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38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just excellent!
I am a huge Luther fan. And being able to read about him as well as watch him on television, well, it gave me mixed feelings. Feelings of terror and dread about what I would find inside. Feelings of exhilaration, fear, excitement. I couldn't wait! And Neil Cross didn't disappoint me.

Firstly, let me say that LUTHER: THE CALLING is freestanding from the series...
Published on 15 Aug. 2011 by Mel Sherratt

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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars You don't need to be familiar with the TV series
Neil Cross is a screenwriter who created the TV series Luther - Series 1 [DVD]. This novel is a prequel to that series, which I have never seen, but it also works as a standalone crime novel.

DCI John Luther, "a big man with a big walk", is a damaged cop whose marriage is falling apart. The story involves two cases. In the first, a property developer is...
Published on 7 Aug. 2011 by Julia Flyte


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38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just excellent!, 15 Aug. 2011
This review is from: LUTHER: The Calling (Hardcover)
I am a huge Luther fan. And being able to read about him as well as watch him on television, well, it gave me mixed feelings. Feelings of terror and dread about what I would find inside. Feelings of exhilaration, fear, excitement. I couldn't wait! And Neil Cross didn't disappoint me.

Firstly, let me say that LUTHER: THE CALLING is freestanding from the series. This is an original book and not a tie-in or novelization. It's one of John Luther's cases pre-series. So there are some characters in there that you don't expect to read about, which I found really good. If, like me, you like the television series for it's unbelievably believable writing, characters and plots, then you'll love LUTHER: THE CALLING. If you haven't watched any of series one or two of Luther, you could pick this book up and enjoy it as it stands. And I have to say, for me, reading it with Idris Elba in mind was wonderful!

LUTHER: THE CALLING is dark, compelling, squeamish, pacy, twisted, well written obviously, ghoulish. In one word - perfect. It felt to me like reading a TV script in book form. Short, sharp sentences. A sense of place would be described in only three words. A character described in four or five words. But the words used were so perfect to provide exactly the right images and feelings.

The only thing I don't like about a book which is this good is that it is so hard to review - I want to say and this happens and then this happens next and wait until you read this part...there are so many euwww moments in it that make it fabulous.

John Luther is now a crime fiction hero - or maybe an anti-hero - and I can't wait to read the next book.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic book, a must have for any fan of the tv show, 11 Aug. 2011
This review is from: LUTHER: The Calling (Hardcover)
this book is great, and gives you a real insight into luther's personal and work life. The book leads up to the first scene of the first series, and also gives more information on Ian Reed's greed fuelled killing spree. Also worth noting, that this book mentions a few characters from neil cross' earlier book "Captured". You do not need to read captured to understand the plot though.

If you are a fan of the show you must buy this book, you won't be dissapointed.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars British crime at its best..., 15 April 2012
Wow...wow...wow - what a story.
The story is the written prequel to Luther (TV show starring Idris Elba). The main themes involve child abduction and murder mixed with doing the wrong thing for the right reason. The murder scenes are extremely graphic and leave a sense of fear hanging about in your mind long after you have finished the chapter.

Luther is a man of very few words but when he does speak there is a reason for his dialogue, he is intense and that intensity is apparent on most pages of the book. Neil Cross has created a character who is mostly on the side of good but Luther will cross the line to help the vulnerable - he simply will not tolerate a bully or much worse.

Cross also introduces the supporting characters with few words, he allows the reader to form their own vision of the cast. This is a page turner, flitting from character to character and introducing some enjoyable side quests.

The novel is dark and moody with very little humour although Schenk lightens the mood on occasions with his probing of Luther's mental state.

I read a lot of James Patterson in his early days and have never found a cop thriller that has excited me or kept me glued to the pages long enough to finish the last page until this.

