Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Book Review: Luther - The Calling by Neil Cross

Luther: The Calling by Neil Cross

Hardcover, 336 pages

Published September 4th 2012 by Touchstone (first published 2011)

ISBN13: 9781451673098

Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Crime Novel (2012) In the last few years my viewing habits have switched from movies to TV more and more. This is mostly a result of TV networks and producers finally realizing the thing they have that movies don’t is the ability expand a story like novelist would. That is also why True Detective was such an effective crime show – written by a novelist it has a fine ability to tell a slow burn mystery.

Luther as a show is a bit closer to the traditional police procedural set in modern London. Cross who has written several fantastic novels (I reviewed Burials here on the blog) and two of my favorite episodes of Doctor Who does an amazing job. For my money I think Luther is a pretty well written show over-all. Effective drama, horror and mystery written an amazing detail to plotting. All three series of Luther blew me away and quickly it became one of my favorite shows. I often point as trendy as True Detective is I think Luther is a better cop show over all.

There are not a ton of episodes, but each and every one of them is written by Neil Cross who wanted to fill in the back ground of his main character in this novel –prequel.

DCI John Luther is a well intentioned cop, but he is not exactly good cop. He breaks the rules constantly because of the stress of the major homicides and kidnappings that he deals with. East London is a character in show as much as his partners and wife are. In the show he is divorced, trying to deal with the loss of his wife, here we watch the marriage fall apart and the novel sets up the events that take place in the first series.

I think this novel is fantastic and captures the feeling of the show. The story of a killer who murders pregnant women and steals their babies is as horrible as it sounds. The novel has many cringe worthy moments. It doesn’t feel like a tie-in but an extension of the story. I was glad to know this part of Luther’s story. The mystery is effective, scares delivery and none of it sacrifices character development. I think it is better to start with the Series and then read the novel. But I suppose it doesn’t ruin the show.

Oh yes you need to read this novel, and watch the show both are top notch crime fiction.

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