The Woodcutter by Reginald HillThe Woodcutter by Reginald Hill

The Woodcutter

byReginald Hill

Paperback | November 1, 2011

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A fast-moving, stunning new stand-alone psychological thriller from the award-winning author of the Dalziel and Pascoe series.

Wolf Hadda's life has been a fairytale. From humble origins as a woodcutter's son, he has risen to become a hugely successful entrepreneur, happily married to the girl of his dreams. But knock on the door one morning ends it all.

Universally reviled, thrown into prison while protesting his innocence, abandoned by friends and family, Wolf retreats into silence. Seven years later prison psychiatrist Alva Ozigbo makes the breakthrough. Wolf begins to talk and under her guidance gets parole, returning to his rundown family home in rural Cumbria. But there's a mysterious period in Wolf's youth when he disappeared from home and was known to his employers as the Woodcutter. And now the Woodcutter is back, looking for the truth — and with the truth, revenge. Can Alva intervene before his pursuit of vengeance takes him to a place from which he can never come back . . . ?

From the Hardcover edition.
REGINALD HILL is the author of the outstanding crime novels featuring Dalziel and Pascoe. He has won numerous awards, including the Crime Writers' Association Cartier Diamond Dagger Award in 1995 for his lifetime contribution to crime writing. He lives with his wife in Cumbria, England.From the Hardcover edition.
Title:The WoodcutterFormat:PaperbackDimensions:528 pages, 7.99 × 5.02 × 1.17 inPublished:November 1, 2011Publisher:Doubleday CanadaLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0385671334

ISBN - 13:9780385671330


Rated 4 out of 5 by from The Woodcutter A good Reginald Hill story with interesting characters, excellent research and a fast-moving plot. A good diversion over a number of cold winter evenings
Date published: 2014-03-29
Rated 3 out of 5 by from The Woodcutter Not Hill's best and somewhat of a "Boys Own" story. A beach book at best.
Date published: 2013-02-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Hill's best and sadly last book I took this book with me last year on a winter holiday, and read it all the way, some of the pages even a few times. It's a beautiful story, incredibly believable, while the characters are so alive, each one different from another; you have the feelings that you can see and touch them. The main character, Wolf, is so lovable, in spite of his faults and sometimes lack of manners. I have read almost all R. Hill's books, but this one is amongst his best. I just can't believe that he could right so good; you cannot see that it's a made up story, really feels very much written from experience (although I suspect not). Don't miss to read it.
Date published: 2012-02-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from 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 in the past and ends in the future - in 2018, to be precise. But it's not futuristic in tone. It's more like a unique, twisted fairy tale. I love Hill's portrayal of human flaws with such utter lack of judgment. His characters curse like the best of them, they screw around with each others wives, they murder and conspire against each other. And with Hill's enlightened pen, I find myself forgiving most of them. I didn't love the ending, though it had its own kind of poetry. Maybe I just wasn't ready to close my e-reader just yet. I wanted more. I think this was Hill's last book before he died. I've thoroughly enjoyed every Dalziel/Pascoe book I've read, but this, for me, is that kind of masterpiece that all of us crime writers hope to write one day. A success on every level.
Date published: 2011-03-19