Without doubt it is excellent and will entertain for a weekend, much better than what is on the TV - unless of course it is a re-run of Luther.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars You don't need to be familiar with the TV series, 7 Aug. 2011
By 
Julia Flyte - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: LUTHER: The Calling (Hardcover)
Neil Cross is a screenwriter who created the TV series Luther - Series 1 [DVD]. This novel is a prequel to that series, which I have never seen, but it also works as a standalone crime novel.

DCI John Luther, "a big man with a big walk", is a damaged cop whose marriage is falling apart. The story involves two cases. In the first, a property developer is putting heavy pressure on an aged tenant to move out of his home and when the book opens his heavies have just beaten up Luther's colleague, who has been trying to protect the old man. The second and major plotline involves the murder of a young couple and the theft of their unborn baby. In both instances, Luther becomes heavily and very personally involved.

Neil Cross has a taut style of writing. He doesn't spend a lot of time on back stories or lengthy descriptions. It's tight and relentless and bang! - it draws you in immediately. After only a few pages, I felt like I had been reading the book for some time. The storyline in this book is more complex that his books usually are. He's juggling a large cast of characters. It feels reminiscent of Simon Kernick's early books, about flawed cop Dennis Milne. The pace is fast and the action continues right up until the final page. My main critique is that there's not a lot of suspense (compared to his other books), and the suspense that there is tends to be about what's going on in Luther's head rather than how the plot will resolve itself.

Be aware that it's fairly violent and some of the sexual descriptions are pretty graphic.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Keep on Callin', 17 Feb. 2014
This review is from: The Calling: A John Luther Novel (Kindle Edition)
Written by the creator of Luther (the hit BBC TV show), this is another entry to the series but in novel form this time. It's a deeper look into the titular character's world, in an original story (which is to say, not an episode that's been stretched out to novel length), which I assume has some links to the show, but is also separate from it. I haven't ever watched Luther before, so I couldn't tell you what parts link and what parts don't, but I can tell you that it doesn't matter whether you've seen the TV show.

Essentially it's a murder-mystery novel, but not as straightforward. It also involves a kidnapped baby that's been ripped straight from the womb of a victim, and a deeper motive for the killings than just murder. It also has a pointless side plot that adds nothing of real interest to the story. It was basically just semi-entertaining filler.

The novel as a whole is quick-paced, well written, dark and gruesome--in a good way--and it has enough twists and surprises and action to make you want to constantly keep reading. I wasn't bored at any point and sometimes had to force myself to put it down.

