I became a strong fan of William H. Coles after reading his novels The Surgeon’s Wife, The Spirit of Want, and Guardian of Deceit, so when I stumbled on McDowell, I knew it would be another spellbinding and well-written story. I wasn’t wrong. It is the same powerful and unique literary voice, focused and steady. With his unique style and signature, Coles creates another compelling character in Hiram McDowell, a successful and respectable surgeon, a man with a dubious character that quickly drives his peers to resentment and makes them want to destroy him. Becoming a member of the President’s cabinet is something very coveted, but a crime is about to sink McDowell. Can he muster up enough fight to restore a reputation that is so badly damaged?
William H. Coles has the unique style of inventing characters from the medical world and he writes so well about them that readers feel as though they are watching medical professionals confronting the challenges of their profession. The characters are sophisticated and elaborate, each with a solid background and a personality that is well defined. The prose is always impeccable, with descriptions that hit home with stunning clarity. Just in the opening lines, the protagonist is introduced in action and elements of the setting are captured in a vivid picture: “The sky cleared briefly before daybreak. The sharp bitter winds eased somewhat, but the negative forty-degree temperatures penetrated to the bone. Hiram McDowell lifted the flap of a one-man tent to look in on Erick Woolf, who turned his head, his beard tinged in frost-white from his labored breathing; Woolf lifted his goggles, his pale blue eyes opaque with fatigue.” McDowell is suspenseful and hugely entertaining, a novel that explores human nature and confronts readers with the dilemmas of the protagonist. This author knows what it takes to rattle the nerves of the reader.