4 out of 4 stars
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McDowell by William H. Coles is the story of a well traveled, well known, and respected doctor with a very narcissistic nature. The premise of the story is that Hiram McDowell is facing legal issues, that ultimately leads to his descent into rock bottom, and his subsequent journey to self discovery and redemption. Along the way, he meets and interacts with people from all walks of life that teach him important lessons, and bring him feelings he never experienced in the days of his success. He also had things to contribute in return and they helped build his character.
I rated this book a 4 out of 4 stars. The book's editing was perfect in my opinion. What I liked most about this novel was the element of realism in the story. So full of substance, Coles's imaginative brain could not have picked a better way to portray Hiram McDowell. His complex nature from start to finish and the way he interacted with the side characters was, although brutish at first, very humble as the story progressed. The maturation process wasn't just specific to McDowell, the side characters also had their own way of coming in to their own as people.
The book was great overall, but what I liked least about it was the perpetual victimization of many of the female characters. I will say, their stories did shed major light on the harsh treatment of women in many avenues of life. However, it seemed to be slightly overdone. In spite of this, I realized these parts of the book were absolutely necessary for the character development of McDowell and the women involved. So, in turn, my rating still stands.
The audience I feel would most enjoy this book are adults that love gritty, rough, realistic novels like McDowell. This book is definitely not for the faint of heart. Adults with a thirst for the darkness and unfairness of society in a compelling and engaging book are looking for McDowell. Cole's novel shouldn't go over any crime buff's head, as it is something even someone that is not super keen on crime novels would eat up. This book reintroduced me to the world of crime thrillers and I am very glad I read it.
I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone under the age of 18. The few violent parts are descriptive enough for it not to be appropriate for anyone under 18. To add, the mature themes and brutal things that were insinuated in the story are not suited for minors. This novel had some very strong content and tended to err on the side of practicality, which was consistent from start to finish. The author did an amazing job, and I was pleased to find out he has more books out there.
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