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Publisher's Summary

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

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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  • Diana
  • Fairfax, VA, United States
  • 01-20-11

One of my favorite Reginald Hill books!

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!

106 of 111 people found this review helpful

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  • Kathy
  • Davis, CA, United States
  • 07-02-17

Love, Betrayal, Revenge--a Masterpiece of Fiction!

Here we go again. It sat way too long in my Library. Perhaps books are like fine wine and cheese, getting better and better as they age (in the Library?) I simply loved this book. I am torn between listening to it a second time and moving on as I have too many other books waiting.

Very brief description. It is the story of a successful business man married to the woman of his dreams. He is utterly and completely betrayed by family and his closest friends in the worst possible manner. It is the story of his attempt to pull himself out of hell and effect revenge where it is deserved.

The scenery is amazing--Cumbria, northern England, sprinkled with lakes, precipitous mountains, considered one of the most beautiful regions in the country. It is a character-driven story. As it proceeds they become more developed. I loved the main protagonist, Wolf Hadda. I went from hating to liking or understanding several others. Some, I never came to terms with. I guess Wolf didn't either.

Jonathan Keeble did an exquisite narration. It was so perfect I will seek out other books by him in the future. I will look for other books by the author, Reginald Hill, as well.

I am SO glad I finally gave this book a listen. It will now be among my list of all-time favorites. As you may guess, it comes highly recommended by me.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • David
  • Houston, TX, United States
  • 06-30-13

You are in good hands

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.

58 of 62 people found this review helpful

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Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf!

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.

109 of 118 people found this review helpful

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I'll have Revenge please...

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!

48 of 53 people found this review helpful

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  • ben
  • Coquitlam, BC, Canada
  • 03-27-13


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.

21 of 23 people found this review helpful

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A Great Read

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.

50 of 56 people found this review helpful

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  • K. Wing
  • Redlands, CA United States
  • 05-20-11

A really good story and a really good narration

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.

42 of 47 people found this review helpful

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  • Kelly
  • Mandurah, Australia
  • 07-26-11

Amazing, a rare gem of a novel

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.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

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  • antonio
  • genthod, Switzerland
  • 10-12-14

A great read !

I was not familiar with the author, but a ravish review from a listener i am following - thanks Mindusk.-;) - triggered my curiosity and i finally decided to go for it. I am glad i did it : i spent 16 hours of pure enjoyment . The plot sounds trivial : the fairytale life of a successful businessman and adored husband comes abruptly to an end in 24 hours : betrayed by the people he loved and trusted, he is financially ruined, physically handicapped after barely surviving a car crash and jailed. From then onwards it is only a matter of survival and revenge . Sounds familiar ? It is , but this book is much more than a new take of the Montecristo count or similar stories. It is engaging, exceptional and complex and very well written. A pure enjoyment !

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-23-11

The Woodcutter

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.


66 of 68 people found this review helpful

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  • Annette
  • 05-04-11

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.

40 of 41 people found this review helpful

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  • Gloria
  • 03-03-11

The Woodcutter

Brilliant! Good plot and wonderfully read which makes all the difference.More like this please Mr. Hill!

40 of 41 people found this review helpful

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  • Caroline
  • 06-10-11

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

88 of 92 people found this review helpful

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  • Rosemary
  • 06-09-11

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.

49 of 51 people found this review helpful

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  • Jill Besterman
  • 03-06-11

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.

56 of 59 people found this review helpful

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  • Brian
  • 06-02-11


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.

40 of 42 people found this review helpful

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  • Vivien Tarkirk-Smith
  • 02-20-11

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.

51 of 54 people found this review helpful

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  • Hatty
  • 06-02-11

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.

37 of 39 people found this review helpful

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  • H. Tollyfield
  • 05-29-11

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.

28 of 30 people found this review helpful

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  • Jonah
  • 11-08-15


Well written, good story, great narrator. really enjoyed this book.

exciting, always wanted to find out exactly what the truth of the matter was - as set up in the first chapter right until the end.

narrator was the best of any audible book so far for me, really made the difference

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Linda
  • 07-16-16

Once upon a time...

This is a modern day fairy tale about Wolf Hadder (the woodcutter) and Imogene (the upper-class beauty). Wolf's fairy tale life was just that for fourteen years but then it all fell apart. He was sent to jail, confused and bitter. It starts off a bit slow and I found it hard to keep track of the different characters, but about half way it all seemed to fall into place and I then began to enjoy the book. It's a good story and I definitely recommend it.

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  • Dan Bowen
  • 05-02-15

A tale of necessity

I'm not sure what the audio equivalent of a page turner is, but it applies to this. Dodgy Scottish accent aside, the narration is pretty good too.

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  • Andrew Parker
  • 02-13-14

worth peservering with

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

confusing start but gets better felt empathy with main character Keebles narration is top notch

Any additional comments?

worth a listen