“ Genre: Crime/Thriller / Author: Reginald Hill / Narrator: Jot Davies. „
The Woodcutter (Abridged) by Reginald Hill
The author, Reginald Hill is probably most well-known for his Dalziel and Pascoe series of novels along with the Jo Sixsmith series which I personally think are extremely funny and entertaining.
== Plot synopsis ==
Wolf Hadda leads an idyllic life. He is a successful entrepreneur, who has been knighted for his services to business and is married to a woman he loves.
But then one day, out of the blue, he receives a visit from the Police. They find child porn on his computer and it is discovered that money has been disappearing out of his business, Woodcutter Enterprises. He ends up being convicted as a fraudster and paedophile. He loses everything, his friends, family and business. No one listens to his protestations of innocence. He is jailed for 7 years.
When he is finally released, he searches for the truth and with it revenge . . .
== My thoughts ==
I enjoyed this novel a great deal. It is a psychological thriller. The story starts off in the present around about 2010 when Wolf is arrested and then moves to 2017 when he is released. It did feel a bit weird reading a book set a few years in the future but there is no mention of any technology or extra detail to suggest it is 2017 and not 2011.
I liked the way Wolf Hadda was characterised. I could understand the pain he was going through. I also liked the way we learn about his past life as the novel progresses, as he does have a shadowy past that is revealed to the reader in small chunks as the novel progresses.
He is strong-minded but somewhat uncommunicative at the start when he is in prison, but when we learn about his younger years, you see the vulnerable side of him and how he matured into the strong person he is today. He still does have a vulnerable side even though he doesn't show it. I could understand that you would be pretty uncommunicative if you had been accused of being a paedophile and thrown in prison.
The events that befall him seem plausible even though the novel is about a guy who starts off with nothing and then ends up with a fairy tale world, but then loses it all again when he is sent to prison.
This version is abridged I believe. I did think there may have been quite a bit of Wolf Hadda's past that may have been chopped out especially his late teenage years. I didn't really find it all that distracting though. If I find an unabridged version then I will definitely pick it up and read it just to see if there are any details I may have missed.
I liked the way the main character goes about getting retribution from everyone who betrayed him. There is also the entry of a shadowy character who Wolf considers to be a mentor who helps him in the background. He is a bit of an enigma but I did enjoy the parts he came in. You are never really sure for most of the novel whether he has Wolf's best interests at heart or not.
Alva Ozigbo is a prison psychiatrist who Wolf starts to talk to when he is in prison. I felt she was a bit too inquisitive and too nosey. Although, I could understand her actions.
Wolf has humble roots as he is the son of a woodcutter, but his wife is from an upper class family. We therefore get a look at the upper class lifestyle. I wasn't too sure about how accurately this was portrayed, but the narrator was able to deliver perfect accents for all the characters including the upper class ones and their behaviour seemed like what they would do.
There is a twist near the end that made me feel slightly sick, but apart from that it is a fine novel. There are lots of twists and it keeps you guessing and the writing style is such that it keeps you wanting to read on until the end.
== Audio narration ==
This was released in 2010. It is available to download from the audible site. It was read by Jot Davies and is 6 hours and 5 mins in length.
The narrator does an excellent job of reading the story and voicing all the characters. I liked the way he changed his voice of Wolf whilst reading the part of the story to do with his younger life and then when he is older, you can hear the difference in his voice as it has changed and become more mature and stronger sounding.
== Summary and recommendation ==
I give this 5 stars. I found it thoroughly entertaining and there are many things going for it. The main character is well developed so you can empathise with him, there are many twists and the writing style keeps you reading right till the end. The narrator does a very good job of reading the story.
I will listen to the unabridged version if I find it, but I thought this abridged version was well done compared to others I have listened to in the past.