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Publisher's Summary

A ravaged wood, a man in uniform long dead - this is not a World War One battlefield but Wanwood House, a pharmaceutical research centre.

Peter Pascoe attends his grandmother’s funeral, and scattering her ashes leads him, too, into war-torn woods in search of his great-grandfather, who fought and died in Passchendaele. Seeing the wood for the trees is the problem for Andy Dalziel when he finds himself fancying an animal rights activist depite her possible complicity in a murderous assault and her appalling taste in whisky. A mind-bending puzzle leading us on the wild side of the pastoral.

©1996 Reginald Hill (P)2015 Audible, Ltd

What listeners say about The Wood Beyond

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Probably the worst Dalziel Pascoe Book

I have read and/or listened to all the Dalziel Pascoe books over and over. I had read The Wood Beyond just once, and wondered when I saw it offered on Audible, why I never picked it up again. Having listened to this audio version, now I know why. Its slow, not at all exciting, and most of the book is spent on Peter Pascoe's family history.

It seems that the current narrator of the Dalziel and Pascoe series, Jonathan Keeble, is here to stay. He is fine, but just fine. He does a good Andy, Peter and Weildy. But his womens' voices are truly awful.

Hope they bring back Shaun Dooley or Colin Buchanan. They are outstanding. I can't count how many times I have listened to the Dalziel/Pascoe books they narrate.

If you are a fan of this great series, you can skip this book and not miss a thing.

5 people found this helpful

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Perfect recipe for mystery

In my favorite novels, there is a mixture of past and present, good and bad, anticipation and satisfaction. Reginald Hill has such a deft touch. His books are never too salty sweet, or bitter--but just a delicious mélange that keeps me coming back for another banquet!

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Reginald Hill in fine form.

What did you love best about The Wood Beyond?

The level of detail that Reg Hill imparts is truly impressive. All the characters are well developed - you are invested right from the start.

What did you like best about this story?

The back drop of the Pascoe family history.

Which character – as performed by Jonathan Keeble – was your favorite?

Keeble does a masterful job with all the characters but I guess I enjoy his Peter Pascoe the most.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

If I had the time - yes

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D and P always a delight

the narrator is very good and brings familiar characters to life. as usual Reginald Hill's facility with dialogue makes the plot almost irrelevant. wonderful use of language. His regionalisms, combine with historical and literary references to make a challenging and compelling read. I always wonder how many times I miss his nods to other authors or past events.

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  • lighthouse 715
  • 05-22-20

Too involved

I’ve liked the last few books from this author but this one shot off at a tangent,tried to tell two stories at once and I lost interest

2 people found this helpful

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  • GR
  • 09-18-16

Hill never fails to give a good story

Would you consider the audio edition of The Wood Beyond to be better than the print version?

I like to listen to audio books when ironing, cooking or gardening, you can't do these with a print book!

I do wish there were more Reginald Hill books on audio, in particular 'A Cure for all Diseases'. I have read this book and borrowed an audio version from my local library. I would like to own an audio copy.

Any additional comments?

When you finish a book by Reginald Hill, you can't fail to be impressed by the planning that must have gone into the story to tie up all the ends.
This was no exception.
Jonathan Keeble gives a good narration.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Nick Glanvill
  • 06-01-15

Slow start - great finish

Really slow to get going but really worth the effort to keep listening. Lots of twists in the plot right to last few minutes!

Excellent narration with good clef distinctive characters.

2 people found this helpful

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  • P. W.
  • 02-19-20

Brilliant and beautifully read

Read the book years ago. I particularly enjoyed the reading with different voices and accents. Amazing job and made the story even better. I listen in the car to and from work and have spent extra time before getting out of the car to hear the end of a chapter

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  • Slipperslider
  • 07-09-19

Great tale

I thoroughly enjoyed it and I didn't want it to finish. wonderful narrator who never disappoints

1 person found this helpful

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  • Hanrattyblack
  • 11-21-17

Dalziel and Pascoe are always a good read

I’ve enjoyed all the Reginald Hill books I’ve read. I was a little distracted by a few too many coincidences and odd moments (especially what happens in the lake at the end - weird).

I really don’t like the Dalziel voice or most of the female voices. Ellie sounds to me like a stereotypical “country bumpkin”.

