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3.63  ·  Rating details ·  115 ratings  ·  43 reviews

An admired and lauded surgeon climbs to the top of his profession. But his callous and questionably moral determination angers colleagues and friends who vow to destroy him. He becomes a member of the President’s cabinet when a personal family tragedy presents him with a dilemma that leads to a felonious crime. When his world of wealth and privilege collapses, only time

Kindle Edition, 472 pages
Published August 22nd 2015 by
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Average rating 3.63  · 
Rating details
 ·  115 ratings  ·  43 reviews

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Oct 23, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, netgalley, e-book
Writing a good story with a deeply dislikeable main character is a difficult task, and unfortunately, I don’t think the author pulled it off here. While the central theme was solid enough, the execution left a lot to be desired. Too many paper thin characters and plot points that are skimmed over and rushed.

This was an FRC in exchange for an honest review. With thanks to Netgalley and BookBuzz.Net
TaQuanda Taylor
This was hard to get through. The story jumped all over the place and I couldn't figure out what the story was actually about.
Grant Leishman
Aug 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Reviewed For Readers' Favorite by Grant Leishman

McDowell by William H Coles brings us the tale of a man who, having reached the top of his profession, self-destructs and loses it all, then attempts to rebuild his life from scratch. McDowell is a world-renowned surgeon, lauded by all as one of the best in the business and he knows it. This overachiever climbs mountains in his spare time and has summitted Everest along with most of the highest peaks in Nepal. He is known by all as cold, ruthless
Susan Keefe
Nov 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Oh how the mighty fall…

Multiple award willing literary fiction author William H. Coles has used his life experiences in the worlds of medicine, music, and writing to create this unforgettable thriller filled with mystery and suspense. Creator of a resources website for the authors, illustrators and readers, William Cole lives and writes in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The stories main character Hiram McDowell is a respected surgeon, set on a glorious path to success. However,
Marissa Kasang
Oct 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is written from the omnipresent third person's view which gave me the feeling of being introduced to each character and has made me preoccupied while reading this book, with the characters in living their respective lives.

There are two parts in this book: Part One and Part Two. Part One described more about Hiram McDowell whose profession is a surgeon, he is a world class mountain climber and a philanthropist (in a minuscule way) for the healthcare foundation in Nepal.

Part two is
Nila Eslit
Oct 26, 2018 rated it liked it
William H. Coles' "McDowell" follows the story of Hiram McDowell, a famous surgeon, and a skilled mountain climber. Hiram is a self-centered man who cares for no one except his children. He may be a fictitious character, but sadly, Hiram represents many people in the real world where fame and recognition are the only things that matter to them. But, no matter how despicable he may seem to his colleagues, Hiram McDowell is not beyond change and remorse. After all, no person is inherently bad.

Eleanor Luhar
Dec 28, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Thanks to for providing me with the opportunity to read and review this.

This was, in my opinion, a very strange book. I shall attempt to summarise the plot briefly, but I'm afraid I am going to find it quite difficult. The plot was very... [i]all over the place[/i], for lack of a better term.

As the title suggests, this novel follows the life of Hiram McDowell, a wealthy surgeon and father. He has been married several times, and is currently with his wife Carole, who has two
Oct 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
“The motives and means of McDowell’s death will always be front page interest”

Utah author William H. Coles, MD is a retired Ophthalmologist whose medical career was internationally lauded for his expertise as an ophthalmic surgeon specializing in ocular injury repair and reconstruction, a professor and chairman at SUNY Buffalo School of Medicine, a Regent for The American College of Surgeons, president of the Association of University Professors in Ophthalmology, and lecturer on mechanistic
Mar 22, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: at-least-i-tried
I couldn’t finish it.

I’ll give it one star for making an attempt at the difficult art of writing a character the reader is supposed to dislike (and because I don’t have a lesser choice). It’s hard to portray these characters. I get it.

