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Wolf Hadda's life was a fairytale - successful businessman and adored husband. But a knock on the door one morning ends it all. Universally reviled, thrown into prison, Wolf retreats into silence. Seven years later Wolf begins to talk to the prison psychiatrist and receives parole to return home. But there's a mysterious period in Wolf's past when he was known as the Woodc Wolf Hadda's life was a fairytale - successful businessman and adored husband. But a knock on the door one morning ends it all. Universally reviled, thrown into prison, Wolf retreats into silence. Seven years later Wolf begins to talk to the prison psychiatrist and receives parole to return home. But there's a mysterious period in Wolf's past when he was known as the Woodcutter. Now the Woodcutter is back, looking for truth and revenge...


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Wolf Hadda's life was a fairytale - successful businessman and adored husband. But a knock on the door one morning ends it all. Universally reviled, thrown into prison, Wolf retreats into silence. Seven years later Wolf begins to talk to the prison psychiatrist and receives parole to return home. But there's a mysterious period in Wolf's past when he was known as the Woodc Wolf Hadda's life was a fairytale - successful businessman and adored husband. But a knock on the door one morning ends it all. Universally reviled, thrown into prison, Wolf retreats into silence. Seven years later Wolf begins to talk to the prison psychiatrist and receives parole to return home. But there's a mysterious period in Wolf's past when he was known as the Woodcutter. Now the Woodcutter is back, looking for truth and revenge...

30 review for The Woodcutter (Unabridged Audiobook)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Trish

    This ripping great genre-smashing yarn is set 300 miles northwest of London in the mountainous Cumbrian region of England. Bordered on the north by Scotland, and on the west by the Irish Sea, the location itself gives a cold, hard, craggy feel to the formative youth of our hero. His return, in later years, to this rugged place for the dénouement makes a pleasing symmetry that reinforces the chill we feel when contemplating the brutality of his life. Our hero is born of a woodcutter, falls in love This ripping great genre-smashing yarn is set 300 miles northwest of London in the mountainous Cumbrian region of England. Bordered on the north by Scotland, and on the west by the Irish Sea, the location itself gives a cold, hard, craggy feel to the formative youth of our hero. His return, in later years, to this rugged place for the dénouement makes a pleasing symmetry that reinforces the chill we feel when contemplating the brutality of his life. Our hero is born of a woodcutter, falls in love with the squire’s daughter, and seeks to breach the obstacles that separate their lives. It may be that romance is never far from the heart of a successful mystery, and it appears to be so in this case. But the swiftness with which we are entangled in the events which overtake our hero is due entirely to the prurient nature of the allegations, the documented and well-known love of readers for trashy sensationalism, and the skills of this exceptionally practiced author. Author Reginald Hill, widely adored for his long-running Dalziel and Pascoe series, always has a strong sense of character and place in his novels. In this stand-alone mystery, he surpasses himself in presenting a tightly woven narrative from various points of view, with shifting time frames, pacing, and locales. And throughout he manages to preserve the essential humanity, and therefore goodness, of even his wickedest assassin (except, perhaps, Ni-KEE-tin). This earns the characters, despite their failings, our interest, our understanding, and ultimately, our forgiveness. If the author strays occasionally into hyperbole to drive home…an axe, a prick, a character trait...well, we forgive him, too. Hill's official website is a limited affair, but worth perusal.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Carol

    I loved this well written, over the top yarn. I couldn't put the book down.

  3. 4 out of 5

    ✨Susan✨

    Good twists and turns up to the last page. You think you've got something figured out - but surprise... The main character, Wolf, starts his young life with a somewhat black op's type upbringing. Later in life he builds a very lucrative above board dynasty. In a matter of a week he is charged with a heinous crime, almost beaten to death, jailed, divorced by his wife and stripped of every dime he has ever made. After years of being incarcerated he moves back to his childhood home and follows in h Good twists and turns up to the last page. You think you've got something figured out - but surprise... The main character, Wolf, starts his young life with a somewhat black op's type upbringing. Later in life he builds a very lucrative above board dynasty. In a matter of a week he is charged with a heinous crime, almost beaten to death, jailed, divorced by his wife and stripped of every dime he has ever made. After years of being incarcerated he moves back to his childhood home and follows in his fathers steps as a Woodcutter. As the tail of deciept unwinds each reveal is more treacherous than the one before. An intricately plotted story with well developed characters, and writing that was almost poetic at times. I found this a little slow to get into but when the book took off I couldn't put it down, I'm a bit sad now that I've finished it.