Still a great book and overcame the spotty narration.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 11-29-15

Another very enjoyable diversion

A really good story, with a most timely and thought provoking subplot on WW1. The characters as always are rich and rewarding, providing color and depth which lasts throughout. As always, Jonathan Keeble reads with the most pleasurable results.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Linda S
  • 06-23-22

The word beyond is a confusing but interesting read

If I see that a book has been read by Jonathan Keeble I have no hesitation in buying it. He plays Peter Pascoe in a believable sympathetic way as well as Dalziel. The story was interesting and satisfying but it was definitely confusing, possibly because of all the different story lines that he was trying to tie together. I think I unless you listen to this without interruption, you can get very confused. But you quickly pick up the story line again, so it's not a real complaint. I recommend it because it’s a pleasure to hear Jonathan Keeble reading anything, and the story was quite interesting.

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  • Heather Relf
  • 05-29-22

Consumate story teller

Excellent! Hill is a consumate story teller- the narrative peppered with droll Yorkshire wit and irony. Characters are so well drawn they feel like old friends! This is a cut above a usual crime novel with the additional plot line that involves personal and historical themes. As always, Jonathan Keeble's performance is superb- he could make a shopping list dramatic!

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  • FictionFan
  • 04-12-22

Wallowing in the mud…

When a group of animal rights activists break into the laboratory of a drugs company where animals are used in experiments, they get more than they bargained for when one of them stumbles into a hole in the muddy grounds of the lab, and falls on top of a pile of human bones. Meantime, Peter Pascoe is mourning the death of his grandmother. She has left Peter her father’s journals and Peter is shocked to discover that his great-grandfather was shot for cowardice during WW1. He finds himself sinking into an obsession with finding out more about his family’s history and what led up to this scandal.

Nestled between two of my favourite Dalziel and Pascoes, Pictures of Perfection and On Beulah Height, comes this one, which is my least favourite of them all by a considerable way – I’d almost go so far as to say I don’t like it. As I’ve mentioned before, Hill often incorporated issues of the moment into his plots and the issue at this moment was the campaign to have those executed for cowardice or desertion in WW1 pardoned. But whereas he usually uses the issue as a base for his stories, here he lets it overwhelm the entire book, and chooses to present an entirely one-sided view of the debate, making the book feel overly polemical. There are endless extracts from the older Pascoe’s journal, with rather unoriginal descriptions of life in the trenches, and especially of Passchendaele. This kind of writing is not Hill’s forte and I fear they feel derivative to me of much better accounts found elsewhere.

That’s only part of the problem, though. The other part is the growing emphasis on Peter’s tendency to become obsessed about things and to spiral into depression. I often feel I have to add a rider to say that I sympathise very much with people in real life who suffer from depression, PTSD or other mental health problems, but, since for me crime fiction is supposed to be an entertainment and an escape from real life, angst-ridden detectives are not what I look for. If I want to be depressed, I read lit-fic! As the series rolls towards its end, Peter spends more time introspectively mulling over his own unhappiness than he does investigating cases. Hill gives him one trauma after another to deal with, and he becomes a kind of pitiable and self-pitying figure, while Wieldy and a series of younger detectives become the more amusing foils for Dalziel. This is the book where that aspect most takes centre stage, and as a result it doesn’t work for me. In later ones, while Peter’s decline as a character continues, it usually doesn’t take up quite so much space and therefore doesn’t overpower the plot to the same degree.

As you can tell, this is all a very subjective objection to the book – many people consider it to be one of the best in the series, mostly for the very reasons that I don’t. I certainly don’t consider it to be a “bad” book – simply not to my taste.

There are things in it that work for me, though. The animal rights activists’ storyline is interesting and well done, and the animal experimentation angle is happily kept off-page enough for my squeamish sensitivities to be able to deal with it without much difficulty. The plot, though convoluted, is quite strong. We get to see how Wieldy’s new-found happiness from the last book is playing out as he settles into his new life in Enscombe. And Dalziel finds himself a new romantic partner in Cap Marvell, who will become a recurring occasional character in future books.

I listened to the Audible version, in which Jonathan Keeble takes over the narration. It took me a while to get used to the different voices he gives for the recurring characters, but once I had, I found his narration excellent and look forward to the next few which he also narrates, before it changes again.

Overall, then, not one for me, but plenty to enjoy for readers who don’t share my dislike of angsty self-pitying detectives. 2½ stars for me, so rounded up.