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...
©2010 Reginald Hill (P)2010 WF Howes Ltd
I always expect quality from Reginald Hill, and have loved every book he's ever written.
The Woodcutter surpassed even my high expectations with an engaging story, great characters and a study in justice that leaves a lasting impression. To me, Hill's greatest talent is to remain completely invisible as the story unfolds. Too often I read stories that, while interesting and thought-provoking, feel like a message from a writer on his soapbox. The Woodcutter is filled with moral ambiguity, and leaves the reader with much to contemplate, but, at least for me, my reaction was to events and aspects of Hill's characters. Not once during the entire book did I feel the presence of Hill's hand as the story progresses through bad acts committed by good people and surprising kindness from some "bad guys." There is suspense throughout, but it didn't feel dark ... occasional humor and never forcing the pace of action keeps the tragic elements of the story from overwhelming the reader. Highly recommended!
Even if you read all of the "Best Sellers", the Man Bookers, the Edgars, the Hugos, the Pulitzers, Staff Favs, and the readers suggestions in your constant pursuit of good and/or entertaining reading material, this award winner's latest book may have sneaked by you--and what an epic MISS. Thanks to consistently high marks by Audible reviewers, I was schooled, and spent 16 engaging hours hanging on to a rollicking, smart, psychological thriller where the big bad wolf is the heroic axe-wielding woodsman, and sets out to prove that unconventional fact. It took me a couple of chapters to get used to the breakneck pace, and I would've been thoroughly satisfied with a nicely tied up ending at about the 12 hour point, but neither little personal gripe diminishes the experience. My first Reginald Hill--and from what I've heard from other readers, one of his best. A great choice...Thanks-previous reviewers.
Actor/director/teacher. Split my time between Beijing and Seattle now. Listen to Audible on the subway and while driving or riding my bike.
Some reviewers have suggested that the book gets stronger as it goes along. I actually felt just the opposite. I had not read any Reginald Hill before, but after only a few minutes of listening it was obvious that I was in the hands of a master storyteller. His unobtrusively artful use of language, the subtle brush strokes he used to paint his characters and the effortless way in which he moved through the exposition allowed me to relax and settle in to enjoy what was obviously going to be a fascinating and exciting ride. This impression was only reinforced by Jonathan Keeble's extraordinarily fine vocal rendering of both the characters and the narrative.
Nor did I, like some other reviewers, feel the book went on for too long. It continued to keep me fully engaged all the way to the last word. My only complaint is that it did begin to feel somewhat more contrived and "slick" as the plot wound to its conclusion. Sometimes even a little obvious. And the literally "bodice ripping" climax (no pun intended here) could have come straight out of the pages of a modern Gothic romance. No question that it was powerful and shocking, but it was also jarring and incongruous in a book which had been so seamless and convincing up to that point.
That said, Hill was such a fine writer and this was such a ripping good tale for most of its length that I could forgive much. I had a great time listening and I think most others will as well.
I haven't written a review for a long time, because the audios I have chosen haven't been all that noteworthy.
This book is the exception, prompting me to write a review.
First off, I had never heard of this author. (shame on me)
Second, I only purchased this on the good reviews, and the storyline intriqued me.
It is the first book since Game of Thrones, that I absolutely did NOT want to stop listening to. (btw, game of thrones is a completely different genre, however, both the writing, storyline, and readers are excellent!)
This is a book that I am glad I listened to, rather than buy the hard copy to read.
The reader was exceptional. I could picture this entire book in my head as he read along.
I researched this author, and found that sadly, he had passed on last year I believe.
The literary world has lost a wonderful writer.
Fortunately for me, I listened to this one.
Dept Q, Harry Hole... where are you?
As I listened to this tale it became obvious how much I love revenge stories. The most thorough and satisfying tale of revenge would be The Count of Monte Cristo. The best modern tale, in my opinion, is the Dragon Tattoo series. Of course, Monte Cristo and the Dragon Tattoo are both biblical in length. But this is what makes them so brilliant, the authors spent as much time completing the satisfying and justified revenge as they did on the (unjust) destruction of the heroes.
Which brings me to The Woodcutter. As the story develops we are introduced to a gruff, unsophisticated, powerful man who's humility immediately attracts the reader. He is betrayed and destroyed to the point that any part of what made him great in his world could never be redeemed. The conspiracy against him is every bit as sophisticated and developed as Larrson's trilogy. (If you haven't listened to the The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo trilogy, stop here and buy it now.)
What disappoints me here is the lack of depth and completeness in the revenge itself. There, I've said it. I listened to every minute of this book with relish. It is entertaining and clever. The mystery revealed is remarkable. However, its lack of detail and brevity left me disappointed.
Still, its a great book, well worth your time!