  4. 4 out of 5

    SenoraG

    It is hard to give a good review of this book without giving too much away. I will say this is my first book by Reginald Hill and I don't know how I missed him! The Woodcutter is a revenge story but so much more. It's also a psychological thriller that gets us into the mind of an accused man. I love that it was a non-stop guessing game. I felt like I was in one of those labyrinths where you think you know where you are going only to hit a wall. It was mystery after mystery with an end that I nev It is hard to give a good review of this book without giving too much away. I will say this is my first book by Reginald Hill and I don't know how I missed him! The Woodcutter is a revenge story but so much more. It's also a psychological thriller that gets us into the mind of an accused man. I love that it was a non-stop guessing game. I felt like I was in one of those labyrinths where you think you know where you are going only to hit a wall. It was mystery after mystery with an end that I never saw coming or even imagined coming. I think I am blue from holding my breath to see what was going to happen next. I actually picked this book up to read the first page or so just to see if it would appeal to me and I was going to read it at a later time. BUT, it pulled me in and I could not put the darn thing down. I was tired for work the entire week. I really developed a fondness for Wolf Hadda. Not to say he was the nicest of men but he was a good soul who got a dirty deal from those he trusted. I enjoyed his humor and his relationship with his psychiatrist, Dr. Ozigbo. I loved the scene where she found him showering in the forest. The Woodcutter is one hell of a thriller and I will be looking for more books by this author.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Dana Stabenow

    Three stars is not my normal grade for a Reginald Hill book. I adore Hill, I revere him, and I learn from him every single time I read him. But I am really puzzled by this book. The characters are so exaggerated it's difficult to like any of them, except maybe McLucky, and this 'revenger's tragedy' of a plot is way over the top. One thing I do love is his descriptions of the Cumbrian countryside, as in: ...in the darkness of a cold December night with scorpion tails of sleet riding on the back of Three stars is not my normal grade for a Reginald Hill book. I adore Hill, I revere him, and I learn from him every single time I read him. But I am really puzzled by this book. The characters are so exaggerated it's difficult to like any of them, except maybe McLucky, and this 'revenger's tragedy' of a plot is way over the top. One thing I do love is his descriptions of the Cumbrian countryside, as in: ...in the darkness of a cold December night with scorpion tails of sleet riding on the back of a strong nor'wester that drives the white-maned waves up the shore like ramping hosts of warrior horse...(p202) Worth reading, because any book with the name Reginald Hill on the cover is worth reading, both as a reader and a writer. But not his best.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Tammy Dotts

