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The Woodcutter

4.06  ·  Rating Details ·  3,681 Ratings  ·  432 Reviews
unabridged 16 hours 34 minutes

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
Audiobook, Audible - unabridged
Published January 14th 2011 by Whole Story Audio Books (first published January 1st 2010)
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Apr 01, 2011 Trish rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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.
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: the darkness of a cold December night with scorpion tails of sleet riding on the back of
Mar 17, 2011 SenoraG rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to SenoraG by: netgalley
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
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
Jan 01, 2012 Lisa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 22, 2011 Kat rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
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 ...more
May 30, 2011 Cheryl rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
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
Robin Spano
Mar 13, 2011 Robin Spano rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
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

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
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.
May 01, 2012 Mark rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: recentlyread
With Reginald Hill's death January 12th from a brain tumor, we've lost one of the best British crime fiction writers of the last forty years, in my humble opinion. Never conventional, yet fully conversant with the conventions, Hill began his most famous books, the Dalziel and Pascoe series, as fairly straightforward police procedurals featuring an intriguing new duo (rude, whiskey-supping Fat Andy Dee-ell and polite college boy Pete Pascoe), but never stopped experimenting with form and variatio ...more
Desert Rose
Jun 28, 2011 Desert Rose rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
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
Aug 15, 2011 Patricia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wilford Hadda began life as the son of a Cumbrian woodcutter on the Ulphingstone estate. Sir Leon Ulphingstone gave him the nickname of Wolf. At one stage in his life, Wolf Hadda held the title Sir Wilford Hadda.

Reginald Hill takes the reader through the various stages of the life of Wolf Hadda and Wolf has led a very interesting life. As a boy, he charmed Sir Leon’s daughter and left Cumbrian to earn his fortune. Wolf became a very wealthy man and returned to marry Imogene Ulphingstone. The co
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
Lizzie Hayes
Aug 31, 2012 Lizzie Hayes rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
‘The Woodcutter’ by Reginald Hill
Read by Jonathan Keeble
Published by Whole Story Audio Books. ISBN: 978-1-40746-569-2
(15 CD’s – 16.75 Hours playing time)

Wolf Hadda, rich and successful married to his childhood sweetheart, has everything he wants, but an early morning knock on his front door and that life is over. Arrested and jailed, Wolf, is confused at exactly what has happened. Although he protests his innocence his family and friends desert him. Lashing out at all around him, he eventually m
Aug 21, 2011 Dee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Johnny Bullard
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 21, 2013 Joe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-thriller
The author of the excellent Dalziel/Pascoe series provides us with this stand-alone novel - and it is a dandy. Labeled a "crime novel", The Woodcutter is that and much, much more. Sir Wilfred "Wolf" Hadda is living the dream life - great job, lots of money, beautiful wife and loving daughter - which all disappears in the blink of an eye when he is accused and convicted of a heinous crime. This last bit only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Wolf's downfall and nightmare. (It gets worse, bu ...more
Marci Glasgow-Haire
I hold psychiatrists and psychologists in high esteem. They are not real people, are they, removed from the emotional experience of being human, seeing psychological motive everywhere (existent or not). How can anyone with this profession have real interpersonal relationships? The filter for mental healthiness creates, in my mind, a person who is always "on" and who cannot just be.

This book somewhat reinforces that viewpoint. I was fascinated by the look inside Dr. Ozigbo's psyche, though I won
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 ...more
Jun 07, 2014 Benjamin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
The pluses: The plot took off and engrossed me so that I didn't want to read anything else until I'd finished. The characters are well developed, the setting in Cumbria is so concrete that by the end of the book I could have drawn a map. The private-eye is not a middle-aged alcoholic, and, also a plus, is a minor character. The cop is kind of bent without being cartoonish. The biggest plus is that the woodcutter himself is totally unpredictable.

I did feel like the last hundred pages or so was al
Maureen Sklaroff
Sep 07, 2014 Maureen Sklaroff rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This is definitely not the usual type of book that I read. It is so out of my usual reading norms, I'm not even sure what genre it fits in. It is sort of a James Bond type story. Mystery, suspense, action, thriller... Guy lit? At the same time, this book seems to be a modern day Wuthering Heights. Imogen is the modern day Catherine and Wolf plays the modern day Heathcliff. When Imogen tells Wolf that they can never marry, since Wolf is not her social equal, he runs away. We do not know what he d ...more
Mark Robison
Oct 09, 2016 Mark Robison rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A guy’s life is torn apart after being convicted of a horrendous crime and becoming disfigured and crippled in an escape attempt. Then he tries to get to the bottom of what happened. The woodcutter (and international businessman), the psychologist, the pastor and the dog were all so interesting, I would've liked a book about just them without the thriller plot. For me, the downside was twofold. First, it was a thriller but I never had any doubt how it would turn out. Two, the message — that grim ...more
Apr 19, 2016 Jenny rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 06, 2012 Victoria rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-thriller
I REALLY enjoyed this novel! This was my introduction to Hill's work, and I am so happy that he has such a long backlog of books for me to catch up on! There is nothing quite like discovering a "new" author!
I loved, honestly, everything about this book. Alternating P.O.V.s worked very well here, adding to the overall format. The lushly detailed writing style and the rather vast array of well-drawn, three-dimensional characters compounded with the fairy tale type theme made this such a pleasurab
Jim Coughenour
Imagine Andy Dalziel as a rich-but-impossibly-likable businessman brutally betrayed by friends and lovers – and any Reginald Hill fan can imagine Wolf, the eponymous protagonist of The Woodcutter. Hill's version of the revenge comedy is exactly what you'd expect: highly entertaining if masterfully predictable in its plot lines. Plus what you can always count on from Hill, who can't resist showing off from time to time – a running series of literary allusions. The citation I enjoyed the most was ...more
Sep 22, 2011 Fernande rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is good Reginald Hill - which is very good indeed. It is not, however, a murder mystery. It is a fairy story masquerading as a thriller and as political commentary. The fairy story, it seems to me, accounts for the exaggerations of characterization - the hero so very heroic, the wicked witch so very wicked, the ice princess so icy, the elf so helpful, the magician so removed and mysterious. The two most human characters were the priest and the private detective, keeping us grounded in Middl ...more
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A masterpiece 1 20 Jun 01, 2013 05:28PM  
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Reginald Charles Hill is a contemporary English crime writer, and the winner in 1995 of the Crime Writers' Association Cartier Diamond Dagger for Lifetime Achievement.

After National Service (1955-57) and studying English at St Catherine's College, Oxford University (1957-60) he worked as a teacher for many years, rising to Senior Lecturer at Doncaster College of Education. In 1980 he retired from
More about Reginald Hill...

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“Twelve strangers," he interrupted, "twelve citizens picked off the street. In this world we're unfortunate to live in, and especially in this septic isle we live on,where squalid politicians conspire with the squalid press to feed a half-educated and wholly complacent public on a diet of meretricious trivia, I'm sure it would be possible to concoct enough evidence to persuade twelve strangers that Nelson Mandela was a cannibal.” 0 likes
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