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on 26 July 2016
I really could not decide how to rate this book! Without doubt it is the most graphically violent book I have ever read. I almost feel guilty for having continued to read, which I did despite often being repulsed & nauseated by the narrative.
Perversely, the storyline is gripping, as usual Neil Cross writes in a tightly scripted style which keeps the story moving at breakneck speed.
Confused? Me too!
To sum up, this is a crime novel with no holds barred, an amazing if often frightening book. It gripped me like a rabbit caught in headlights - petrified & unable to leave. Read it if you have a strong stomach for (literally) gut wrenching descriptions, possibly the most graphic you will ever have encountered.
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on 15 November 2015
There was a couple of reasons why I bought this book. Firstly, I noticed all of the great reviews surrounding the novel, and secondly, I'm a big fan of Luther the TV series. So with these in mind I had high hopes for this book, and boy it did not disappoint! If you are a fan of the TV series you will enjoy reading this as it's just like reading an episode of the tv show - the main difference being the internal monologue of the various characters which gives you further insight into their behaviour and personality.

Like the TV series this book is dark, gritty and gripping and will keep you on your toes throughout. I highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys the TV show, but you don't need to have seen it to understand what's going on because it acts as a prequel to the first season. Anyway just get this book because it is amazing!!
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on 10 June 2017
I've seen Luther on tv but this is the first book I've read and WOW. From the start it is gripping, a bit too graphic at times but the story merits that. The way Luther fights his own inner devils to get the increasing number of murders solved is brilliant
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on 9 August 2016
This novel is dark, sinister and basically just like an episode of Luther. If you have watched and enjoyed the TV series, then it's impossible to read this and not be immersed with the TV characters in your head as you read. This adds a great dimension to the book as it becomes incredibly involved and you get to understand the characters more. The plot is truly dark and unpleasant at times, but nothing you wouldn't expect having seen the series. It's great. In two words: "buy it".
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 15 March 2012
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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on 5 March 2016
This must be the best book ever. It was so fast paced and so totally like the television production that sometimes it read like a script and you could almost see and hear Luther as he is on the television. It was the most tense storyline I've ever read with other side stories running along it at the same time so there was never, ever a dull moment. I absolutely loved it and just didn't want it to end and now I can't wait until the next book is released, hope it's soon.
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on 21 July 2016
I'm a huge fan of the Luther series and wasn't sure where this novel fitted in with that but it is all explained in a post script at the end. I enjoyed the storyline which was made easier by picturing Idris Elba in the role. Read in one sitting as could not put it down. I have since purchased another Neil Cross novel in which a few of the minor characters from the Luther novel appear. Can't wait to read another.
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on 26 April 2012
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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on 23 May 2014
I'm a big fan of the tv show Luther and Idris Elba brings a really focused fury to an intriguing character.
As always, when you read a book after seeing the character on tv (or vice-versa) you always read the book with that actor in mind. As this is a stand alone book written AFTER the tv show, the John Luther character actually is Idris!

The plot is very dark. A father and son stealing babies and slaughtering families. Luther and team have to track the culprits and, as you'd expect, the methods are sometimes unconventional and on the wrong side of the law!

I was gripped from start to finish and really hope there are more books to follow
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on 31 July 2012
Like many a "calling", it is difficult to handle.
This book is about a detective who has such a "calling"- to protect the victims, to find the perpetrators and to ensure they do not hurt anyone else.It is the last few words that open a world of ambivalence when the detective is confronted with a choice that may not fit with the legalities of the current system of justice which is often skewed in favour of the criminal.Luther is constantly torn by his consuming need to respond to his calling and the thin line that may cause him to fall afoul of the law.The story is very tense, and involves a disturbo who is kidnapping children to make a "family" in his own image.There are other threads to the story that intersect with the main thrust to keep the tension alive and to prepare(?) for future books about this character.An excellent read as the police track down a disturbo who has flown below the radar for many years committing horrible crimes, and who is determined to succeed at any cost.
Poor Luther needs to dump his unfaithful wife soonest in order to clear the decks for his true "calling"!
Can't wait for another book on Luther.
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