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On the run from his criminal family, Daniel Dayton returns home to Newcastle Upon Tyne when his abandoned daughter is attacked.

But his family have problems of their own. Targeted by a brutal mercenary, their empire is destined to be destroyed should Daniel refuse to help.

Betrayed by his parents. Despised by his brother. In love with his sister-in-law. Home has become a dangerous place to be.

Daniel wants his daughter safe. And he wants his revenge, but in the shadowy streets of Newcastle, things are never what they seem.


"An outstandingly good debut from a remarkable author. I read it cover to cover and couldn't put it down. Well crafted, beautifully written and paced, it kept me guessing from the first page to the last."

Angela Anderson (Educator)

"My only complaint about this book is that it was impossible to put down! An excellent, gripping plot about a dysfunctional mafia family from North East England. I rarely get totally immersed in a book, but Woodcutter exceeded all my expectations."

Peter Coxall (Reviewer)

“Gripping and nail-biting from beginning to end.”

Emris Lindsay

“It is gritty, quite dark, has some good characters with many twists and turns and overall is an entertaining read.”

Love Books, Read Books

“Woodcutter is a dark, mean, drama involving some of the most despicable people you ever will come across in a book ad, yet, it also was one of the most gripping novels I have read in a long time.”

Mackey Stanley (Reviewer)

“A gritty, contemporary crime thriller set in Newcastle Upon Tyne. This book hooked me from the get-go. Deftly written, tight story, totally addictive: a great book club pick!”

Janet’s Book Corner

“A very gritty tale of inter-gang feuding set in and around Newcastle. But with a difference. The outcome is never predictable in a story full of clever twists but the adage that "there is no honour amongst thieves" certainly applies here. The Woodcutter holds your attention until the last page.”

Nigel Masterton (Reviewer)

“If you like gangster violence, twisted loyalties and seriously damaged romantic relationships this will be a good read. The Newcastle context provides a different setting and the story romps along.”

Fiction of Relations

“Going by his first novel, Shaun Baines can write a gritty crime thriller with sufficient pace and action to keep the reader involved through to the end.”

Renwick McConaghy (Reviewer)

“This is an excellent first book from the author. I read it over a 48 hour period as I just got so engrossed in the story. It is fast paced with great characters.”

Martha Brindley (Reviewer)

“There were so many surprises that it kept me glued to each page until the very end. What I mostly appreciated about this suspense thriller was that author Shaun Baines maintained an unsentimental view of his characters. There are no saints or heroes. I recommend Woodcutter to those who enjoy gritty crime thrillers. I hope to read more from this debut author.”

Underrated Reads

“The plot is intriguing and engaging. The characters are well developed and the action is fast-paced.”

Johnna Cornette-Parker (Educator)

“A dark and gritty crime novel based in Newcastle, Woodcutter follows Daniel Dayton as he seeks to track down the mob responsible for injuring his family and get his revenge. Baines writes a sympathetic protagonist in Daniel Dayton, a stereotypical bad man turned straight. He’s easy to sympathise with and has a decent, well thought out backstory that supports his current mentality and actions. I like that he’s rather ambiguous in nature - his moral compass isn’t always right, and he does make bad judgements. It makes him a much more interesting character.”

Sara Garry (Reviewer)

“Woodcutter is a brutal and unforgiving story that leaves you in a cold sweat as you try to navigate the deception, threats and continuous revelations around the Dayton criminal empire. The story is gripping, especially if you enjoy an unrelenting edgy and dark thriller where there are surprises at every turn.”

Peter Donnelly (Reviewer)

“Dark, malicious and full of drama, Woodcutter was just the raw, brutal book I needed to get my hands on.”

Cup of Books

“This is a really good debut.”

Julie Hosford (Reviewer)

“Mr Baines skilfully weaves a tale of conflict and deception, with clever twists and turns that maintain the suspense. By the middle of the book, I was so engrossed that I felt compelled to keep reading all the way to the end.”

Stop and Smell the Pages

Shaun Baines Buy