Read from the Book

WolfI  Once upon a time I was living happily ever after. That’s right. Like in a fairy tale. How else to describe my life up till that bright autumn morning back in 2008? I was the lowly woodcutter who fell in love with a beautiful princess glimpsed dancing on the castle lawn, knew she was so far above him that even his fantasies could get his head chopped off, nonetheless when three seemingly impossible tasks were set as the price of her hand in marriage threw his cap into the ring and after many perilous adventures returned triumphant to claim his heart’s desire. Here began the happily ever after, the precise extent of which is nowhere defined in fairy literature. In my case it lasted fourteen years. During this time I acquired a fortune of several millions, a private jet, residences in Holland Park, Devon, New York, Barbados and Umbria, my lovely daughter, Ginny, and a knighthood for services to commerce. Over the same period my wife Imogen turned from a fragrant young princess into an elegant, sophisticated woman. She ran our social life with easy efficiency, made no demands on me that I could not afford, and always had an appropriate welcome waiting in whichever of our homes I returned to after my often extensive business trips. Sometimes I looked at her and found it hard to understand how I could deserve such beauty, such happiness. She was my piece of perfection, my heart’s desire, and whenever the stresses and strains of my hugely active life began to make themselves felt, I just had to think of my princess to know that, whatever fate brought me, I was the most blessed of men. Then on that autumn day – by one of those coincidences that only a wicked fairy can contrive, our wedding anniversary – everything changed. At half past six in the morning we were woken in our Holland Park house by an extended ringing of the doorbell. I got up and went to the window. My first thought when I saw the police uniforms was that some joker had sent us an anniversary stripaubade. But they didn’t look as if they were about to rip off their uniforms and burst into song, and suddenly my heart contracted at the thought that something could have happened to Ginny. She was away at school – not by my choice, but when the lowly woodcutter marries the princess, there are some ancestral customs he meekly goes along with. Then it occurred to me they’d hardly need a whole posse of plods to convey such a message. Nor would they bring a bunch of press photographers and a TV crew. Imogen was sitting up in bed by this time. Even in these fraught circumstances I was distracted by sight of her perfect breasts. She said, ‘Wolf, what is it?’ in her usual calm manner. ‘I don’t know,’ I said. ‘I’ll go and see.’ She said, ‘Perhaps you should put some clothes on.’ I grabbed my dressing gown and was still pulling it round my shoulders as I started down the stairs. I could hear voices below. Among them I recognized the Cockney accent of Mrs Roper, our housekeeper. She was crying out in protest and I saw why as I reached the half landing. She must have opened the front door and policemen were thrusting past her without ceremony. Jogging up the stairs towards me was a short fleshy man in a creased blue suit flanked by two uniformed constables. He came to a halt a couple of steps below me and said breathlessly, ‘Wolf Hadda? Sorry. Sir Wilfred Hadda. Detective Inspector Medler. I have a warrant to search these premises.’ He reached up to hand me a sheet of paper. Below I could hear people moving, doors opening and shutting, Mrs Roper still protesting. I said, ‘What the hell’s going on?’ His gaze went down to my crotch. His lips twitched. Then his eyes ran up my body and focused beyond me. He said, ‘Maybe you should make yourself decent, unless you fancy posing for Page Three.’ I turned to see what he was looking at. Through the half-landing window overlooking the garden, I could see the old rowan tree I’d transplanted from Cumbria when I bought the house. It was incandescent with berries at this time of year, and I was incandescent with rage at the sight of a paparazzo clinging to its branches, pointing a camera at me. Even at this distance I could see the damage caused by his ascent. I turned back to Medler. ‘How did he get there? What are the press doing here anyway? Did you bring them?’ ‘Now why on earth should I do that, sir?’ he said. ‘Maybe they just happened to be passing.’ He didn’t even bother to try to sound convincing. He had an insinuating voice and one of those mouths which looks as if it’s holding back a knowing sneer. I’ve always had a short fuse. At six thirty in the morning, confronted by a bunch of heavy-handed plods tearing my home to pieces and a paparazzo desecrating my lovely rowan, it was very short indeed. I punched the little bastard right in his smug mouth and he went backwards down the stairs, taking one of his constables with him. The other produced his baton and whacked me on the leg. The pain was excruciating and I collapsed in a heap on the landing. After that things got confused. As I was half dragged, half carried out of the house, I screamed at Imogen, who’d appeared fully dressed on the stairs, ‘Ring Toby!’ She looked very calm, very much in control. Princesses don’t panic. The thought was a comfort to me. Cameras clicked and journalists yelled inanities as I was thrust into a car. As it sped away, I twisted round to look back. Cops were already coming down the steps carrying loaded bin bags that they tossed into the back of a van. The house, gleaming in the morning sunlight, seemed to look down on them with disdain. Then we turned a corner and it vanished from sight. I did not realize – how could I? – that I was never to enter it again.From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

Praise for Reginald Hill:"[Reginald Hill] shows no sign of descending from the high quality of his writing. . . . Beautifully plotted and intriguingly resolved. . . . Fresh and memorable. . . . It's a witty, wise and warm read, with rich characterisation and emotional depth." — The Times"[Hill] is a brilliant and witty observer of whatever social order he happens to look at."— The Globe and MailFrom the Hardcover edition.