McDowell by William H. Coles is an audiobook narrated by the author himself, the tale of one man’s struggle to find meaning after losing everything. McDowell is at the peak of his professional life as a surgeon, a man who even got accepted into the president’s cabinet. But his pride and arrogance make him lose points amongst his peers. Things begin to change for him when his grandson goes on a killing spree, attempts suicide and fails, ending up as a vegetable. His death under suspicious circumstances gets McDowell convicted and jailed for second-degree murder. McDowell escapes prison and lives on the fringes of society, avoiding capture while struggling to find meaning in life. Can he evade the authorities, find a way to start again, or will he sink even deeper?
McDowell begins with an expedition up the Himalayas, which is symbolic. The views from up there are wonderful, and the sense of achievement reaching the peak of the mountain is exhilarating. When the reader meets McDowell, he is at the height of success. The journey of the protagonist is one that readers will want to study. He is a compelling character with a serious tragic flaw — his arrogance. And it eventually leads to his downfall. The transformation that takes place in him after his escape from prison will draw readers as they watch a once successful surgeon seek to rebuild his humanity. The pathos is strong and the author keeps it real.
The story is well-narrated and it features a strong cast of characters. The protagonist is a multidimensional character and I enjoyed listening to the changes that happen in his life. The audio is clear and the author’s narrative voice is strong, mimicking the pace of the story. It is filled with drama and realism, a story that will touch intimate chords in readers and awaken them to their own sense of humanity.