watching him descend to the lowest level of society to learn meaning and the real purpose of life in unlikely places. The story is beautifully told, in elegant and crisp prose that will entice readers to keep reading on. The writing features beautiful passages that unveil strong emotions. The story is both emotionally and psychologically charged and readers will love the way the conflict develops and how it drives the plot forward. McDowell is a great story from a master entertainer, a story with powerful lessons for life.

  107. Viga Boland

    Fans of popular fiction might be inclined to pass over books classified as literary fiction. What a mistake that would be in the case of McDowell by William H. Coles. While a good plot is essential to all fiction, in literary fiction the exploration of character takes precedence over plot. And why not? After all, isn’t it what people do, think and feel…what motivates and demotivates them…that either propels them to climb to the summit of their abilities or plummets them into hell on earth?

    This, and what Dr. McDowell, a brilliant, but self-centered surgeon discovers about himself, is what stays with readers after they finish this absorbing story. When we first meet Dr. McDowell, there is little to like about him. His achievements in both business, medicine, mountain climbing and empire building are impressive, but his actions, words, and insensitivity to the needs of his family, friends and colleagues are reprehensible. He is a powerful man and it’s his way or the highway at all times. His only saving grace is his love of his children and the work he does for the poor in Nepal.

    But the latter comes under severe scrutiny once a TV journalist, Paige, is assigned to do a series on the high-profile Dr. McDowell. Bit by bit, McDowell’s world falls apart, coming to a head when he removes his grandson, a mass murderer, from life support. Until the very last page, readers will be debating the real reasons for Dr. McDowell becoming a murderer himself by taking such action, action for which, by the way, he ends up being convicted and imprisoned. But it’s over the years following his escape from prison, that through the people he meets while on the run, McDowell comes face to face with himself. What he learns about himself and others leaves readers thinking about life, art, humanity and our place on this earth in ways we may not yet have pondered. It’s a revelation for both McDowell and readers.

    There’s an interesting twist to McDowell that will capture the minds of aspiring writers. While McDowell is on the run, and as he talks to more and more people, he begins writing his memoir. What he learns about writing, for example, one has to know what makes people do what they do “to write anything significant,” really hits home. It’s something all writers should know. But do they, in their haste to churn out books with fast-moving plots, always create something “significant” It’s William H. Coles’ ability to create something significant, time and again, that has earned him a multitude of writing awards. His bio is impressive; so is his bibliography. Once you read McDowell, you will, like me, be looking for more books by William H. Coles. I can’t wait to get started on the next one in my collection. Not bad for someone who, until McDowell, had forgotten the beauty of literary fiction.

  108. Christian Sia

    McDowell by William H. Coles is a family saga that follows the life of a selfish and arrogant surgeon, who suffers an epic fall from grace, and the path he travels to redemption. McDowell cares for no one but his children. But then he loses everything when his grandson commits multiple murders and fails in his suicide attempt, which leaves him paralyzed mentally. But the boy dies in very unusual circumstances and McDowell gets a conviction for second-degree murder. He is jailed. Now watch as he escapes and lives as a fugitive, pursued by the authorities and a reporter who is just too eager to interview him before the police catch up with him. Watch as he learns the virtues of humanity the hard way, by taking a path trodden by those he despised when he was powerful and rich. It’s a story that follows a man’s transformation, and his somewhat spiritual odyssey to a life that has meaning.

    William H. Coles has created a compelling character in McDowell, a character forced to embrace the essence of humanity by harsh circumstances. Can he really find redemption? It is fascinating how the character evoked powerful emotions in me and how those emotions evolved as I read on. At the beginning of the story, I detested this character, but his inner journey brought me around and, instead of a sense of revulsion for the man he was, I learned to look at him with sympathy. Here is a story that is character-driven and that explores what is essential in human nature. It is a story that is filled with powerful lessons while entertaining readers hugely. I was completely drawn into the dynamics of the story and read through it non stop. Great story, awesome characters, impeccable plot lines.

