The Woodcutter by Reginald Hill. Harper, 2011.
The Woodcutter is the story of Wolf Hadda, the son of a Cumbrian woodcutter turned wealthy businessman. That is, until his world comes crashing down with a morning police raid on his home. Unable to prove his innocence, Wolf focuses on getting out of jail and finding out who framed him. Dr. Alva Ozigbo, his prison psychiatrist, becomes convinced of his rehabilitation and aids in him getting parole. Soon, however, she begins to worry about what Wolf is up to. Alva doesn’t want Wolf’s need for revenge to land him back in jail.
Though the reader knows more about Wolf’s actions than Alva, you still aren’t sure exactly what he’ll do. My main complaint about the novel is that it is longer than it needs to be. I felt like I read a good chunk of the book before Wolf even got out of prison and then the unraveling of the plot takes another 350+ pages. In all, the book is 528 pages long! In my opinion, that is really long for a mystery/thriller book, and The Woodcutter doesn’t need to be that hefty. There are one or two big shockers in this book, but it mostly unfolds along a relatively predictable path. Overall, The Woodcutter is a good story and a fun read, but not the best thriller I’ve read this year.