I wasn't sure about this book at first. I listened to the sample audio and decided to take a chance. It was well worth it. Kind of like the Count of Monte Cristo as told by a great-grandson of Charles Dickens. A compelling and intelligent thriller with humor and heart.
I listen to audiobooks when I drive and when I hike.
I listen to audiobooks when I'm driving and when I'm hiking. With some books, I drift away from the story and have to rewind but not with this one. This audiobook kept my attention the whole way through and I was really sad to get to the end of it because I wanted more.
I loved this! Yes its long, yes it takes a long time to get into but so so worth the wait. The second half of the novel is a rollercoaster ride of twists, turns and amazement. I found myself yelling out loud in public in shock when I didn't see things coming.
I'm a big fan of criminal psychology so I really loved the early parts of the book but this might not be everyones cup of tea.
But defiantly stick it out to the end; you won't be disappointed.
People who are already familiar with Reginald Hill won't need to be told what they already know: that he is a master storyteller, mixing a suspense story with deep insights into the human psyche and a powerful ability to make the landscapes come alive. The Woodcutter is thoroughly enjoyable, and at a lenght of 15+ hours it really draws you into the cleverly plotted story. Enjoy!
This listen has it all-momentum, character development, twists and turns, a HUGE final surprise and a tension that keeps the listener listening. Every once in a while you come across a mystery/thriller of shere genius. This is it. This is so good that if I owned Audible I'd give a money back guarantee for this genre's fans!!
"This is how audible books should be narrated"
This is so far, the best audible book I have listened too. Mainly the narrator and his skill. Listen and you will understand. A very very talented man, i am now looking for more books narrated by Jonathan Keeble.
As for the story, very addictive listening, twists and turns all the way, I could not stop listening. I cannot recommend this book enough.
Dont wait, download now and you will be amazed
This is the first review i have ever done, I have to say i enjoyed this book from the first page to the last. I also have to mention the narrator, what an excellent compliment he has made to this book, so easy to listen to and switches characters with such ease and made them so believable. I will be looking for more by this author and the use of this narrator.
Brilliant! Good plot and wonderfully read which makes all the difference.More like this please Mr. Hill!
"witty and entertaining"
This is the first time I've listened to a Reginald
Hill book and found it thoroughly entertaining. The
pace of the story is good with the characters very
easily recognisable as the narrator does a fine job
with the accents. Quite often listening to a story it
is difficult to catch the different characters because
of the pace of the story telling and I sometimes need
to listen several times certain parts to understand
who is who but not in this case. A good listen.
"The reviews listed here are not wrong!"
This is one of the best books I have listened to from Audible. As others have said, it's a compelling story in it's own right but Jonathan Keeble presents a masterclass with the narration. I chose it on the strength of the positive reviews listed here and I was not dissappointed. The characterisation in the book is outstanding and now it is at an end, I shall miss Wolf, Elf and the others. The story is a clever one but more than anything, the central character really pulls you in. On the face of it, we should loathe him from the story presented but I believed in him and found myself routing for him right through the book. This book is a combination of outstanding plot and writing that is then brought to life by equally outstanding narration.
"Reginald Hill - back to his best"
A marvellous, intricate story that keeps one guessing until the end. Beautifully read by Jonathan Keeble - 16+ hours of real enjoyment that I did not want to finish.
What a good book, the narration is one of the best I have listened to. Good storyline with characters that come to life because of the brilliant narration. Wolf and Dol Trapp where two of my favourite characters.
Please buy it you will not be disappointed.
"One of the best readers ever."
You know how a voice can make or break a book? Well, this is an excellent book made brilliant by the reader. His female voices are delicate, believable and distinguishable; how a white man manages to offer the rich rounded baritone sound of a well educated African is a mystery in itself. His other voices, the various accents of the northern counties, the oleaginous soft voice of the MI5 man, the east London voices of the solicitor and his wife - brilliant. This is just the kind of reader we need. Top marks. The mystery itself is unusual and well crafted.
"Best book in ages"
Seriously - this is great. I've read all of Hill's Dalziel and Pascoe novels, which I love, but this one is something else. Yes, it has a great plot, but the characterization is I think what makes the difference, Wolf, the protagonist, seems to have taken on a life of his own and its as if Hill is writing about someone real, rather than someone fictional. No matter where you are in the story, you can't help but engage with and root for this guy. Somehow I managed to cram 16 hours of listening into about 4 days and wished it would never end. If this ever gets produced for screen, its going to have to be handled really carefully because there is so much genius to mess up.
"A compelling story"
The combination of Reginald Hill's writing and Jonathan Keeble's reading make this excellent listening. I didn't want to pause the story and lot's of things didn't get done because I wanted to know what was going to happen next.
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