Monday, January 23, 2012

The Woodcutter by Reginald Hill

Wolf Hadda's life has been a fairytale. From humble origins as a Cumbrian woodcutter's son, he has risen to become a hugely successful entrepreneur, happily married to the girl of his dreams.
A knock on the door early 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, and returns to his rundown family home in rural Cumbria.

All those times I picked up this book at the library and then decided not to take it home and I never knew what I was missing!

The Woodcutter is first-rate British literary crime fiction, a standalone novel from an author better known for the Dalziel & Pascoe series.

The story begins with two short chapters: one from 1963 and the other from 1989 with unnamed characters and seemingly no connection except you know at some point they must have which has the effect of keeping one alert right from the the start. With several narrators and moving effortlessly between the present and several past time periods the story of Wolf's life unfolds with several twists and surprises to keep the reader guessing to the end. A very likeable character who I decided early on must be innocent but then, you never know and the 'did he, didn't he' question still hovers. Some great secondary characters, including a dog, and I really enjoyed his humorous relationship with the local vicar but  don't think the story needed the romantic interest with Alva. 

Hard to put down it was perfect reading for a quiet weekend.
Loved it!


  1. Wow, I think you are by far the best choosing books for themselves blogger I know, very good eye, you know yourself.

    1. At my age, Marce, I should!! :-) And it doesn't always work - had my first DNF last week.

  2. I definitely think I would enjoy this one as well and I seem to remember hearing about it before. I'll be adding it to my list.

  3. Sounds like one I need to get ahold of. I don't think I've ran across it before.

  4. I didn't like this one as much as you did but appreciate the review.