4 out of 4 stars
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McDowell, written by William H. Coles, was absolutely captivating throughout. It presents the characters and scenes in a way that makes them truly believable, and makes one forget it is a fictional read. The way it made me feel, as I read the beginning, contradicted how I felt by the ending. I found myself deeply drawn into the text and couldn't wait to continue on to each chapter to find out what conflict would arise next. The story was very well-written, leaving no room for confusion, without being overly redundant.
This gripping tale chronicles vengeance, a plummet from power and wealth, consequence, life on the run, and self-realization. It all comes together quite wonderfully, bringing the main character, Hiram McDowell, into the center of an array of other great supporting characters. Hiram is presented as being a bit cold-natured and indifferent to the effects of his actions, in the beginning of the story. Because of this, I felt dislike towards him and believed that the unfortunate events that befell him were fair. As I neared the end, though, and he began to transition into a more thoughtful human being, I began to wish that he would get a second chance...
McDowell focuses on Hiram and the events in his life. A somewhat celebrated surgeon, he believes that the higher he climbs, whether it be up the tallest mountain or up the professional ladder, the more fulfilled he will be. Never much of a family man, his children Sophie, Billie, and Ann see him as more of a sense of financial security than as a father. Sophie gradually becomes closer to him and remains a main contact during Hiram's journey to self-discovery. Paige Sterling, a strong female news anchor, eventually befriends Sophie, though she was a target enemy of Hiram's and played a role in his downfall. As Hiram reflects on what makes people do what they do, he works on writing a memoir that will point out the injustice that he's been dealt. He meets a variety of people along the way that serve as both friendships and sources of advice.
The level of tragedy and suspense, to me, makes the story seem more relatable and down to earth. Descriptions of situations in the story were not overdone or underdone, but given in just the right amount to make the reader feel and hold on to that feeling. I appreciate this quality of writing and feel it enhances the interest created. This is what I like most. There were moments while reading that I sat on the edge of my seat, wondering when it would reach the point of no return. When it finally did, it was in a satisfying way, dulling the loss of suspense that had been present throughout. What I disliked the most while reading was the lack of information regarding the whereabouts of characters that were more prominent in the beginning.
I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. The writing style was fantastic and it kept me wanting more. It would be appealing to both male and female audiences, but younger individuals may not be suited to read it. There are some vulgarities that may be offensive to some. These are not overwhelming, though, and were incorporated smoothly into the storyline. Overall, it is a good read, providing a unique look into to the mind of a man who needed a wildly harsh experience in order to change for the better.
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