    When an early morning police raid meant to uncover evidence of financial fraud also uncovers involvement in child pornography, Sir Wilfred Hadda resists arrest and ends up in a coma for nine months. He awakens to find a rock-solid case against him and divorce proceedings initiated by his wife. Sir Hadda – Wolf to his friends – spends the next seven years in jail while his ex-wife marries his lawyer and denies Wolf any contact with his daughter. Wolf meets regularly with psychiatrist Alva Ozigbo. When an early morning police raid meant to uncover evidence of financial fraud also uncovers involvement in child pornography, Sir Wilfred Hadda resists arrest and ends up in a coma for nine months. He awakens to find a rock-solid case against him and divorce proceedings initiated by his wife. Sir Hadda – Wolf to his friends – spends the next seven years in jail while his ex-wife marries his lawyer and denies Wolf any contact with his daughter. Wolf meets regularly with psychiatrist Alva Ozigbo. At first, he denies the child pornography charges, but after several sessions, Dr. Ozigbo breaks through to her patient and he claims responsibility. Granted an early release, Wolf returns to his childhood home in Cumbria and begins an investigation into what really happened. The question of Wolf’s guilt isn’t fully answered until near the end of Reginald Hill’s latest pageturner The Woodcutter. And the answers involve a shadowy government agency, personal betrayals, hidden motives and lots and lots of secrets. Hill begins the novel with a quote from The Count of Monte Cristo, which should clue readers about the levels of deception from all sides. Three quick scenes follow, each depicting a different time and what appear to be turning points for the nameless characters. The scenes are riveting but quickly forgotten as the main novel picks up speed. Hill returns to the opening later, and clever readers will pick out connections. Once in prison, the novel focuses solely on the cat-and-mouse game between Wolf and Alva. Wolf provides Alva with written pieces of his backstory until he achieves a breakthrough and ends what Alva sees as self-denial. Upon Wolf’s release, the novel switches gears. Characters viewed only through his prison writings take their own turn center stage. McLucky, the policeman who guarded Wolf in the hospital, is now a private investigator Wolf hires to look into the crimes. A Russian mobster who fancies Imogen, Wolf’s ex-wife, becomes a tool for Wolf to use. Imogen and her monied family have their own secrets to hide. The novel changes from a psychological thriller to a hardboiled crime story, with all the high and low points of the genre. Alva discovers she’s sexually attracted to Wolf, despite believing he’s a pedophile. Coincidences make for convenient plot points. The final plot twist delivered by Imogen seems to come out of nowhere and isn’t necessary. But the overall writing is well done, and Hill takes his time setting up the final unraveling of the mysteries. Every character serves a purpose and moves Wolf closer to not only finding his answers but to revenge. Hill knows how to create a complicated plot that doesn’t lose the reader’s interest. Even readers who figure out the mystery before the end will want to keep reading to see how all the seemingly disparate pieces fit together and how Wolf and Alva handle the answers they uncover. The Woodcutter isn’t a book that will change your life or open your eyes to a truth about the human condition. It is, however, an entertaining mystery that you won’t be sorry you spent time with.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    In a sense, The Woodcutter is a fairy tale. Not a cute Disney fairy tale, but one of those old Grimm Brothers’ tales, with heartbreak and revenge and bad folks meeting nasty ends. Even while parts of the story have a very modern feel, there are still ties to its more mythic underpinnings. I really enjoyed that part of the story. Wolf Hadda is a successful businessman who describes his life as a fairy tale. His father was a woodcutter, the groundskeeper for a castle, and he grew up in a cabin in t In a sense, The Woodcutter is a fairy tale. Not a cute Disney fairy tale, but one of those old Grimm Brothers’ tales, with heartbreak and revenge and bad folks meeting nasty ends. Even while parts of the story have a very modern feel, there are still ties to its more mythic underpinnings. I really enjoyed that part of the story. Wolf Hadda is a successful businessman who describes his life as a fairy tale. His father was a woodcutter, the groundskeeper for a castle, and he grew up in a cabin in the woods. He fell in love with the daughter of the castle’s owner and eventually won her hand. But everything changes when he is accused of a shocking crime and gets swept up in accusations and investigations. In typical Wolf fashion, he doesn’t wait for the wheels of justice to grind him up. In a bid for freedom (more stubborn than desperate), there is an horrific accident that leaves Wolf crippled, disfigured, and near death. He wakes up to a world in which his friends have deserted him, his wife is divorcing him and he has been all but convicted of child pornography. His fairy tale is over. Years later, he agrees to see the prison psychiatrist, Alva (from the Swedish for “elf”) to talk about his conviction. Their talks lead to acceptance and recognition of his crimes and, eventually, to parole. That’e when the fun begins. The most interesting part of the book for me was Wolf’s prison interviews with Alva. The reader, of course, begins by assuming that Wolf is innocent; Alva is convinced he is guilty. Everything he says is proof of denial, every aspect of his childhood lays the groundwork for his future perversions. She takes nothing at face value. It was both fascinating and frustrating to me as a reader — you want to shout at Alva that she is being unfair to Wolf, but, of course, her reactions are perfectly normal for someone working with convicts — I’m sure most of her patients insist that they are innocent. Wolf takes up residence in his old family home, adjacent to the grounds of the castle where his in-laws still live. The rustic cabin, the isolation, the disgust of his neighbors — it would be a very difficult existence for most men, but Wolf seems to thrive. After all, he is a man with a purpose… This is really a terrific story. Some of it requires some suspension of disbelief, especially in the later chapters, but it is a modern-day crime mystery set against a fairy-tale backdrop of castles and woods and cliffs. Wolf is a fascinating character and I was not at all surprised that Alva became somewhat obsessed with him; it would be easy enough to do. The differences between Wolf’s family and that of his “princess”, Imogen, are startling and play an important role in the story, both the modern plot and the myth behind it. It’s a thick book — 500+ pages — but the story draws you in and keeps you turning pages throughout. Definitely worth the reading time and effort.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jessica at Book Sake

    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 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.