In short: Read the damn book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Calling Card, 22 Nov. 2012
By 
I'm regarding this superb book as a calling card from Neil Cross. He's here and here to stay with his Luther series in novel form. OK we all love Luther the TV series but if he can string together a series of books then we're in second Heaven. This standalone book is perfect and confirms to me that his great TV writing can be transferred to the novel. Don't know how he will progress with this especially as this book, although standalone, is in fact a prequel to start of the Luther first series. So he'd have to skip two TV series if he was to continue with the books. Let's hope he does because the writing is just first class.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Nearly as good as the legendary series,contains spoilers., 23 Mar. 2015
For me Luther is the greatest drama series in British television history and Idris Elba is a legend so i was very happy to hear the man who created it was now turning this dark,brooding and genius work of tv into a novel so we could read a epic story while we waited for the show to return on television.
I must admit as i started it i wasn't sure it could match the series but this is a superb work of fiction and Cross gives us a story so gripping i hope its turned into the film we keep hearing about.
This John Luther story takes place before the first series on tv with a Luther story without Alice and loyal sidekick Justin only a supporting character instead of a regular one.We also have the likes of John's wife Zoe,former best friend Ian Reed,Zoe's bit on the side Mark North,Luther's boss Rose Teller and computer wiz Benny who are all or were all in the tv series at some point.
The plot is about Luther's attempt to stop a psycho child killer and kidnapper whilst trying to deal with his own personal life which mirrors his struggles on the tv series,this is also the direct prequel to the first series of the show as the last chapter is the exact same opening to the first episode of the first series its just that we see a bit before leading up to it,Henry Madsen the character we see briefly in the show is the main enemy of Luther in this story.We also see the first introduction of Justin Ripley.
This is a truly engrossing read and you could easily read the whole lot in one go.The story and nature of it is much stronger and more graphic than the show would dare with quite a few f words along with jump scares and nasty killings with a standout being a nailbiting home invasion chapter where the killer and his sidekick attack a nice family in their home and destroy their lives,don't read it if you are easily offended as its pretty hard hitting stuff.A big chapter towards the end is superb too with Luther facing off with the nutter and not caring if he hurts him or not as long as he gets the truth out of him,this is what Idris Elba does brilliantly on our tv screens and can just imagine him whenever Luther is in a scene.I also like how unlike the show we can get a lot more story about the killer and we find out about his bad home life along with the second in command so to speak who lives with him,also the scenes where he tries to wind the policeforce up and making people turn on each other is exciting stuff(again this happens a lot on the tv series).
The best scenes mostly belong to Luther(who else)and each time he is there you can imagine Idris Elba doing the live action scenes,he also has a new partner in this before Justin and she is a very strong character and helps Luther well.I also like how the supporting names get their own side stories especially Ian Reed(who is a fascinating character on tv and is even better here)and Luther's wife Zoe and her affair with Mark and is mostly the problem for Luther's bad temper.
But this novel belongs to DCI John Luther who is possibly the most interesting television character ever created with a genius way of thinking but a extremely bad temper and goes against his own duties sometimes to get the results needed that often gets him in more trouble(his character reminds me of Denzel Washington in Training Day)even if he gets away with it in the end.He is a dark,brooding,mysterious and electrifying character who pushes the boundaries of his police work a bit far at times but always gets his man(or woman in Alice's case)and we wouldn't want it any other way.
No negatives apart from no Alice and less of Justin than we'd like this is a engrossing wonderful rip roaring novel.
Any Luther and Idris Elba fan needs to read this now.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Intense, 26 April 2012
By 
D. Bane "dazza b" (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: LUTHER: The Calling (Hardcover)
This is an intense thriller which captures in print the tense, atmospheric drama of the two fantastic TV series.
It quickly became compulsive reading; sometimes I could not turn the next page quick enough; other times, I hesitated because I was anticipating some graphic unpleasantness coming up.
I have two nit-picking points (but before anyone pounces on me for being super critical, these points were, in my view, worthy of mention, but not so significant as to pose any threat to a five star rating).
The writing style threw me to start with; not only is it written in the present tense, which took a little getting used to, but an English pureist would have a field day pulling apart some of the sentence stucture. Strictly speaking, there are plenty of sentences that are not grammatically correct.
But for anyone who has seen Idris Elba's stunning on-screen portrayal of Luther, this style very much suits that character. And I guess that is my main criticism. Had I NOT seen the TV show, and not had, in my mind, such a clear cut image of that big man with the big walk, then I may have struggled with this present tense and the staccato sentences. But because I did have the benefit of reading this whilst picturing Elba, and hearing his voice, then I quickly came to terms with the style, and became engrossed in the story.
My only other minor point - without providing any spoilers - is that I found the inevitable showdown between Luther and the villain of the peace to be a little too similar to one of the early, if not the first, episode of the TV series. Once the scene had been set, then for the very first time in all my 'Luther' experiences, I was able to correctly predict the outcome.
But, as already stated, these minor niggling points were not enough to dampen my overall enjoyment of this compelling read. I am not a particularly squeamish person, but I did find myself wincing on a few occasions, and the heart rate certainly increased noticably at other parts.
Personally, I would recommended viewing some episodes of Luther first before reading this in order to get the absolute maximum enjoyment, though not compulsory, as this does stand alone as a fantastic read. But it does become so much more given the superb TV performances.
Can't wait for series three; can't wait for the next book.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good police procedural, 15 Mar. 2012
By 
Jill Meyer (United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: LUTHER: The Calling (Hardcover)
I wasn't familiar with the BBC series, "Luther", when friend told me about Neil Cross's novel, "Luther: The Calling". I ordered it from Amazon/UK because it won't be published here in the US for another few months. I was expecting an excellent story and received a very good one. Neil Cross's story of DCI John Luther of the London Police force seems to have been written as a prelude to the BBC series stories, and introduces the main characters.

