Review by Supergirl1 -- McDowell by William H. Coles

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Review by Supergirl1 -- McDowell by William H. Coles

Post by Supergirl1 » 27 Oct 2018, 13:39

[Following is a volunteer review of "McDowell" by William H. Coles.]
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4 out of 4 stars
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Hiram McDowell is a ruthless go-getter, emphasis on ruthless. He pursues his dreams without recourse to any hurt feelings. His emotionless way of life has him on marriage number three; also on a rapid spiral down the drain. Not that this bothers him in the least. His life eventually spirals out of control, so much that he gets imprisoned. Why? For me, the real story begins here. Little does Hiram know he has just embarked on a soul-searching journey of redemption.

McDowell is a timeless story of life, told from every angle. The protagonist does not see himself as a bad guy. He just has no time for sentiment or emotion. To his family, he is hardly anyone but the guy that provides them with cash. To many of his colleagues, he is nothing but an over-ambitious fellow. And to society, he is the charming doctor with a golden heart. This book gives a realistic reflection on human perception and its shortcomings.

For all suspense lovers, this book would be an absolute treat. It kept me guessing until the unexpected end. I found the story so engaging that I read it straight through to the very end, giving it the better part of a weekend. I also love that the story showcased a few aspects of Nepalese culture, for example, the inhuman practice of Chaupadi. Chaupadi is a tradition that considers girls unclean and unfit to live in the house with other family members when they are menstruating. Despite having been abolished in 2004 by court order, this practice is still widespread in Nepal.

McDowell should be used as a glowing example of great character development. The character of Hiram, the protagonist, is undeniably the best developed, but the author also does justice to the secondary characters. For example, we see Hiram’s son Billy grow from a rather spineless guy to a responsible young man and a better father than Hiram was. Sophie and Paige are other characters I found interesting as well.

The overall theme of redemption struck a chord with me. It emphasizes the belief that if one is willing and able, they can cultivate kindness and other good qualities regardless of their past actions. Of course, there may be no escape from punishment for bad deeds done in the past, as that might be a perversion of justice. This is why although this story ends on a rather sad note, I feel it’s the best way it could have ended.

This is a book I think everyone will enjoy and benefit from. It’s a little difficult for me to recommend it to a specific group. However, if you love crime and family related stories, you should get yourself a copy to read. It has been professionally edited, and I found no grammar errors. McDowell deserves 4 out of 4 stars and gets it from me.

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Post by Ruba Abu Ali » 07 Nov 2018, 08:42

I like the life lessons learned the hard way that this book offers. Thank you for the thorough review.

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Post by gali » 07 Nov 2018, 08:48

A story about guilt and redemption sounds intriguing, but the protagonist doen't sound like someone I can relate to. It is good that the secondary characters are well developed and not just the main protagonist. That the book was well edited is to its credit. Not my cup of tea, but I am glad the story kept you guessing until the end. Thank you for the review!
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Post by fernsmom » 07 Nov 2018, 08:51

Great review! Having read McDowell myself I can say you summed up Hiram very well. I was surprised by the ending, and wasn't my favorite part of the book.

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Post by Kister Bless » 07 Nov 2018, 08:51

I reviewed this book sometime back and I must confess that it's a great with great life lessons. I would recommend it to the lovers of books that talk about self-redemption. Great review.

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Post by Cher432 » 07 Nov 2018, 09:02

I remember being fascinated by McDowell when I read the book. He is a very complex character that will certainly captivate readers. I was quite satisfied with how the book ended as it was true to life. Congrats on BOTD.

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Post by Ehartl » 07 Nov 2018, 09:09

I absolutely love character-driven stories! This one sounds like a winner with a protagonist that I would love to hate or hate to love. The mention of suspense is an added bonus. I can’t wait to read it!

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Post by briellejee » 07 Nov 2018, 09:11

I liked how you mentioned the Nepalese culture has also been highlighted somehow in the book. It makes me even curious! Coles has been known for his superb character development in his books and I can say I am not surprised anymore but I am still in awe that he delivers it perfectly. Thanks for your review!
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Post by sszb » 07 Nov 2018, 09:17

I have rejected this book at first sight due to its cover. Black and white cover felt like a book full of depressing stories. Later on, I read it's review and find out its an interesting story. I have acquired the book and read it. The book is full of amazing transition from wealthy ruthless man towards spiritual awakening.
This book deserves to be the BOTD and BOTM. Congratulations to the author.
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Post by stacie k » 07 Nov 2018, 09:18

Excellent character development and a suspenseful plot are strengths of this book. The theme of redemption and the opportunity to learn about the culture of Nepal are also appealing to me.
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Post by Miriam Molina » 07 Nov 2018, 09:19

I also found McDowell fascinating though I caught quite a few errors which made me downgrade my rating to 3 stars. Dr. Coles is one writer I truly admire for his extraordinarily ordinary characters. I believe there is a Hiram in each of us. We all tend to be self-serving in various degrees, and we all have the capacity for selflessness.

Thanks for the engaging review.

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Post by kandscreeley » 07 Nov 2018, 09:21

I do enjoy the characters found in Mr. Coles' novels. McDowell sounds like another interesting and realistic character that you love to hate, at least at the beginning. Thanks for the great review.
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Post by LV2R » 07 Nov 2018, 09:28

I agree with you that the author did a very good job in developing McDowell's character. I could hardly believe how "bad" and selfish he was in the first half of the book. I like the redemption theme as well because McDowell was able to change and become more appreciative of others and show some kindness.

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Post by cpru68 » 07 Nov 2018, 09:30

I read this book in October and found myself not enjoying it because of the way the character acted at the beginning of the book much like what you described here. I find it interesting to read your review and see your opinion because it shows that we all look at different angles to things. Your thoughts on character devolpment and this book are true. Hiram is certainly a puzzle. Great job on this review.
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Post by CinWin » 07 Nov 2018, 09:32

Very thorough review. The part about Chaupadi was an added bonus. Unbelievable that this still happens in this day and age! Thanks for the wonderful review. You explained the entire book very well.
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