  9. 4 out of 5

    E. Denise Billups

    I am now a huge fan of Reginald Hill. The Woodcutter is the first book I’ve read by Mr. Hill, and it won’t be my last. I haven’t been this engrossed in a book in a while. Mr. Hill’s writing is intriguing and suspenseful. In this masterful PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLER told in the THIRD PERSON POV, Mr. Hill has crafted a world of distinct characters and a brilliant and memorable main character, WOLF HADDA, also known as the Woodcutter. Mr. Hill’s skillfully plotted story is reminiscent of Alexander Duma I am now a huge fan of Reginald Hill. The Woodcutter is the first book I’ve read by Mr. Hill, and it won’t be my last. I haven’t been this engrossed in a book in a while. Mr. Hill’s writing is intriguing and suspenseful. In this masterful PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLER told in the THIRD PERSON POV, Mr. Hill has crafted a world of distinct characters and a brilliant and memorable main character, WOLF HADDA, also known as the Woodcutter. Mr. Hill’s skillfully plotted story is reminiscent of Alexander Dumas, The Count of Monte-Cristo. “‘I must have been mad,’ he said, ‘the day I started planning revenge, not to have ripped my heart out!’’’ ―Alexander Dumas, The Count of Monte-Cristo The story begins with a young boy, a juvenile delinquent, plucked from the streets by an admirer. “. . . I wasn’t planning to adopt him! Me neither, says his wife. But we’ve got to do something with him. Otherwise what does he do? Goes back to thieving or, ends up flogging his arsehole around King’s Cross.” Charming, intelligent, and talented Wolf is plunged into a world which eventually brings him prominence, wealth, true love and a family―a fairytale existence. A life he may never have attained without THE CHAPEL, a covert organization with obscure origins, and inscrutable members who wield secret missions like a game of Russian Roulette. But is Wolf’s supporter, JC a friend or foe? “You persuaded him! A boy, a naïve young man at the very most, in your employ, in your care, probably dependent upon you emotionally as well as economically! And you persuaded him to become a killer. I bet that called on all your Ciceronian skills!” Over the years, Wolf amasses fortunes, private jets, homes across the country, and reverence for his services in commerce. He marries the beautiful Imogen, and they conceive their beloved daughter, Ginny. Then one day, his world topples when the police arrive at his door and arrest him for financial crimes and child pornography. In one day, he loses his hard-earned possessions, including his family. In a daring escape from the courthouse, Hadda meets another fate, a head-on collision with a London bus, leaving him disfigured and in a coma. When he awakes, he’s determined to exact vengeance on those who plucked him from obscurity and tragically upended his world. “The woodcutter is running free. I am sure you have been experiencing some serious concerns as to what he may be planning to do.” Released from prison, Wolf lives on the edge of the woods in a secluded cabin with his faithful dog, Sneck, surrounded by fearful locals outraged a pedophile lives in their midst. Regardless of his tainted image and disfiguring scars, many, among them, his psychiatrist, Alva Ozigbo, and the local church’s vicar are strangely drawn to this fine specimen of a man. Both question his innocence, ponder his vengeance and fear he’s never atoned for his sins. “The good huntsman knows how his prey will react. He prepares his hide and waits.” As the story unfolds Hadda questions his family’s complicity in his downfall. His wife, Imogen? His mother-in-law, Kira? His father-in-law, Leon? Who else at his side has betrayed him? But the main question readers will ponder is Wolf’s innocence. The complexity of this stand-alone novel kept me gripped from the beginning to the end. Twists and turns unfold to a shocking pinnacle, truly a steep cliff. The storyline, subplots, well-developed characters, and suspense kept me engrossed, as well as Mr. Hills sublime poetic prose. I highly recommended The Woodcutter to all.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Shilpi Goel

    I'm a moth to the flame of well-written British suspense thrillers --- I get drawn to them, I flutter excitedly around them, and I lose focus of much else while the flame burns. And eventually, when the flame does go out, I carry a little of the light inside me for a long, long time. Thankfully, there are many such books --- nay, let me call them literary works, and "The Woodcutter" by Reginald Hill falls resoundingly in this category. If I sat down and carefully made a list of the best things ab I'm a moth to the flame of well-written British suspense thrillers --- I get drawn to them, I flutter excitedly around them, and I lose focus of much else while the flame burns. And eventually, when the flame does go out, I carry a little of the light inside me for a long, long time. Thankfully, there are many such books --- nay, let me call them literary works, and "The Woodcutter" by Reginald Hill falls resoundingly in this category. If I sat down and carefully made a list of the best things about such works, I bet this book would get a check in every column. Character development would come near the top of such a list, as would the narrative. Emotional and moral appeal wouldn't lag far behind. Anticipation, tinged with just the right amount of suspense, would have a prominent place on the list too. I won't give much of a blurb for this story here. I'll just leave you with this teaser: Sir Wilfred Hadda ("Wolf"), an ex-con who returns to his childhood home in the fairyland of Cumbria, seeks revenge (or does he?!). Who is to blame for the way his life turned out? How high does this go? Was he guilty of the crimes he was convicted for? Will the prison psychiatrist, Alva, and the local vicar, Luke, figure out the enigma of the Wolf? The author paints an indelible picture with every sentence. Granted, Cumbria is a place that can turn even the least imaginative sourpuss into a poet who could have given Wordsworth and Coleridge (both with Cumbrian connections) a run for their talent. But that doesn't diminish the effect that Hill's prose, very akin to superior poetry, had on me. I also loved coming across little nuggets of wisdom and common sense that I feel happy to categorize as "quotable quotes". An example is something I remember off the top of my head: "When necessity rules, regret is as pointless as resistance.". Such words are quintessentially British; they transform something that we all know and hence, that would normally be so obvious that it'd be unoriginal to vocalize, into something that appears magnificent. Such sentences give you a whole new appreciation of things you thought you knew and change the attitude you have towards that knowledge. Very rarely would you find a fluid and meaningful line like this in American literature. The only thing I'd say that won't eulogize this book as much as everything else I've said before is that as it neared its end, the story became a tad predictable. However, there's nothing really wrong with that. It was the ending that my heart and brain wanted, and even if there could have been many different ways of reaching that very end, what's the harm in getting what I want?

