William H. Coles’ McDowell is a page-turner that you cannot stop reading until you finish it. This fast-paced and engaging novel tells the story of a reputable surgeon, Hiram McDowell. He is presented at the beginning as a self-centered and arrogant man who cares only for himself and his children. Even though he reaches the top of his profession, he is even better at falling out with his relatives and colleagues. After a personal tragedy, however, McDowell’s perfect world collapses. After being convicted of murder and escaping from prison, McDowell begins a long physical and mental journey that makes him reconsider his relationships with other human beings. He also starts writing his memoirs with the hope of clearing his name.
McDowell is not a short book, but I read it in one sitting. The story is consistent and logical, but many turns of events keep you in suspense. Coles’ style is dynamic, and his descriptions and dialogues are enthralling. Even though McDowell is the most complex and interesting character, the others are equally remarkable. Many of them are well rounded and likable, as in the case of his daughter Sophie, and they are likable despite their flaws, as is the reporter Paige. Most importantly, the message of McDowell is a very meaningful one. This book makes you reflect on the merciless scrutiny of people and the press and the consequences in a person’s life. It also makes significant remarks about the value of life itself. I recommend McDowell to every reader who likes books discussing important issues such as those Coles presents in his amazing novel.