A fast-moving, stunning new standalone 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 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 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 is 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?
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 Dumas, The Count of Monte-Cristo.
The story begins with a young boy, a juvenile delinquent, plucked from the streets by an admirer.
CHARMING, INTELLIGENT, and TALENTED Wolf is plunged into a world which eventually brings him prominence, wealth, true love and a family―a fairytale existence. A life he may never have attained without THE CHAPEL, a covert organization with obscure origins, and inscrutable members who wield secret missions like a game of Russian Roulette. But is Wolf’s supporter, JC a friend or foe?
Over the years, Wolf amasses fortunes, private jets, homes across the country, and reverence for his services in commerce. He marries the beautiful Imogen, and they conceive their beloved daughter, Ginny. Then one day, his world topples when the police arrive at his door and arrest him for FINANCIAL CRIMES and CHILD PORNOGRAPHY. In one day, he loses his hard-earned possessions, including his family.
In a daring escape from the courthouse, Hadda meets another fate, a head-on collision with a London bus, leaving him disfigured and in a coma. When he awakes, he’s determined to exact VENGEANCE on those who plucked him from obscurity and tragically upended his world.
Released from prison, Wolf lives on the edge of the woods in a secluded cabin with his faithful dog, SNECK, surrounded by fearful locals outraged a pedophile lives in their midst. Regardless of his tainted image and disfiguring scars, many, among them, his psychiatrist, ALVA OZIGBO, and the local church’s vicar are strangely drawn to this fine specimen of a man. Both question his INNOCENCE, ponder his vengeance and fear he’s never atoned for his sins.
As the story unfolds, Hadda questions his FAMILY’S COMPLICITY in his downfall. His wife, IMOGEN? His mother-in-law, KIRA? His father-in-law, LEON? Who else at his side has betrayed him? But the main question readers will ponder is Wolf’s innocence.
The complexity of this stand-alone novel kept me gripped from the beginning to the end. Twists and turns unfold to a SHOCKING pinnacle, truly a steep cliff. The storyline, subplots, WELL-DEVELOPED characters, and SUSPENSE kept me engrossed, as well as Mr. Hills sublime POETIC prose. I highly recommended The Woodcutter to all.
Reginald Hill has been widely published both in England and the United States. He received Britain’s most coveted mystery writers award, the Cartier Diamond Dagger Award, as well as the Golden Dagger for his Dalziel/Pascoe series. Unfortunately, Mr. Hill is no longer with us. His passing came too soon on January 12, 2012.