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  1. First understand this. Dr. Hiram McDowell was once a despicable individual. As Charles Dicken’s wrote in the holiday classic, “A Christmas Carol,” this must be understood or no good can come from this story. William H. Coles has written this tale of a shabby protagonist to show how free will and hubris can ruin a person’s life. From the very first page of the novel we see this talented doctor failing to come to the aid of others in need in his quest to reach the top. Over and over, McDowell makes choices in his life that compromise his integrity and lead him to the height of this medical profession. He is an admired and lauded surgeon, but his heart and soul are black as ink and his immorality ultimately inspires colleagues and friends to try and destroy him.

    It is his own failings and fate that topples Dr. Hiram McDowell. His fall from grace, after a family tragedy, is epic, spiraling and surprising. Coles has written a tale of how a once wealthy and successful doctor can eventually lose everything, including his freedom. Written in a spare, concise and highly readable style, you will come to hate Hiram McDowell and then root for his personal redemption. But will he be able to save himself after doing such damage to the world around him? Will he come to recognize that his tragic fall from grace to the depths of despair were of his own making? And will his full story ever be truly told?

    These are among the essential questions posed by William H. Coles, an acclaimed and award-winning author of short stories, as well as essays on writing, interviews and novels. (Coles also is the creator of the web site, http://www.storyinliteraryfiction.com, where aspiring writers can learn the craft through exemplary examples.) “McDowell” is a perfect example of great writing; a deeply human story that all readers can relate to and learn from. It’s a cautionary tale that directs us to take stock in our own personal choices and decisions. It’s the ultimate human story, told on a grand stage with simplicity and grace.

  2. An Extraordinary – and Entertaining – Work of Fiction!
    Coles is the winner of nearly 40 awards for his fiction, and I can see why. After reading McDowell and listening to a few of his short stories on his website, I believe he must be one of the most talented and prolific writers of our time.
    McDowell grabs your attention immediately, as Hiram McDowell is attempting to scale a snowy mountain peak in Nepal. Near the summit, his fellow-climber falls from exhaustion and pleads for McDowell to help him. The result sets the tone for the rest of the novel.
    McDowell, a world-renown surgeon and philanthropist, lives a posh and acclaimed existence. On his third marriage, this one for convenience, he only shows love for his three children. McDowell feels he has earned the right to whatever he wants (and in some ways he has, with all he has done in the medical world) but his hubris will be his fall when a terrible tragedy strikes his family.
    Author William H. Coles writes a powerful story of self-discovery, retribution, and grief that covers the gamut of how the press can build or destroy a reputation, how we ourselves must live with the consequences of our actions, and what happens when dollars replace compassion in science.
    Coles, an ophthalmic surgeon, brings his own experiences into this riveting tale. And his work will appeal to readers and writers alike. As a writer myself, I can’t say enough about his website, where he shares his wealth of information and resources with writers. You really need to visit it. He is also a lecturer and collector of antique furniture, a jazz musician, a painter, and a professor. He’s nothing short of amazing.
    This is literary fiction at its best – but not the kind your teachers made you read. It’s entertaining, gripping, and leaves the reader with the desire to pick up another of Cole’s books. I can’t wait to see what he’s working on next. I highly recommend McDowell.

  3. Review from OnlineBookClub.org
    McDowell is one of those books that will leave you pondering. You’ll laugh, cry, feel hatred, judgmental, and even revise your initial judgment of the main character.
    William H. Cole’s McDowell is a fascinating story. It is an in-depth portrayal of the principle of cause and effect. Of what you do today might haunt you tomorrow. This set me thinking about the lives we lead. Which I believe is the primary purpose of this story to set you thinking. The first half of the book showed Hiram in all his glory. As a man who is in charge of his life. But the second half portrayed him as a total float that is driven by his situations. Often alone he tries as much as possible never to be found as he journeys from place to place meeting new people and hiding from the law. It appears he would not have had this experience if he was just a little more attentive to people when he had money, power, and fame.
    Read the entire review here…

