4 out of 4 stars
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William H. Coles’s McDowell offers the whole spectrum of human emotions, ranging from anger at Hiram’s behavior to admiration for his efforts to change his ways. I found the supporting characters to be quite complex and intriguing, providing a broader picture of Hiram’s personality.
McDowell is a book comprised of 354 pages, divided into 2 parts, 36 chapters each. The first part is meant to provide us with the pieces to the puzzle that is Hiram’s character. We get a glimpse into his life and his relationships with his family, family made up from Carole, his third wife, and their children from previous marriages. Hiram McDowell is a world-class surgeon, leading the International College of Surgeons, and managing a medical foundation in Nepal, where he spends a great amount of time climbing mountain peaks when he’s not working for the foundation. An unfortunate turn of events puts Hiram on a path to confronting the consequences of his behavior. The second part is designed as a redemption story, Hiram having to deal with the aftermath of his wrongdoings and try to make amends, looking for a deeper meaning in his life, all while writing his memoir trying to prove his innocence. During the 36 chapters we are introduced to multiple new characters meant to showcase Hiram’s progress in his quest for redemption.
What I like about William H. Coles’s McDowell is the variety of human relationships and experiences we encounter throughout the book. We come across taboo topics such as incest, gay relationships, gun control, topics which fit right into the story and don’t feel forced or out of place. The narrative is engaging and kept me intrigued throughout the 354 pages.
What I did not like about the book is the disorderly manner in which the author plays with the narrative timeline. Presenting the same event from different points of view is certainly interesting and helps us better understand the action, but the time-frame is not laid out for the reader so it can become confusing at times.
This book will appeal to a wide range of readers, especially crime and mystery lovers. If you enjoy a book that will keep you guessing until the end, this is a great one for you. Also, there were no notable grammatical mistakes which is quite a feat considering the length of the story. For all of the above-mentioned reasons, I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars.
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