The Woodcutter

( 16 )

Overview

Wolf Hadda’s life has been a fairy tale. From his humble origins as a Cumbrian woodcutter’s son, he has risen to become a hugely successful entrepreneur, happily married to the woman of his dreams.

A knock on the door one morning ends it all. Universally reviled, thrown into prison while protesting his innocence, abandoned by friends and family, Wolf retreats into silence. Seven years later, prison psychiatrist Alva Ozigbo makes a breakthrough. Wolf begins to talk, and under her...

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The Woodcutter

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Overview

Wolf Hadda’s life has been a fairy tale. From his humble origins as a Cumbrian woodcutter’s son, he has risen to become a hugely successful entrepreneur, happily married to the woman of his dreams.

A knock on the door one morning ends it all. Universally reviled, thrown into prison while protesting his innocence, abandoned by friends and family, Wolf retreats into silence. Seven years later, prison psychiatrist Alva Ozigbo makes a breakthrough. Wolf begins to talk, and under her guidance he is paroled, returning to his family home in rural Cumbria.

But there was a mysterious period in Wolf’s youth when he disappeared from home and was known to his employers as the Woodcutter. And now the Woodcutter is back, looking for the truth—and revenge. Can Alva intervene before his pursuit of vengeance takes him to a place from which he can never come back?

The Woodcutter is a treat that both lovers of the Dalziel and Pascoe series and newcomers to the always masterful work of Reginald Hill will devour.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
A Cumbrian woodcutter's son, Wolf Hadda is now a high-profile entrepreneur with a beloved wife in the bargain. Then he's thrown into jail for charges he denies and is abandoned by everyone. When he returns home seven years later, he's in the mood for revenge. A Cartier Diamond Dagger award winner noted for his popular Dalziel & Pascoe series, Hill here offers a stand-alone. Of interest to the thriller set; with a 25,000-copy first printing.
The Times (London)
“An outstanding novel of force and beauty.”
Keighley News (England)
“His storytelling is always bewitching, his turns of phrase wonderful. . . . The Woodcutter is as much literary as crime novel, but always a page turner.”
Financial Times
“He’s lost none of his sardonic wit, punch and complexity… The result is an epic, unbeatable mystery.”
Literary Review
“Reginald Hill’s books are as good as crime fiction gets and this one is as good as he gets.”
Daily Telegraph (London)
“Hill’s plotting…is brilliant, the jokes first-rate, the prose supple: it’s his humble awe at the power of the English language that enables him to be a minor master of it.”
The Age (Melbourne)
“A consummate yarn spinner, Hill draws on myth and metaphor to embroider this tightly crafted tale.”
Herald Sun (Australia)
“Another gem from the creator of Dalziel and Pascoe. Rich characterisation, sparkling dialogue and wry humour flavour the text. . . . Verdict: exquisite”
The Evening Standard (London)
“There is something of the fairytale about The Woodcutter, a big, fat mystery which has the enduring power of a myth. . . . The heights of the Dalziel & Pascoe series aside, Hill has never written a better book.”
People
“[A] tour de force.”
New York Times Book Review
“Reginald Hill…turns a contemporary crime of greed into a timeless morality tale….Hill’s storytelling is its own delight, a fun house of shifting timelines and multiple perspectives.”
Wall Street Journal
“Evokes the spirit of storytellers from Dumas and Dickens to Jeffery Deaver and Jeffrey Archer.”
New York Times Book Review on The Woodcutter
“Reginald Hill…turns a contemporary crime of greed into a timeless morality tale….Hill’s storytelling is its own delight, a fun house of shifting timelines and multiple perspectives.”
Wall Street Journal on The Woodcutter
“Evokes the spirit of storytellers from Dumas and Dickens to Jeffery Deaver and Jeffrey Archer.”
People magazine on The Woodcutter
“[A] tour de force.”
Library Journal
At age 75, Hill, the award-winning author of the Dalziel and Pascoe series, spins a stunning stand-alone, an intricate mystery steeped in folklore and myth. Raised on an estate in northern England by a woodcutter, Wilfred "Wolf" Hadda hones his risk-taking abilities. Then, having been schooled abroad, he establishes a successful personal equity firm, Woodcutter Enterprises, and weds the woman he has long adored. Suddenly one morning, local magistrates throw him into prison for fraud and deviant sexual behavior. After seven years spent in brooding silence and having lost friends, family, fortune, and future, Wolf returns to the familiar woodcutter's cottage—seething with pent-up anger. Under the guise of warmth and goodwill, he methodically cuts a path of revenge—and, unexpectedly, possible demise. VERDICT The epic scope of this riveting psychological thriller resembles Jeffrey Archer's "Kane and Abel" series and is highly recommended for serious mystery readers. [See Prepub Alert, 1/31/11.]—Jerry P. Miller, Cambridge, MA
Kirkus Reviews

A grim-dandy psychological thriller about betrayal and revenge set in England.

