©2006 Reginald Hill; (P)2006 W F Howes Ltd
"A mystery novel, but far more than that. It's gripping...Hill is wonderful." (The Times)
This wasn't a bad book, but overall I was underwhelmed. The narration was good, which gives it points as an audiobook, but the story fell a little flat. The background stories of the central characters and even the second-tier characters were actually pretty interesting. The problem was that they were infinitely more interesting than the two main characters, themselves. They were quite two dimentional, and I found myself not really caring what happened with them. And the constant relating of everything in Sam's narrative to a math problem....gack.
I am a book junkie. Read to me.
Well written and crafted thriller, which uses the classic chestnut of the remote village, with residents who distrust nosy outsiders, to great effect. You think this is going to be an old-fashioned horror, with restless ghosts and forbidden, pagan rites still practiced by the weird locals. In fact, it's a modern, psychological drama, its twists attributable to very human fears and desires. Some of the crimes may be too modern for certain listeners: If you are bothered by stories that involve hurting children or torture, be aware that this narrative takes a few dark turns. Nothing overly graphic, but it does go there, if not all the way there.
There are two mysteries here, one historical, one contemporary, each with its related protagonist, a compassionate Spanish ex-priest and a scrappy, Australian mathematician named Samantha Flood. Sam Flood is almost worth the price of admission alone -- she's that appealing.
Great reading by Gordon Griffin, who differentiates the many characters with vocal distinctions and quirks. I had no trouble keeping the large cast straight.
My only complaint is that the epilogue, while intriguing, ties up the threads too neatly. Still, the rest of the story is so good that I'm willing to forgive Reginald Hill for this over-zealous bit of plot writing.
Absolutely loved The Woodcutter and many of the Dalziel books, but I had to force myself to stick with this one all the way through. I'm not sure how much of the problem is attributable to the Writer and how much to the Narrator but the story doesn't gell. I guess it would be best described as a local history book, but it is fairly slow moving. I also had to go and check when it was written as it felt rather like a 1930s book that had been jarringly updated by mentioning laptops, sex and mobile phones at random moments. As it turns out, it is indeed written and set in current times but is an odd blend that feels very out of date. The central characters are meant to be in their 20s but as depicted they are implausible and the characterisation is wooden and does not get beyond caricature.
I'm a big fan of Reginald Hill and this is one of his best. I had just seen the film "Oranges and Sunshine" so very pertinent to the storyline
Surprises to the end
I enjoyed the last part, where they named that little baby! I waited for Reginald Hill to come up with a surprise.
Gordon Griffen gave each character its own personality with the use of his voice
I listen to the books in my car on my way to work and home, 2 hours a day
A good story, not however The Woodcutter was probably his best.
I don't know about you, but why are there so so so many 5 star reviews. I LOVE books, but so few are 5 star.
I bought this because I just finished The Woodcutter which I finished in one day as it was so wel written and narrated. This was ho hum. A little disappointing.
"Narrator lets this book down"
Having enjoyed reading many other Reginald Hill books and recently listened to my first as an audiobook - the Woodcutter, I was looking forward to this. Now I wish I'd heeded Claire (Orpington)'s review. It is indeed all in the telling. The accents Gordon Griffin used were irritating and didn't at all match the characters' personalities: everyone over the age of 60 was made to sound reedy and feeble, despite descriptions & actions which indicated that they were strong and far from ailing! But the real problem for me was the fact that he just didn't get the rhythm of HIll's writing.There were pauses in the wrong part of the sentence, and intonation that altered the meaning. I found myself replaying sentences in my head to work out what Hill had intended to say. A good narrator can enhance a story, but Gordon Griffin lets Hill down badly. Unlike Claire, I persevered to the end and enjoyed the tale unfolding, but it was a struggle. If you like Reginald Hill, I recommend you buy and read the book rather than downloading this audio version. (For a narrative masterclass, try Juliet Stevenson's Middlemarch - amazing!)
"Good detective novel with a touch of romance"
A good story particularly well told; the reader distinguishing the great variety of accents, genders and ages in a believable way. The combination meant that I could lose myself in the book and, although a long book, it held me to the end
"Good listen in the end"
The Woodcutter was my first Reginald Hill book, I loved it and I want to hear some of his other books, so I bought this one. I found the first couple of hours quite difficult to stick with not because of the narrator who I thought was very good but because I could not make sense of it, however it was worth staying with as it turned out to be a good story and nearing the end of the book could I make sense of the beginning.
First, a point on the narration following on from the other reviews:
Having previously suffered through a poorly narrated volume, I was concerned following the reviews of this title. While the australian accent is interesting, it's not distracting and 10 minutes into the book, i ceases to be an issue at all - overall I found the narration smooth, easy to listen to and nicely in step with the tone of the story.
As for the story - I followed the Woodcutter here, so was very please to find a similarly excellent listen. Recommended!
"My favourite audible book so far"
This is a clever, intricately plotted book that weaves and turns right up until the last page. Essentially it is a mystery that draws together two polar opposite people; one a Spanish ex-Catholic priest and the other a fiery, independent young Australian woman and deposits them in a Cumbrian village inn called the Stranger House.
I found it gripping from beginning to end, and talking of endings, it has an ending that really delivers - well done Mr Hill.
One last point, I actually liked the narrator and thought he really added to the tale but even if you don't, the incredible story should be enough to see you past any shortcomings.
"A good story"
I really enjoyed this. A good story with strong characters. Spanning centuries, but joined by the present, this is a riveting tale.
Perhaps I am biased - having been a huge fan of Reginal Hill for years.
I like his style, humour and "off-the-wall" plots. Even when writing detective novels, RH's work is several cuts above the rest. For new readers - don't be put off by the pathetic TV version - go to the original books, and enjoy great characters, ingenious plots, and laugh-out-loud humour.
This book was up to standard. I loved it.
"Reginald Hill at his best"
This is quite a different one for Reginald Hill - very unlike the other books of his I've read or listened to. But I would definitely say it's one of his best (at least of the ones I've read). It's really added to by the quality of the narrator too. It's got a really quirky character and doesn't take itself too seriously, and is a gripping and interesting story. Definitely one to listen to.
"worst australian accent ever"
i gave up listening to this quite quickly because of the narrator's awful australian accent. as one of the main characters is australian the idea of listening to the whole of the book was more than i could stand.unfortunate as the premis of the book is very interesting. maybe i will read it as a printed book.
"Its all in the storytelling..."
Having just finished readingThe Woodcutter by Reginald Hill and recommending it to everyone I decided to use my precious credit to listen to another of his novels. I wish I had bought the book and read it instead as I could tell the story was as interesting and original but the narration was trully terrible (in my opinion). His australian, young womans accent was unbelievably bad and he made everyone else sound like a middle aged man from Surrey. I really tried to listen through the mind numbingly dull Gordon but alas I gave up after part 1 and am onto something else. Sorry Reg
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