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The Woodcutter

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  4,740 ratings  ·  512 reviews
Wolf Hadda's life has been a fairytale. From humble origins as a Cumbrian woodcutter's son, he has risen to become a successful entrepreneur, happily married to the girl of his dreams. A knock on the door one morning ends it all. Universally reviled, thrown into prison, abandoned by friends & family, Wolf retreats into silence.
Hardcover, 519 pages
Published July 20th 2010 by HarperCollins Publishers
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Emily The kidnapped boy was a young JC- he repeats what his father tells him then about love and necessity throughout the book. Gives a bit of insight into…moreThe kidnapped boy was a young JC- he repeats what his father tells him then about love and necessity throughout the book. Gives a bit of insight into his background and why he behaves the way he does.(less)

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Average rating 4.09  · 
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 ·  4,740 ratings  ·  512 reviews

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Aug 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I loved this well written, over the top yarn. I couldn't put the book down.
Apr 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Good twists and turns up to the last page. You think you've got something figured out - but surprise... The main character, Wolf, starts his young life with a somewhat black op's type upbringing. Later in life he builds a very lucrative above board dynasty. In a matter of a week he is charged with a heinous crime, almost beaten to death, jailed, divorced by his wife and stripped of every dime he has ever made. After years of being incarcerated he moves back to his childhood home and follows in ...more
Mar 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Dana Stabenow
Aug 18, 2010 rated it liked it
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
Tammy Dotts
Jul 18, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, mystery
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.
Lisa Hura
Jan 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Jessica at Book Sake
Jul 29, 2011 rated it did not like it
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
E. Denise Billups
Jul 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I am now a huge fan of Reginald Hill. The Woodcutter is the first book I’ve read by Mr. Hill, and it won’t be my last. I haven’t been this engrossed in a book in a while. Mr. Hill’s writing is intriguing and suspenseful. In this masterful PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLER told in the THIRD PERSON POV, Mr. Hill has crafted a world of distinct characters and a brilliant and memorable main character, WOLF HADDA, also known as the Woodcutter. Mr. Hill’s skillfully plotted story is reminiscent of Alexander ...more
Shilpi Goel
Dec 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I'm a moth to the flame of well-written British suspense thrillers --- I get drawn to them, I flutter excitedly around them, and I lose focus of much else while the flame burns. And eventually, when the flame does go out, I carry a little of the light inside me for a long, long time.

Thankfully, there are many such books --- nay, let me call them literary works, and "The Woodcutter" by Reginald Hill falls resoundingly in this category. If I sat down and carefully made a list of the best things
Joanne Sheppard
Jul 07, 2013 rated it liked it
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
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
Jun 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is the first book I have read written by this author although I have been a consumer of his Dalziel series, couch-potato style. I found the construction of this book unique as he sets introductory scenes over the decades that provide background for what we will learn later about key figures in this story. Our first "lessons" revolve around a recurring theme: "Grim necessity."
And it is a grim reality tale I won't spoil. Bare outline - a young boy is exploited by intelligence branch and
Nov 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
May 30, 2011 rated it did not like it
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, ...more
Dec 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This books was a 5-STAR +++ for me...What a truly engaging story. The back drop of the 2008 financial crisis mixed with some of the old feudal British past made the story so poignant. The outstanding weave of twists and turns and surprises and revelations kept me wondering and guessing straight through until the very end. And what a curve ball at the end ... nice!

Time to explore Hill's other literary works!

Revenge is a dish best served cold. Or perhaps with an axe.

Wolf might have a thing for young girls, or he might not. Regardless, Elf is suppose to help him or at least set him down road of coming to terms with what he did.

But what if he is innocent. What if there is something more going on?

Nice thrilling ride.
Barbara Mitchell
Jun 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Johnny Bullard
Feb 05, 2014 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Robin Spano
Mar 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
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

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
Carey Combe
Aug 21, 2010 rated it liked it
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.
Paul Ataua
May 28, 2017 rated it liked it
An engaging thriller about a man who makes good in the corporate world, is framed and imprisoned for fraud and pedophilia, and who finally gets out of prison and goes in search of revenge. It is well written with some clever and witty dialogue, and has some parallels to the Dumas classic ‘ The Count of Monte Cristo’. Unfortunately, the plot was much too convoluted, there were too many one dimensional characters, and the revenge just went on far too long.
Berenice Kreymborg
Jul 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: crime
Great read, enjoyed this one immensely. First time i have read any of Reginald Hill's books.
All I can say watch your so called friends in business. Great characters, more twists than a slippery slide. Betrayal, treachery,character assassination,loss of all that is dear to you but Hadda does not waiver or give up
Sep 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Well this is the third Reginald Hill book I've read now. the first was good, the second a wee bit disappointing but this was fab!!
Brilliant plot, wonderfully exaggerated characters but so real. Written with wit and so easy to read! I'm half in love with Sir Wild myself!!
Lynn Hutchinson
Aug 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Enjoyed this interesting book, the concept is a little scary, but the characters were meaningful and I wanted to get to the end to find out how it was going to work out.
Apr 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Rarely come across a book which I find difficult to put down, but this was certainly one of those times! It's one of those tales that stay in your head long after you've finished reading.

A masterpiece!
Desert Rose
Jun 28, 2011 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
May 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
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A masterpiece 4 31 Dec 03, 2017 03:12PM  

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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
“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.” 1 likes
“For the first time, she felt she’d laid a glove on Doll Trapp. ‘Well, you really are full of surprises,’ she said. ‘Interesting theory. I’d be careful who you share it with. Now, where was I?’ That” 0 likes
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