With that said, this just felt poorly written no matter how many awards the author throws in the heading.
William Coles
Jul 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
Award-wining novel with in depth characterization and dramatic plot that demands to be read to the finish. The fifth novel by William H. Coles available in many formats including audio.
Savannah Rose
Dec 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
McDowell is a novel by award-winning author William H. Coles. The story centers around Dr. Hiram McDowell and deals with issues of morality, justice, and personal development.

The reader is introduced to the deeply-flawed Dr. McDowell; a brash and arrogant man on his third marriage. Beyond his character deficits, we learn of the hospital he has built in Nepal and the charitable foundation he founded.

Dr. McDowell’s ambition leads him to the top of his field, but his questionable methods in
Dec 04, 2018 rated it liked it
McDowell by William H. Coles was interesting in that it discussed taboo subjects. By that, I mean, subjects that normally society shies away from. Such as euthanasia; it’s a huge part of this book and it was interesting to see various points of view on it. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes also touches on that subject. In Me Before You the main character decides to do it himself. It ultimately affects a lot of people in the main character’s life. Much like it affects the family and ultimately friends ...more
Norm Goldman
Jan 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing

In McDowell: A Novel, Award-Winning author William H. Coles explores the life-altering consequences of Dr. Hiram McDowell who rises to the pinnacle of his profession only to see his life turned completely upside down owing to his many indiscretions.
While at the top, Hiram was President of the Board of Regents of the International College of Surgeons, a department head of surgery in a prestigious hospital in Denver, founder of a philanthropic organization for the care of the indigent in Nepal, a
Stephanie H.
Dec 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This novel is gripping and provocative with a multilayered, intricately-woven plot. The characters have been developed very well and for the most part are not what I expected them to be when they were first introduced. Most importantly, the book evoked many conflicting emotions in me and left me wondering what is truly right and wrong, as well as what we should do when a person or an action falls squarely into the moral gray area.

Hiram McDowell is a nationally-acclaimed surgeon with
Jan Anderegg
May 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Hiram McDowell is easy to dislike from the very beginning of this story. His arrogance and callous disregard for anyone but himself overwhelm entirely any sense of admiration for the esteemed career position he holds. In fact, this main character was so distasteful in every aspect of his personality, I was almost reluctant to continue reading more about him. In this, William H. Coles did a brilliant job.
Despite my intense distaste for the main character, the story became intriguing as the plot
John J.
Dec 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Pamela Gossiaux
Jan 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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
Emi Bevacqua
Nov 07, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
Hiram McDowell's life is complex: married three times with three children plus step-kids, living and working in hospitals in Denver and Louisville and Kathmandu, plus spending time in Chicago on the board for the International College of Surgeons. He is egotistical and obsessive by nature, with an utter lack of empathy and disregard for the feelings of others; the way he talks to and about everyone is caustic, withering and unforgivable and yet nobody addresses any of this ever, and he has sex ...more
Please Pass the Books
May 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
McDowell by William H. Coles is an engrossing piece of literary fiction surrounding the rise, fall, and ultimate redemption of Dr. Hiram McDowell. McDowell is both the story's protagonist and, as he truly is his own worst enemy, also the catalyst for his demise. This snowballs from years of narcissism, callous behavior, and a 'win at any cost' attitude. He's blameless in his own eyes. Blameless for failed marriages, for his vengeful colleagues, and for the frailty of his own family—which ...more
Ivan Hecimovic
Aug 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
McDowell is strange novel. There is not much novels (at least, I am not familiar with them) in which the author writes about a protagonist who we need to dislike. I am not going to say, “Hate’’ because hatred is a bit too strong word. Nevertheless, as I said- I have not read many novels like this one and as such I wanted to go through it, to the end, just to see what is it all about with this “McDowell guy.’’
Well, first of all Mr. McDowell is not some random “guy’’ you can pick on the street.
Mar 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
McDowell is about a surgeon named Hiram McDowell, who is pretty much disliked by everyone. His family is a complete wreck and his relationships remain distant.
He created a foundation hospital in Nepal and became president of the International College of Surgeons. But despite his accomplishments, people still wanted to bring him down. What’s the plot twist? Hiram has a good side! But can anyone see it?