  4. Review from OnlineBookClub.org
    McDowell by William H. Coles is a fantastic read. The characters, both primary and secondary, are so well written and developed that they were what drove the plotline. Hiriam McDowell is a top surgeon that has all the comforts that anyone could desire, but he lacks compassion for not only his colleagues but his family as well. Can Hiriam learn to have empathy for others? It might take a big change in his life, but I think so.
    There are multiple themes explored in this book that could challenge other people’s morals. One being the misogynist main character, especially since he kept being overly focused on women’s imperfections. This leads to moments of infidelity, which stemmed mostly from the dislike of his spouse.
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  5. Review from OnlineBookClub.org
    There are a series of things I loved about the book, McDowell. Starting from how it teaches that immediate judgement of a person is not the best way to go about things. When the matter arises, we must listen to both sides then later present our judgement so as to prevent being bias. Also the case that success doesn’t have to always be about money. It should be about making a change as well as earning an honest and decent living, thus working selflessly. It also emphasis on the benefit of family and not being with a person just so you can earn something from them. Hiram saw the need to destroy anything that will drag him down out of the way as he felt the world needed to serve him which shouldn’t be the case. This is because the statement is in the opposite of what is to be actually done.
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  6. Review from OnlineBookClub.org
    I liked the outstanding character development in this book. Hiram McDowell is a flawed man. Most books have one-dimensional characters, either all good or all bad. McDowell is very multi-dimensional. He is very bad, self-centered, and selfish. But there is also a good side to him. He does love his children, even if he is not good at showing it. His hospital in Nepal does do good work. But he sees nothing wrong in using the charity’s money for his personal use. He doesn’t understand why people dislike him. This book is also filled with other interesting and well-defined characters, including his children, Paige the news reporter, and Max Rojas the detective.
    Read the entire review here…

  7. Review from OnlineBookClub.org
    This novel reminds me of the literary classics where colorful and versatile pictures are depicted of the contemporary societies and where the main character undergoes a profound transformation. I also liked the epigraphs at the beginning of specific chapters. I think the author is a master of creating authentic ambiances with dialogues and style (e.g., the professional language used on the ethics board meeting; the slang spoken in the streets of Seattle).
    I highly appreciate the fine character drawings in the novel and think the pen-and-ink sketch of McDowell on the cover fits very well to the book.
    This book is not about merely Hiram McDowell’s life; it is about life with Hiram McDowell participating in it. I recommend this novel to those who like reading high-quality literature. I wholeheartedly rate it 4 out of 4 stars.
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  8. Review from OnlineBookClub.org
    This book was a very satisfying read for me, because the details and story development are written very precisely, with little to no “fluff” or unnecessary information. I was able to turn the pages quickly and without confusion as to what was going on. Although I was never confused, I also never knew what was going to happen next, and thoroughly enjoyed the unpredictability of the plot.
    I think that the author accurately depicted the difficult and often tumultuous road of self-exploration. In real life, we often get caught up in what we think success should look like, and forget to keep our feet on the ground. I am certain that anyone who reads this book will know someone who shares characteristics with McDowell, and it may even be themselves. By leading the reader on a journey of self-reflection with his main character, Coles shows the reader that we should pay attention to the roadblocks we face in our own lives, because an unexpected change of direction may be exactly what we need.
    Read the entire review here…

  9. Review from OnlineBookClub.org
    Have you ever read a healthy story that’s gripping right from the beginning? Well, McDowell by William H. Coles is one of those stories.
    This is one of the great art of writing that the author gifted to the readers. The suspense in the story was intense and the ending of the story aroused shock and grief. The plot and characters are well developed. Though the plot portrayed gross output, the author was careful not to disappoint the sensitive and weak souls by not adding explicit and graphic scenes.
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  10. Review from OnlineBookClub.org
    McDowell is a book everyone will love to read. The book has, a structure that you can’t even predict what will happen next, so as you read, event comes as a surprise which makes the reading interesting in the book, the author tried to use words, that makes the story looks real. What I love about the book is the plot telling about the life of Hiram McDowell and, others around him. And I also like the way the writer titled some chapters making the reader follow up. During the course of my reading, I don’t think there is anything that made me hate the book, so for that I will recommend this book for anyone who has interest in reading it.
    I sincerely enjoyed this book and, I will rate it 4 out of 4 stars. The author has created an effective story. I gave it this rating because, the book deserves it, also for the plot and the characters being used, it is really mind bending. I’m sure anyone who reads it will love it.
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  11. Review from OnlineBookClub.org
    I like the most about this book is how it can bring a catharsis to any reader. Hiram accomplishes a great way to involve the readers from his behavior, actions, and experiences. He can encourage the readers to discourage by making things complicated. The story is professionally edited and well-written. It hits the emotional quotient of the reader, and it maintains the connection between the characters and the reader.
    I rate McDowell 4 out of 4 stars. The clear description of the customs, culture, and tradition of some places was also emphasized by the author. I would highly endorse this for those people who love character-based story, suspense and self-discovery books. It hits the emotional quotient of the reader, and it maintains the connection between the characters and the reader. It helps us to see that the true redemption is seized when you accept the future consequences for your past mistakes.
    Read the entire review here…

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