Review from
In William H. Coles’ McDowell, the influence of greed drives a respected general surgeon and devoted father to use morally and ethically questionable tactics to rise to power as the President of the board of directors of the International College of Surgeons. During Part I of the two-part, 662-page novel, Hiram McDowell seems to be almost completely motivated by base instincts. The reader develops an understanding of McDowell as a powerful and wealthy man who takes what and who he wants with no regard to the consequences of his actions. The reader watches as Hiram makes a myriad of miscalculations that lead to the unravelling of his life, creating a sense of just appropriation that turns out to be short-lived.
In Part 2, the tone softens as Hiram searches for the answers to some of life’s most elusive questions. The egomaniacal character that the reader discovers in Part 1 fades as Hiram develops more sophisticated emotions that curtail the greed and lust. Though Hiram’s development appears to be authentic, the question of Hiram’s moral fortitude never completely goes away. Part of what makes Hiram such an interesting character is that he is openly conflicted with his thoughts on what it means to love, to be a good person, and to be successful. Hiram is relatable, if not understandable, to anyone who has ever wondered what it means to be a good parent.
McDowell was an absolute pleasure to read. The story is skillfully woven into a series of twist and turns that engages the reader and encourages the type of up-all-night reading binges that is exciting to discover. The reader gains valuable insights about their own life through their adventures with Hiram, and ultimately must decide for themselves whether Hiram is vindicated at the end.
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