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen

    Basically, this is a modern day take on The Count of Monte Cristo. It’s set in London and in mountainous Cumbria, in Northern England. Wolf Hadda, a faithful father, husband, spy, and businessmen, is framed and falsely imprisoned, but he plots payback some years later. Despite the title, this isn’t gross, gruesome, or even bloody scary. It read more gently than that. Reginald Hill has a way with words. In telling this story, Hill occasionally switched from past to present and from 1st person POV Basically, this is a modern day take on The Count of Monte Cristo. It’s set in London and in mountainous Cumbria, in Northern England. Wolf Hadda, a faithful father, husband, spy, and businessmen, is framed and falsely imprisoned, but he plots payback some years later. Despite the title, this isn’t gross, gruesome, or even bloody scary. It read more gently than that. Reginald Hill has a way with words. In telling this story, Hill occasionally switched from past to present and from 1st person POV to second person POV. It took a little mental adjustment but this didn’t present a problem for me. In terms of secondary characters, there are some textured nasties, but also some heartwarming characters. And a dog! Love me a faithful hound, a tough lumberjack, a crackling fire and a cabin in the woods. With just a hint of romance. Quibbles: I will say, the book didn’t fully absorb me because it felt a bit long and slow going and at times I wanted to skim. Still, I finished it and had the happy satisfaction of seeing comeuppance achieved.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Joanne Sheppard

    If GoodReads would let me, I'd give this three-and-a-half stars. Wilfred 'Wolf' Hadda is a wealthy self-made businessman with a working class rural background and a possibly shady past, married to the daughter of a Cumbrian aristocrat and with a circle of upper-class friends. At the start of the novel, his empire crumbles around him as he's arrested not just for fraud but also for child porn offences. Subsequently, his prison psychologist - young and pretty, naturally - tries to unpick the reason If GoodReads would let me, I'd give this three-and-a-half stars. Wilfred 'Wolf' Hadda is a wealthy self-made businessman with a working class rural background and a possibly shady past, married to the daughter of a Cumbrian aristocrat and with a circle of upper-class friends. At the start of the novel, his empire crumbles around him as he's arrested not just for fraud but also for child porn offences. Subsequently, his prison psychologist - young and pretty, naturally - tries to unpick the reasons for Wolf's apparent offences, and finds herself drawn into his complex world of secrets and deception. While I enjoyed The Woodcutter and found Wolf's story a compelling one, there's no doubt that the novel could have been 100 pages shorter, and there were some elements of the plot that stretched the suspension of my disbelief to breaking point: would a man really name his multinational business after his former secret service pseudonym, for a start? I also found it a little hard to reconcile aspects of Wolf's character with others' assertions that he is universally liked by all who meet him. Even prior to his arrest, which leaves him disfigured and embittered, his behaviour and manner doesn't suggest to me a man who would automatically charm everyone he encounters; I didn't find him especially likeable myself. I was also mildly irritated by the ugly-middle-aged-man-is-mysteriously-irresistible-to-exotic-young-woman-in-her-20s aspect of the novel, which seems to be a constant wish-fulfilment device employed by male thriller writers (see also Stieg Larsson). That said, The Woodcutter was a diverting read overall that combined elements of spy fiction, adventure, detective novel and psychological thriller to good effect, albeit with one or two holes in its plot. I also enjoyed the different techniques Hill used to tell the story, with varying narrators and points-of-view all bringing a new layer of perspective and a couple of revelations I really wasn't expecting.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Rosalind

    Reading the last couple of Reg Hill's Dalziel and Pascoe books has left me wondering, has the old boy lost his touch? Hill has such a delicacy of touch in his writing that a slight loss of it doesn't mean that the results aren't a terrific read but as I reel somewhat and pause for breath on finishing The Woodcutter then I can only say that in any case the answer is a resounding NO! This standalone novel is a tour-de-force. In so many ways it's unlike anything else he's attempted. For one thing th Reading the last couple of Reg Hill's Dalziel and Pascoe books has left me wondering, has the old boy lost his touch? Hill has such a delicacy of touch in his writing that a slight loss of it doesn't mean that the results aren't a terrific read but as I reel somewhat and pause for breath on finishing The Woodcutter then I can only say that in any case the answer is a resounding NO! This standalone novel is a tour-de-force. In so many ways it's unlike anything else he's attempted. For one thing there are very few laughs in it; it is dark, sometimes harrowing, but never for a second less than gripping, and beautifully written. The descriptions of the Lake District, where much of it is set, are worth the five stars alone, but that's not all. One Hill signature is present; the literary allusions are all over it. There's more than a hint of Wuthering Heights about it but it's from fairy tales and ballads that it draws its energy. A poor woodcutter's son going out into the world to make his fortune and gain the hand of the rich man's daughter sets the framework, but this is Reg Hill and what comes after isn't for the faint-hearted nor for those who can't follow a dizzying assortment of characters, all of them tangled up in the same intricate web, and none of them with straightforward motives. And of course, there's a sting in the tail. Only one problem. I never really warmed to the enigmatic central character. Maybe I'm not supposed to, but more likely it's in myself. Alva, the other central character, would have something to say about that no doubt. One thing is clear in the end. It's a parable about the greed and materialism of our selfish modern world. And it's against them. Now there's a surprise! Thoroughly recommended.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kathy

