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The Woodcutter: A Novel Hardcover – August 2, 2011

4.4 out of 5 stars 142 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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.” (New York Times Book Review on The Woodcutter)

“Evokes the spirit of storytellers from Dumas and Dickens to Jeffery Deaver and Jeffrey Archer.” (Wall Street Journal on The Woodcutter)

“Devilishly clever British crime writer….A nifty plotter who switches points of view and locales often enough to keep the tension on the upswing.” (Chicago Tribune on The Woodcutter)

“Offers vivid characters, an intricately constructed but nimble narrative…and enough tasty crumbs of information to lure us deeper and deeper into a fairy tale that has gone horribly wrong.” (Richmond Times-Dispatch on The Woodcutter)

“[A] tour de force.” (People magazine on The Woodcutter)

“Sly, enchanting…[with] strong characters that complement the fast-paced, unpredictable plot.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))

‘There’s nothing drab about this dark and compelling novel.” (Kirkus Reviews on The Woodcutter)

“He’s lost none of his sardonic wit, punch and complexity… The result is an epic, unbeatable mystery.” (Financial Times)

“Another gem from the creator of Dalziel and Pascoe. Rich characterisation, sparkling dialogue and wry humour flavour the text. . . . Verdict: exquisite” (Herald Sun (Australia))

“An outstanding novel of force and beauty.” (The Times (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.” (The Evening Standard (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.” (Daily Telegraph (London))

“A consummate yarn spinner, Hill draws on myth and metaphor to embroider this tightly crafted tale.” (The Age (Melbourne))

“His storytelling is always bewitching, his turns of phrase wonderful. . . . The Woodcutter is as much literary as crime novel, but always a page turner.” (Keighley News (England))

“Reginald Hill’s books are as good as crime fiction gets and this one is as good as he gets.” (Literary Review)

“Hill combines an edgy tale of betrayal and revenge with the trappings of a modern-day fairy tale in this sly, enchanting stand-alone.” (Publishers Weekly)

From the Back Cover

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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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; 1st American Edition edition (August 2, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062060740
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062060747
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (142 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #989,091 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By R. Olsavicky on September 24, 2010
Format: Hardcover
When Reginald Hill is hot he is very hot. He is in prime form throughout this excellent stand alone novel. I almost gave up on Dalziel and Pascoe with DEATH COMES FOR THE FAT MAN and A CURE FOR ALL DISEASES; but the latest novel in this series MIDNIGHT FUGUE showed signs of a return to better plotting and the "old magic." This Novel is not part of that fun and enjoyable series; but, it truly is an old fashioned "page turner" and I almost couldn't "put it down." The plotting is vintage Hill at his best; and the characterizations are top notch and truly believable; which, is necessary for this Thriller to work. Atmosphere and locale are great also. I won't go into plot and ruin it for you EXCEPT TO QUOTE THE PRODUCT DESCRIPTION; "Universally reviled, thrown into prison while protesting his innocence, abandoned by friends and family, Wolf retreats into silence. Seven years later in prison psychiatrist Alva Ozibo makes the breakthrough. Wolf begins to talk and under her quidance gets parole, returning to his rundown family home in Cumbria. But there's a mysteroius 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 with the truth, revenge. Can Alva intervene before his pursuit of vengeance takes him to a place from which he can never come back...?" "Wolf Hadda" is almost mythic and very believable and wins our sympathy as does "Alva." This can be seen as a Twenty First Century Myth with: trust, love, sex, greed, betrayal, friendship, faithfulness and a plot twisting Finale that makes the Greek Myths very vivid. Freud would have loved this novel and its oh so damaged human psyches. I've read all of Hill's Novels and even the Patrick Ruen works. As I stated at the beginning when he is on he is on; and, Hill is very on here!!!
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Format: Hardcover
After reading a novel by Reginald Hill, it's difficult to fathom why he is not a household name in the United States. Granted, his work is very much written for a British audience, full of colloquialisms and the like that will send even the most seasoned anglophile to the Internet to brush up on certain bits of slang. But this quality just makes his books more appealing.

