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By Diana on 20-01-2011
One of my favorite Reginald Hill books!
I always expect quality from Reginald Hill, and have loved every book he's ever written.
The Woodcutter surpassed even my high expectations with an engaging story, great characters and a study in justice that leaves a lasting impression. To me, Hill's greatest talent is to remain completely invisible as the story unfolds. Too often I read stories that, while interesting and thought-provoking, feel like a message from a writer on his soapbox. The Woodcutter is filled with moral ambiguity, and leaves the reader with much to contemplate, but, at least for me, my reaction was to events and aspects of Hill's characters. Not once during the entire book did I feel the presence of Hill's hand as the story progresses through bad acts committed by good people and surprising kindness from some "bad guys." There is suspense throughout, but it didn't feel dark ... occasional humor and never forcing the pace of action keeps the tragic elements of the story from overwhelming the reader. Highly recommended!
108 of 114 people found this review helpful
By David on 30-06-2013
You are in good hands
Some reviewers have suggested that the book gets stronger as it goes along. I actually felt just the opposite. I had not read any Reginald Hill before, but after only a few minutes of listening it was obvious that I was in the hands of a master storyteller. His unobtrusively artful use of language, the subtle brush strokes he used to paint his characters and the effortless way in which he moved through the exposition allowed me to relax and settle in to enjoy what was obviously going to be a fascinating and exciting ride. This impression was only reinforced by Jonathan Keeble's extraordinarily fine vocal rendering of both the characters and the narrative.
Nor did I, like some other reviewers, feel the book went on for too long. It continued to keep me fully engaged all the way to the last word. My only complaint is that it did begin to feel somewhat more contrived and "slick" as the plot wound to its conclusion. Sometimes even a little obvious. And the literally "bodice ripping" climax (no pun intended here) could have come straight out of the pages of a modern Gothic romance. No question that it was powerful and shocking, but it was also jarring and incongruous in a book which had been so seamless and convincing up to that point.
That said, Hill was such a fine writer and this was such a ripping good tale for most of its length that I could forgive much. I had a great time listening and I think most others will as well.
60 of 65 people found this review helpful
By Mel on 21-10-2011
Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf!
Even if you read all of the "Best Sellers", the Man Bookers, the Edgars, the Hugos, the Pulitzers, Staff Favs, and the readers suggestions in your constant pursuit of good and/or entertaining reading material, this award winner's latest book may have sneaked by you--and what an epic MISS. Thanks to consistently high marks by Audible reviewers, I was schooled, and spent 16 engaging hours hanging on to a rollicking, smart, psychological thriller where the big bad wolf is the heroic axe-wielding woodsman, and sets out to prove that unconventional fact. It took me a couple of chapters to get used to the breakneck pace, and I would've been thoroughly satisfied with a nicely tied up ending at about the 12 hour point, but neither little personal gripe diminishes the experience. My first Reginald Hill--and from what I've heard from other readers, one of his best. A great choice...Thanks-previous reviewers.
110 of 120 people found this review helpful
By Charles Atkinson on 02-07-2013
I'll have Revenge please...
As I listened to this tale it became obvious how much I love revenge stories. The most thorough and satisfying tale of revenge would be The Count of Monte Cristo. The best modern tale, in my opinion, is the Dragon Tattoo series. Of course, Monte Cristo and the Dragon Tattoo are both biblical in length. But this is what makes them so brilliant, the authors spent as much time completing the satisfying and justified revenge as they did on the (unjust) destruction of the heroes.
Which brings me to The Woodcutter. As the story develops we are introduced to a gruff, unsophisticated, powerful man who's humility immediately attracts the reader. He is betrayed and destroyed to the point that any part of what made him great in his world could never be redeemed. The conspiracy against him is every bit as sophisticated and developed as Larrson's trilogy. (If you haven't listened to the The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo trilogy, stop here and buy it now.)
What disappoints me here is the lack of depth and completeness in the revenge itself. There, I've said it. I listened to every minute of this book with relish. It is entertaining and clever. The mystery revealed is remarkable. However, its lack of detail and brevity left me disappointed.
Still, its a great book, well worth your time!
50 of 56 people found this review helpful
By Kathy on 02-07-2017
Love, Betrayal, Revenge--a Masterpiece of Fiction!
Here we go again. It sat way too long in my Library. Perhaps books are like fine wine and cheese, getting better and better as they age (in the Library?) I simply loved this book. I am torn between listening to it a second time and moving on as I have too many other books waiting.
Very brief description. It is the story of a successful business man married to the woman of his dreams. He is utterly and completely betrayed by family and his closest friends in the worst possible manner. It is the story of his attempt to pull himself out of hell and effect revenge where it is deserved.
The scenery is amazing--Cumbria, northern England, sprinkled with lakes, precipitous mountains, considered one of the most beautiful regions in the country. It is a character-driven story. As it proceeds they become more developed. I loved the main protagonist, Wolf Hadda. I went from hating to liking or understanding several others. Some, I never came to terms with. I guess Wolf didn't either.
Jonathan Keeble did an exquisite narration. It was so perfect I will seek out other books by him in the future. I will look for other books by the author, Reginald Hill, as well.
I am SO glad I finally gave this book a listen. It will now be among my list of all-time favorites. As you may guess, it comes highly recommended by me.
13 of 14 people found this review helpful
By Suzanne K Russell on 06-03-2011
A Great Read
I wasn't sure about this book at first. I listened to the sample audio and decided to take a chance. It was well worth it. Kind of like the Count of Monte Cristo as told by a great-grandson of Charles Dickens. A compelling and intelligent thriller with humor and heart.
51 of 58 people found this review helpful