    This is the first book I have read written by this author although I have been a consumer of his Dalziel series, couch-potato style. I found the construction of this book unique as he sets introductory scenes over the decades that provide background for what we will learn later about key figures in this story. Our first "lessons" revolve around a recurring theme: "Grim necessity." And it is a grim reality tale I won't spoil. Bare outline - a young boy is exploited by intelligence branch and late This is the first book I have read written by this author although I have been a consumer of his Dalziel series, couch-potato style. I found the construction of this book unique as he sets introductory scenes over the decades that provide background for what we will learn later about key figures in this story. Our first "lessons" revolve around a recurring theme: "Grim necessity." And it is a grim reality tale I won't spoil. Bare outline - a young boy is exploited by intelligence branch and later set up for meteoric rise and fall. The justification of brutal machinations in the destruction of his life is bone chilling.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kat

    I love Reginald Hill's Dalziel and Pascoe mysteries, but this one is a stand-alone masterpieece. It is engagining and engrossing and I couldn't put it down. Reminiscent of Count of Monte Christo and Jeffrey Archer's A Prisoner of Birth, but so much more. The characters of Wilf/Wolf and Alva/Elf are well developed (though I had trouble picturing Elf: a Swedish-Nigerian with dark skin and blond hair...) There are some lovely, quintesentially British characters: good-natured Lord Leon, who sees pas I love Reginald Hill's Dalziel and Pascoe mysteries, but this one is a stand-alone masterpieece. It is engagining and engrossing and I couldn't put it down. Reminiscent of Count of Monte Christo and Jeffrey Archer's A Prisoner of Birth, but so much more. The characters of Wilf/Wolf and Alva/Elf are well developed (though I had trouble picturing Elf: a Swedish-Nigerian with dark skin and blond hair...) There are some lovely, quintesentially British characters: good-natured Lord Leon, who sees past class differences, fuzzy Johnny, who is Bertie Wooster without the moral compass, JC, aka "control", that trope of James Bond novels). Overall, it made me feel cozy knowing that though there are many cruel and materialistic interlopers, the British society is basically OK (media aside), they do still take care of their old boys. On the other hand, there are revelations in the last few pages, that I just did not see coming: WOW, the British class system! Porobably, this is not a good review of the book now that I look it over, but do read it. It is really good.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl

    I picked up a copy of this book years ago. I was very intrigued by the concept of the plot. I started reading it and had a very hard time getting into the story or the characters. The alternating voices of the past and the present was not always as seamless as I would have liked from the transfer back and forth. So I put the book down with ease and walked away from it. There have been many times throughout the years that I have went to grab the book only to grab a different book to read. Yet, th I picked up a copy of this book years ago. I was very intrigued by the concept of the plot. I started reading it and had a very hard time getting into the story or the characters. The alternating voices of the past and the present was not always as seamless as I would have liked from the transfer back and forth. So I put the book down with ease and walked away from it. There have been many times throughout the years that I have went to grab the book only to grab a different book to read. Yet, this was one book that was kind of taunting me to come back to it. So I finally did but only got about a few chapters more into the book. I actually had the expectation that I would read more then I did but with my lack of interest in the characters and then the talk about adolescent sexuality I was turned off and down with this book for good.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Lobstergirl

    Kind of an odd book. It's trying to be a fairy tale of sorts - the protagonist is a woodcutter, in the sense that he goes around with an axe, and his father was a true woodcutter on a noble estate in Cumbria - but also a modern thriller with references to the global financial collapse of 2008. It also finishes in the year 2018 but without flying cars or remote control toasters or anything like that. Characters are drawn from both mythical prototypes as well as 21st century reality (the prison ps Kind of an odd book. It's trying to be a fairy tale of sorts - the protagonist is a woodcutter, in the sense that he goes around with an axe, and his father was a true woodcutter on a noble estate in Cumbria - but also a modern thriller with references to the global financial collapse of 2008. It also finishes in the year 2018 but without flying cars or remote control toasters or anything like that. Characters are drawn from both mythical prototypes as well as 21st century reality (the prison psychiatrist assigned to the "woodcutter" after he has been convicted of financial fraud and child pornography is half Nigerian, half Swedish). A nice touch is that the endpapers are a reproduction of Winslow Homer's watercolor The Woodcutter.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Bill

    This books was a 5-STAR +++ for me...What a truly engaging story. The back drop of the 2008 financial crisis mixed with some of the old feudal British past made the story so poignant. The outstanding weave of twists and turns and surprises and revelations kept me wondering and guessing straight through until the very end. And what a curve ball at the end ... nice! Time to explore Hill's other literary works!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Christine

    Revenge is a dish best served cold. Or perhaps with an axe. Wolf might have a thing for young girls, or he might not. Regardless, Elf is suppose to help him or at least set him down road of coming to terms with what he did. But what if he is innocent. What if there is something more going on? Nice thrilling ride.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Barbara Mitchell