  109. Kirkus Reviews

    A novel follows a surgeon who possesses all the material comforts anyone could want, but harbors a deep lacking in his soul.
    When readers first meet Hiram McDowell, he is leaving a hiking partner for dead and trying to make it back down a mountain in Nepal in 1981. It’s hard to judge if McDowell is simply callous and cruel or whether this is an issue of survival. Everything readers learn about him in the next few chapters, though, shows he is a pig who treats women like objects and deceives his third wife, Carole Mastriano. He’s also power-hungry, cheating a colleague, Michael O’Leary, out of a post on his way to becoming president of the International College of Surgeons. The one soft spot he has is for his three kids: Billie, who gets in trouble with one of Carole’s daughters; Ann, who copes with a turbulent marriage and mean children; and Sophie, who seeks to find her professional footing as a photographer. The tales start to converge when Paige Sterling, a journalist in her 50s fighting sexism at her network to keep her job, is assigned to cover McDowell’s story. Tragedy befalls the family when Ann’s son Jeremy goes on a killing spree, which leads to McDowell’s ultimate downfall when he is convicted of murdering the culprit in his hospital bed. McDowell escapes from prison and begins an unlikely association with a bookstore owner named Maud and her family. That gives him a chance at spiritual redemption while Sterling and the police try to hunt him down. Coles (Sister Carrie, 2016, etc.) has a knack for creating distinct characters. From McDowell to the members of Sterling’s crew in Nepal, they all have their own personalities. No player is wasted as a mere plot device. The author also expertly weaves together varied threads, though there are certain points where the story jumps forward past important action. But Billie revealing his indiscretions and his desire to be an artist; Sophie struggling to find herself after her partner is murdered; Ann navigating her marriage; and Sterling using unexpected opportunities all dovetail well with McDowell’s arc.
    This worthy tale delivers an epic feel and strong characters.

  110. Lisa Brown-Gilbert

    William H. Coles’McDowell doses readers with literate medicine for the mind and soul, with a distinctive and engrossing work of dramatic fiction that craftily embeds a story of self-discovery within the world of the modern medical profession. It delves into the life and psyche of surgeon Hiram McDowell, a medical professional at the pinnacle of his success who dwells at the lowest points of morality.

    From the story’s outset, readers will find they are immediately engrossed in the life of protagonist Dr. Hiram McDowell. He lives a dual existence in his world which teems, with wealth, opportunity and privilege. To the outside world he wears the facade of an ambitious humanitarian and expert in his field, but to those who know him more intimately he is morally flawed with only his own interests and needs at heart. Altogether, McDowell severely lacks in common human decency; he is crude to his family, ignores and openly cheats on his wife, looks only to serve his goals within his profession, revels in deceptiveness, steps on the toes of colleagues and misappropriated charitable funds. Moreover, the focus of the story is not just mainly on McDowell; it also brings into focus his family dynamic and the effects that his behavior therefore has on his family, particularly his two closest children.

    Ultimately, he makes enemies out of those that once trusted him and perpetuates conflicts of self- esteem within those that attempt to love him. An almost seemingly hopeless cause, it piques the curiosity to see where things go for him. Eventually McDowell’s moral deficiencies become his complete downfall and he is consequently forced to live a life of poverty and solitude with his wealth, fame and power far removed from his life. Forced to live as an itinerant fugitive, and meanwhile, surviving by his wits, he gradually learns, to humble himself and become a more humane human for his survival among everyday folk.

    Wholly, enjoyable McDowell was a richly realized and realistically detailed read that was character driven and moved at a balanced pace. Hiram McDowell turned out to be a strongly posed, despicable and simultaneously engrossing character whose ethical flaws catalyzed his journey to his self discovery. Overall, author William H. Coles writes with a literate aplomb that is both evocative and entertaining especially when it comes to detailing aspects of the medical profession and facets of human nature. My only contention about this read is the presence of some minor editing issues. But, issues aside, this was a worthy read and I do recommend it.

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