McDowell by William H. Coles is an engrossing audiobook that follows a surgeon who loses everything because of his character. McDowell is an exceptional surgeon and as he grows in fame within his ranks, his callous behavior and pride make him unpopular among his colleagues. Even if he has connections with the White House, things become complicated for him when his grandson goes wild, commits a serious crime, and becomes a vegetable after attempting suicide. His suspicious death attracts the attention of the authorities who go after McDowell, who is convicted of second-degree murder and imprisoned. McDowell escapes prison and becomes a pariah, living on the fringes of society. Can he ever rebuild his dignity and humanity?
McDowell is a novel for readers who enjoy characters with a strong tragic flaw. McDowell’s world is rich and success seems to follow him everywhere until he is driven by arrogance and pride to make mistakes that cost him everything. The author writes beautiful descriptions and while the protagonist is a tragic hero, he also attracts the sympathy of readers. I kept asking the question: Isn’t he suffering more than he deserves for his crimes? The humanity of the characters, especially that of the protagonist, is expertly written. The story is read by the author himself and his voice allows the different elements of the writing to come out clearly — drama, plot points, points of view, and character. The audio is professionally recorded and audible. I had a lot of fun following the protagonist and wanting to know how the story ends.