    This is a stand-alone novel by the author of the Dalziel and Pascoe series. It's a psychological thriller about a mysterious, disfigured but mesmerizing man from Cumbria in England. His name is Wilfred Hadda but everyone knows him as Wolf which is much more fitting. Wolves can be vicious killers, but they are also tender toward members of their pack, i.e. the ones they love. Wolf Hadda is the son of the estate manager at Ulphingstone Castle. His father teaches him to be a woodcutter so that he'll This is a stand-alone novel by the author of the Dalziel and Pascoe series. It's a psychological thriller about a mysterious, disfigured but mesmerizing man from Cumbria in England. His name is Wilfred Hadda but everyone knows him as Wolf which is much more fitting. Wolves can be vicious killers, but they are also tender toward members of their pack, i.e. the ones they love. Wolf Hadda is the son of the estate manager at Ulphingstone Castle. His father teaches him to be a woodcutter so that he'll always have a skill to fall back on. Wolf is besotted with Imogen, the daughter of Sir Leon and Lady Kira of Ulphingstone, and she lusts after him as well, but tells him she could never marry him unless he becomes rich, speaks well, and learns proper manners. Of course he goes away, which is a mysterious story in itself, and comes back a finished product to marry the now pregnant Imogen. Several years later he is suddenly arrested, charged with fraud and pedophilia. The case is solid against him; he doesn't stand a chance. He attempts escape and is hit by a truck. The accident nearly kills him. That's just the beginning of this intriguing, masterful story. Wolf's character is fascinating, as is Imogen and several other characters, mainly the psychiatrist assigned to him in prison. You learn background gradually throughout the book and I was taken aback many times at a new twist, each time learning something new about Wolf but never quite catching him entirely. There is a shocking, surprising ending and only then did I feel like I understood everything that had happened. This is a great story, a long one but worth the time and effort. No light beach read, this is a book that makes you think and ponder and just when you think you know what's going to happen, there's another "gotcha." I can't recommend this highly enough.

  21. 5 out of 5

    John Bullard

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. There is a lot to like about this book. It is well written with a page turning style that made me want to press on through. In the end though, particularly through the last part I was left slightly disappointed. My question is that when 'reworking' a classic tale how closely should the author retain the plot and feel of the original? A rework this most certainly is, the author himself references The Count Of Monte Cristo several times, and the book itself is given a cameo appearance in a prison There is a lot to like about this book. It is well written with a page turning style that made me want to press on through. In the end though, particularly through the last part I was left slightly disappointed. My question is that when 'reworking' a classic tale how closely should the author retain the plot and feel of the original? A rework this most certainly is, the author himself references The Count Of Monte Cristo several times, and the book itself is given a cameo appearance in a prison cell. The fundamentals of the Dumas masterpiece are there, false accusation, wrongful imprisonment, cunning escape and meticulously planned revenge against the wrongdoers and for three quarters of the book this theme is faithfully followed. I am not sure if there was a loss of confidence but to me it feels like the ending has been hurried. As a result the revenges themselves come across as clumsy, and the overly theatrical final scenes and saccharin finish depart the path completely. Monte Cristo is a huge work (in every way) and to retain the darkness of characters more time was needed on the ultimate delivery. Whilst we see Edmund Dantes, fuelled by hatred and his broken heart becomes as vile a body as those he sought to destroy, Wolf Hadda seems to be largely unchanged as a character. He retains his (rough boy made good) Jeffrey Archer type values despite his ‘at any cost’ retribution and the blood on his own hands seemed to wash off a bit too easily.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Robin Spano

    This is crime fiction at its best. Reginald Hill took a bold departure from his usual Dalziel/Pascoe stories, and it paid off big time. I lost sleep because I could not stop turning pages. It's the story of a woodcutter - a rugged loner who falls in love with the modern day princess of the castle in a small English town. She sets him three impossible tasks, which he goes off and performs so that she might marry him. Turns out, not such a wise choice. This book is actually so modern that it starts This is crime fiction at its best. Reginald Hill took a bold departure from his usual Dalziel/Pascoe stories, and it paid off big time. I lost sleep because I could not stop turning pages. It's the story of a woodcutter - a rugged loner who falls in love with the modern day princess of the castle in a small English town. She sets him three impossible tasks, which he goes off and performs so that she might marry him. Turns out, not such a wise choice. This book is actually so modern that it starts in the past and ends in the future - in 2018, to be precise. But it's not futuristic in tone. It's more like a unique, twisted fairy tale. I love Hill's portrayal of human flaws with such utter lack of judgment. His characters curse like the best of them, they screw around with each others wives, they murder and conspire against each other. And with Hill's enlightened pen, I find myself forgiving most of them. I didn't love the ending, though it had its own kind of poetry. Maybe I just wasn't ready to close my e-reader just yet. I wanted more. I think this was Hill's last book before he died. I've thoroughly enjoyed every Dalziel/Pascoe book I've read, but this, for me, is that kind of masterpiece that all of us crime writers hope to write one day. A success on every level.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Mr. Gottshalk