Sir Wilfred Hadda has risen far from his humble days as a woodcutter's son. Nicknamed both Wilf and Wolf, it's the latter that follows him throughout the story. He's handsome, rich, well-connected and married to a gorgeous upper-class woman. What more could a man want? Oh wait, there's someone at the door. The authorities arrive with a warrant, something about fraud and child pornography. In a panic at the false accusations, Wolf foolishly bolts into London traffic, with macabre consequences that are not for the squeamish reader. As an accused and apparently proven child molester, the tabloids crucify and the court convicts him. His trusted friend/lawyer abandons him, his wife divorces him, his business goes belly-up and he lands in prison. Only his physical toughness protects him from his pedophile-loathing fellow convicts. He simply cannot sink lower. The Swedish-Nigerian psychiatrist Alva Ozigbo (a beautiful woman, of course) tries to persuade him to face up to his obvious guilt. He vehemently protests his innocence, though admitting guilt may shorten his sentence. Years later he is released, but he is a pariah in the Cumbrian village where he was raised and chooses to return. He just wants to become a simple woodcutter, though he has questions for which he hires a private investigator. The answers may take a while, the P.I. tells him; what will you be doing in the meantime? "Sharpening my axe," Wolf replies. Clearly, he had been set up. But by whom, and why? And what will he do about it? Doctor Ozigbo plays an intriguing secondary role as Wolf navigates the many dangerous twists and untangles the deceit that dates back for a generation.

Near the end, a character refers to the fate of "the dreadful, drab English." There's nothing drab about this dark and compelling novel,although some of its characters are dreadful human beings.

Marilyn Stasio
Those blood-lusty Jacobean dramatists could have picked up a few pointers about betrayal and revenge from Reginald Hill, who turns a contemporary crime of greed into a timeless morality tale in The Woodcutter.
—The New York Times
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062060747
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 8/2/2011
  • Pages: 528
  • Sales rank: 475,700
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Reginald Hill is a native of Cumbria and a former resident of Yorkshire, the setting for his novels featuring Superintendent Dalziel and DCI Pascoe. Their appearances have won him numerous awards, including a CWA Gold Dagger and the Car-tier Diamond Dagger Lifetime Achievement Award. The Dalziel and Pascoe stories have also been adapted into a hugely popular BBC TV series.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 16 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 16 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 7, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    This is a superb psychological suspense

    The Cumbrian woodcutter's son Wolf Hadda married his childhood sweetheart Imo though she is of noble blood. He became a successful businessman as he, his wife and their daughter live in affluence.

    However, their idyllic perfect life ends when police arrest him for financial fraud and child porn. He is sent to a maximum security prison while his spouse divorces him and marries his lawyer. However, the straw that broke the stoic Hadda is the death of his teenage child. Hadda becomes mute refusing to speak with anyone. Several years into his enforced silence and insistence of innocence, prison psychiatrist Dr. Alva Ozigbo finally reaches past his The Man In The Iron Mask facade. Remorseful he admits his guilt, which leads to his parole. Hadda returns to Cumbria seeking solace and answers to what happened several years ago just prior to that knock on his door by the cops.

    This is a superb psychological suspense that provides Hadda's present and back story in smooth transitions. Hadda and to a lesser degree Alva holds the intriguing plot together as the audience will wonder about the fall from grace of the businessman that turned him stoically silent. With a major twist providing the why, fans will relish The Woodcutter as one of the year's best character driven thrillers.

    Harriet Klausner

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 30, 2012

    Loved it!

    This book will be one of my favorites from Reginald Hill. It pulled me in from the beginning, and I couldn't wait to find out what would happen next. I love Hill's humor and many classical references. He never insults the intelligence of his readers. When I read of his recent death, I felt as though I'd lost a good friend.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 6, 2011

    Very highly recommended!

    A very tight, well written book. A distinct pleasure to resd. Not the norm these days when compared to best sellers from authors who use formulas to produce one "masterpiece" after the other. Hill's creativity and originality is very much appreciated!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2013

    Starts out with an interesting premise, but not as good as it could be!

    The initial chapters are promising, but spots in the book are too slow and the last quarter has too many unbelievable twists and coincidences. Entertains, good character development and sense of setting, but not brilliant.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 26, 2012

    recommended

    very interesting, non series novel

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2011

    Reginald Hill rules!

    Although edgier than Dalziel and Pascoe the characters are, as usual, many layered as is the plot.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 1, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    No Attention Getter

    The Woodcutter is the most tedious book I've ever read (okay, maybe not, but it's up there). The perspective shifts from person to person and I had to reread large sections of the book to get a grasp on what was actually happening - is this a flashback, a new development in the plot, or the back of my eyelids? I was also not impressed with the plausibility of certain relationships in the book, not because I cared about the likelihood of these particular people hooking up, but because I couldn't care less about the characters in general. The author never really grabbed my attention and the 500+ pages were torturous bits of often irrelevant dialogue and mind-numbing storyline. I would recommend this book to people whose company I don't enjoy all that much.

    Reviewed by Brittany for Book Sake.

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted August 8, 2011

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