Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Woodcutter-Reginald Hill

The Woodcutter
Reginald Hill
HarperCollins, Jul 26 2100, $25.99
ISBN: 9780062060747

The Cumbrian woodcutter’s son Wolf Hadda married his childhood sweetheart Imo though she is of noble blood. He became a successful businessman as he, his wife and their daughter live in affluence.

However, their idyllic perfect life ends when police arrest him for financial fraud and child porn. He is sent to a maximum security prison while his spouse divorces him and marries his lawyer. However, the straw that broke the stoic Hadda is the death of his teenage child. Hadda becomes mute refusing to speak with anyone. Several years into his enforced silence and insistence of innocence, prison psychiatrist Dr. Alva Ozigbo finally reaches past his The Man In The Iron Mask facade. Remorseful he admits his guilt, which leads to his parole. Hadda returns to Cumbria seeking solace and answers to what happened several years ago just prior to that knock on his door by the cops.

This is a superb psychological suspense that provides Hadda’s present and back story in smooth transitions. Hadda and to a lesser degree Alva holds the intriguing plot together as the audience will wonder about the fall from grace of the businessman that turned him stoically silent. With a major twist providing the why, fans will relish The Woodcutter as one of the year’s best character driven thrillers.

Harriet Klausner

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