    Up until the last 40 or so pages, this was a 2-star book in my opinion. It's not that the central character, Wolf Hadda, wasn't well-drawn - an exciting, mysterious character with his upsides and faults. I just could not get into the side stories and characters that were intertwined in a case that I feel like I had already heard about on the news. Like I hinted, the ending, I thought, was terrific. Where were all these twists, turns, action sequences and eye-raising moments before? The slogging Up until the last 40 or so pages, this was a 2-star book in my opinion. It's not that the central character, Wolf Hadda, wasn't well-drawn - an exciting, mysterious character with his upsides and faults. I just could not get into the side stories and characters that were intertwined in a case that I feel like I had already heard about on the news. Like I hinted, the ending, I thought, was terrific. Where were all these twists, turns, action sequences and eye-raising moments before? The slogging through my nightly reading this past week was less than a joy. There were just enough juicy parts to keep me going, and once I am past the halfway point in a novel of 500 pages or so, I plod on, for better or for worse. Maybe this author is big in England, but for my money there are so many other great European writers that I have read and want to read. Sorry to hurt your overall rating of this book, Mr. Hill but I just couldn't dig you, and I certainly stuck with this one all the way through!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Carey Combe

    Not badly written, but i got bored of the ridiculously exaggerated characters - whether 'goodies or baddies' and rather silly plot. But it had me hooked nonetheless.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Paul Ataua

    An engaging thriller about a man who makes good in the corporate world, is framed and imprisoned for fraud and pedophilia, and who finally gets out of prison and goes in search of revenge. It is well written with some clever and witty dialogue, and has some parallels to the Dumas classic ‘ The Count of Monte Cristo’. Unfortunately, the plot was much too convoluted, there were too many one dimensional characters, and the revenge just went on far too long.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Berenice Kreymborg

    Great read, enjoyed this one immensely. First time i have read any of Reginald Hill's books. All I can say watch your so called friends in business. Great characters, more twists than a slippery slide. Betrayal, treachery,character assassination,loss of all that is dear to you but Hadda does not waiver or give up

  27. 4 out of 5

    Ruth

    Well this is the third Reginald Hill book I've read now. the first was good, the second a wee bit disappointing but this was fab!! Brilliant plot, wonderfully exaggerated characters but so real. Written with wit and so easy to read! I'm half in love with Sir Wild myself!!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Lynn Hutchinson

    Enjoyed this interesting book, the concept is a little scary, but the characters were meaningful and I wanted to get to the end to find out how it was going to work out.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Tony

    Rarely come across a book which I find difficult to put down, but this was certainly one of those times! It's one of those tales that stay in your head long after you've finished reading. A masterpiece!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Desert Rose

    I got this book from NetGalley as an ARC from the publisher Harper Collins. Sir Wilfred Hadda or Wolf Hadda as he is nicknamed was a woodcutter's son. He was living a fairy tale life. He was handsome, filthy rich, had a gorgeous upper class wife, houses in different countries and a wonderful daughter. After 14 years in this fairy tale, he wakes up one night to the authorities at his door with a search warrent to search his premises for accounts of fraud and child pornography. When he contacts his s I got this book from NetGalley as an ARC from the publisher Harper Collins. Sir Wilfred Hadda or Wolf Hadda as he is nicknamed was a woodcutter's son. He was living a fairy tale life. He was handsome, filthy rich, had a gorgeous upper class wife, houses in different countries and a wonderful daughter. After 14 years in this fairy tale, he wakes up one night to the authorities at his door with a search warrent to search his premises for accounts of fraud and child pornography. When he contacts his solicitor he finds that the accusations will not be easily reversed and innocence is not likely so in a panic he bolts only to get into an accident that almost kills him but instead he is badly disfigured and gets in a coma for 9 months. In those 9 months a lot of things happen, including his wife divorcing him, and losing his money and title. When he woke up from the coma unexpectedly, he was sent to jail to serve his sentence. Still claiming his innocence all the while. Then a Swedish-Nigerian psychiatrist Dr. Alva Ozigbo took his case. She tried to make him realise that he is in denial until he broke down. After that she is conviced that he is finally rehabilitated and could be released from prison . Now he is back to his birth home in Cumbria, trying to live as a simple woodcutter, although the towns people are not so happy with him returning and living amongst them since he is a convicted pedophile. He then hires a private investigator to search for answers, because he wants to know who framed him and why? This book was so interesting, although it was long and I was worried at the begining that I wouldn't finish it, I discovered the pages turning so fast. The writing was incredibly amazing! The story line and plot was incredible and the characters were so alive. Hadda was just charming, you just have to love him, he creeps up on you in a good way :) I tried not to give too much away in this review because it has so many twists and turns and suprises I don't want to ruin for whoever wants to read it. I will definetly read again for this author, he is on my top favorite after this book!! Highly recommended phycological thriller!!

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