Cross introduces John Luther, a tormented black policeman whose problems have problems! He's separating from his wife, who he's closed off from emotionally. A sick killer is at large in London, slashing his way through "perfect families", and Luther is in charge of tracking him down. And another story about an old man who's being pressured into selling his house to a developer. There's plenty of violence, done by both good and bad guys. The violence is graphic but not particularly gratuitous.

The problem with the book is that it just isn't as good as other British procedurals, by Ian Rankin and Ian Banks, among others. The book simply has too many preposterous plot points. I mean, a reader often has to suspend belief when reading fiction, but in "Luther", the reader is suspended in a pit the depth of the Grand Canyon! But I think that's because the book was written as an adjunct to a TV series. The violence and the action has to be on-going. There's not much subtlety in Cross's writing. However, the book IS enjoyable. I'll check out Cross's other books and the BBC series.
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5.0 out of 5 stars As scintillating as the BBC series, 7 Mar. 2012
This review is from: LUTHER: The Calling (Hardcover)
Neil Cross, sole writer of the BBC TV series, Luther, wrote this psychological crime drama prequel subsequent to writing the TV show. I have never read a book based on a screenplay that was any good, until now. Not just good, but unputdownable. Was it as riveting as the series? Absolutely. I wasn't distracted by segueing from film to print, or going back in time, or the sizzling reminders of Idris Alba, who consummately personifies DCI John Luther.

"Luther is a big man with a big walk," is Cross's understated way of describing this very complex and conflicted London detective of the Serious Crime Unit. He was once a post-grad English literature major, who met his wife, Zoe, when they took a comparative religion course together about twenty years ago. She is now a human rights attorney, and Luther fights crime on the streets.

John loves his wife, frequently despises his job, but compromises his marriage for the dedication and long hours that keep him away from home, physically and emotionally. He's hypomanic, which is, euphemistically, bipolar-lite. His mood is elevated and sleep is elusive. He doesn't drink. Now, there's an original and refreshing trait. Too many crime novels portray the alcoholic genius detective. Luther is a genius, but a sober one.

Luther has a temper. Violent criminals, especially psychopaths who harm children, provoke his rage. He periodically goes rogue in his tactics, creating hair-raising moments with his boss, Rose Teller. His partner and best friend, Ian Reed, is on the same page, but other colleagues frown when he disregards policy. They officially complain, complicating the plot and putting the squeeze on Luther's advantage against the clock.

Graphic violence is central to the plot, so beware the beast. However, it is not gratuitous. Cross is brilliant at combining Tarantino and Rumi. Luther is the thinking man's combatant, a scholar/warrior, a David Bowie enthusiast and moral strategist, with a hint of the mystical. Instead of a patched-elbow tweedy elite, which he could have been, he is fighting crime. Luther is a conundrum. On the one hand, he is deeply virtuous and applies his principles or morality to outwitting the criminal. On the other hand, his tempestuous means to an end approach often violate departmental ethics, creating considerable problems for Luther, his colleagues, and his superiors.

With a poetic economy of words, Cross keeps a sublime vise grip on the reader. Oh, those pages will fly and burn your fingers in the process. The pace is crucial to the mood and plot, and Cross maintains a fierce but restrained tempo, as incomparable as the series. You will be installed in the story by the first page; it is so exquisitely brazen, you will screech and howl before it is over. The next book in the series can't come soon enough!
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