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The Woodcutter

1 rating: 5.0
A book by Reginald Hill

“Sly, enchanting…[with] strong characters that complement the fast-paced, unpredictable plot.” (Publishers Weekly )      “He’s lost none of his sardonic wit, punch and complexity… The result is … see full wiki

Tags: Books
Author: Reginald Hill
Publisher: Harper
1 review about The Woodcutter

I really liked this book - a lot!

  • Jun 22, 2011
Reginald Hill, the best-selling author of the Superintendant Danziel and DCI Pascoe books and TV series, has hit a new high, a mountain top high, with this splendid, engaging, tension and event-filled novel. This is the kind of book that reviewers want to be especially careful not to disclose too much, so as not to destroy the enjoyment of revelation after revelation and adventure after adventure that Hill divulges just at the right time and in just the right way, sometimes with teasing and emotional depth. The publishers say that this is a "psychological thriller about a mysterious ex-con looking for vengeance in his hometown." It is much more than that.

Rich, brilliant, respectable, well-liked, and seemingly well-married Sir Wilfred Hadda, known as Wolf and as The Woodcutter, is suddenly and unexpectedly arrested for pornography and fraud. He protests his innocence, but no one, including his wife and friends, or so it seems, believes him. He is found guilty and thrown into prison where he meets a lovely prison psychiatrist and makes a breakthrough, or so it seems. Wolf, like the characters in ancient Greek tales, seems perfect, but has a fatal flaw, a quick temper.

His past is mysterious. He was born to a low class family. While a young teen-ager, he aspires to marry pretty, very rich, aloof Imogen, who takes the initiative and drops her clothes and beds him frequently. She refuses his marriage offer because of his low social class but, as in ancient fables, she gives him three tasks, which if he fulfills, she will accept him. He leaves home and is gone for five years. What occurs during the five years to this boy with raw power and determination is a well-kept secret in the book for a long while. There were some killings during these years, or so it seems. When he returns, highly educated, handsome, and fantastically rich, she….

Later, after he is arrested, and after spending seven years in prison, far less than expected, he seeks revenge. Or does he? What is he doing and why? Who are his enemies and why?

Readers will relate to Wolf, the woodcutter, the man who carries an ax, because he is so personable. "Yes," says one of the book's characters to another one, "and he may have lost…but it's still there, isn't it? Don't be ashamed of admitting it, dearie. Impossible not to like him, right? Well, imagine what he was like way back, a young lad adrift and in danger on the streets of wicked old London…." Yes, imagine Wolf's past, present, and future revealed with suspense and grace by a master writer.
I really liked this book - a lot! I really liked this book - a lot! I really liked this book - a lot!

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