When I first began to read this novel, I really didn’t like Hiram. I didn’t like how he treated
Aug 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"McDowell” by William H. Coles is truly a great piece of storytelling, and any literary and character drama fan should go and read this (and the other novels by this author). There are several familiar arch types and tropes that border on cliché, but Coles manages to just avoid it with compelling backstory and genuine character development with the believable relationships that develop amongst the characters (especially with McDowell and his family). While Hiram McDowell is clearly the main ...more
Rose Mute
Nov 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An excellent story about the loathsome Hiram McDowell. He is a selfish, arrogant and callous man. He has little regard for the women in his personal and professional life. In public he is a renowned surgeon, philanthropist and avid mountain climber. Behind closed doors he is unfaithful friend and husband, and an absentee father. His life takes a sharp turn after his grandson failed suicide attempt leaves him comatose and unresponsive. A selfish choice leads to imprisonment. This is not the end ...more
Nov 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An Intersting Read..

Hiram McDowell is a mountaineer by choice and surgeon by profession. He is a survival from danger zone while returning after a climb from the summit.

This is his story of achievement, negligence towards family life and a power-hungry man. He even did not think to give importance to his wife’s birthday Carole. He used to live in a big house with his wife and children. Hiram was elected as Regent to the directors of International College of Surgeons lifted him above the sixty
Tracey Madeley
Nov 09, 2018 rated it liked it
I found this book a little disjointed on the grounds that we hardly see the protagonist Hiram McDowell, but we do learn a lot about the other characters. The author will argue that we see him through the eyes of other people, especially the women in his life.

This is a novel about a selfish, self-centered, career-minded surgeon who is brought down to earth through accusations of corruption and fraud. Jail is the turning point for his redemption amongst the poor working class of America. The novel
Jan 14, 2019 rated it liked it
Hiram McDowell, renowned surgeon, despicable human being, lousy husband, a bit better father. The story begins with Hiram mountaineering where he hikes past a desperate, suffering hiker and leaves him to die. Yep. To a surgeon, death must be different, more familiar, than it is to most of us. His selfish, conceited persona doesn’t get much better. Add unfaithful husband to his fine attributes.

This is my first book by William H. Coles, ophthalmic, trauma surgeon. He has received several
Shanell Meek
Nov 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
It’s definitely different... in a good way.

McDowell by William H. Coles is the first novel I have ever read where the main character is the mot disliked character in the book and that is the actual intent of the author. Coles built Hiram McDowells character as an caring and callous person, he makes decisions and bad choices and doesn’t care who he hurts or how it affects those around him. He’s a taken who only cares about his own gratification. The rest of the characters were likable and one
Katherine Hebert
Nov 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The rootable anti-hero

McDowell is the story of Hiram McDowell’s unethical rise in the medical world, his ironical tragic fall and his road to redemption. Most main characters are supposed to be root-able. Not this one at first. He is pure evil. It takes the botched suicide attempt by his grandson, and his grandson’s ultimate death, to bring this once powerful man’s life in ruins. Trapped by the fate of his own choices, he must turn his life around. And, surprisingly, the humanity that the author
Doris Mccugh
Jun 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing

McDowell proved to be a book with a surprising finale, almost an O'Henry ending. The characters were presented in the beginning with flat effects, as if the characters were one dimensional and that dimension was superficial. However, since the characterizations were strong and the storyline was compelling, I continued reading and was rewarded around chapter 35 with fleshed out actors and an un-put-downable story. My best experiences in reading happen when the story begins to impact my
Nov 15, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
Hard to follow storyline

This book was a rather tough read. Tough as in it was a struggle to get into the characters. I felt as if I was all over the place with them. I wanted to feel more invested but had a hard time. I honestly felt like the extra characters took away from the main character, McDowell. I realize he was this great surgeon, elite in his profession but to me the family took away what we as readers could have learned more about him. I would recommend this book to others if McDowell
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