As with the best of the mystery/suspense genre, Hill concocts close-on studies of the human condition, using a puzzle or dire situation as a backdrop to wonderful effect, over the course of a veritable bookcase full of works. His Dalziel and Pascoe procedurals are his most popular, having spawned a British television series of almost equal popularity, while his Joe Sexsmith titles are somewhat lighter in tone but still wonderfully written. Then there are his stand-alone works, of which his latest may be his finest.

THE WOODCUTTER can be daunting in size, but is easy on the eye while challenging (in the best possible sense) to the mind. It is a very modern book in setting --- the lion's share of it takes place in the year 2017 --- but it is, at its base, a fairy tale. The story's focus is a gentleman named Wolf Hadda --- to become known as the Woodcutter --- who is literally born next door to the manor rather than of it.

Wolf, the son of a groundskeeper, falls in love while still a teenager with the young Imogen, the modern-day equivalent of the princess in the Cumbrian castle. The two have a love affair that gets broken up by their parents. Imogen --- rather coldly, at that --- charges Wolf to perform three tasks if he is to win her heart. Wolf goes away for three years, does what he's been told, returns a very changed and accomplished adult, and marries his heart's desire.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I had never read anything by Reginald Hill before and I was thoroughly entertained by this mystery thriller set in England between 2008 and 2018. The fact that part of the book is set in the future is purely to have the financial crisis of 2008 as the start point and the subsequent events need a number of years to pan out and so do not get put off if you do not like science fiction. The initial setting centres on Wolf (Sir Wilfred Hadda) who in 2008 is framed on both Child Pornography and Fraud charges. Wolf is a fascinating enigmatic character and carries the readers interest. This easy to read action packed thriller is very contemporary and mixes a variety of intriguing characters from the bright young psychiatrist Elf(Alva), the Glaswegian private detective Davy McLucky, the haughty Aristocratic Kira, the suave highly succeessful lawyer Toby and the mysterious JC (and, as another reviewer has mentioned, the devilishly fiendish dog Sneck). The humorous banter between the young vicar Hollins and Wolf I found especially endearing and humanised Wolf who otherwise seemed like a modern day Superman. My one and significant quibble was the preposterous events on Pillar Rock at the end where Reginald Hill's imagination took so many twists that it made it all seem too farcical.
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Format: Hardcover
By the time he died in January of 2012 British crime writer Reg Hill had earned legions of fans world-wide for his engaging novels (and long-running TV series) featuring two improbably-paired Yorkshire detectives. Andy Dalziel (known as "Fat Andy", but only behind his back) is opinionated, outspoken, sometimes rude, and almost always politically incorrect; his university-educated, liberally-oriented ally, Peter Pascoe, spends much of his time trying to minimize the damage his boss inflicts merely by walking through a room.

But Reg was no one-trick pony. Given the appeal of his odd-couple series, it's all too easy to overlook Hill's other writing, in particular his fifteen standalone novels written over a period of forty years. Readers who venture into this wooded area will be rewarded with a varied range of novels that encompasses football hooliganism, the English Civil War, spy thrillers, collaborators during the Second World War, psychological thrillers, and in his final published work, the tortuous path of revenge.

Wilfred "Wolf" Hadda is, by any standard, a singular man. Rising from modest roots as a woodcutter's son he has carved out a successful business worth millions. He has homes in England, the U.S., the Caribbean, and Italy, and a private jet to reach them. Knighted for his business achievements, he is married to a vivacious and intelligent woman from a wealthy family, to the envy of all.

But without warning one day his life suddenly comes crashing down around him. In the early hours of the morning the police force their way into his house, armed with a warrant and accompanied by a phalanx from the press. His computer is seized, and when the police find kiddy porn on it he is arrested.
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