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Luther: The Calling (Luther #1)

4.13  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,890 Ratings  ·  338 Reviews
Meet DCI John Luther.
He's brilliant. He's intense. He's obsessional. He's dangerous.

DCI John Luther has an extraordinary clearance rate. He commands outstanding loyalty from friends and colleagues. Nobody who ever stood at his side has a bad word to say about him. But Luther seethes with a hidden fury that at times he can barely control. Sometimes it sends him to the brink
Paperback, 362 pages
Published November 22nd 2011 by Simon & Schuster (first published 2011)
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Bound by Vanda SymonLuther by Neil CrossCollecting Cooper by Paul CleaveFurt Bent from Aldaheit by Jack EdenTraces of Red by Paddy Richardson
2012 Ngaio Marsh Award Longlist
2nd out of 7 books — 18 voters
Behind the Hood by Marita A. HansenPhenomena by Susan TarrThe Bone People by Keri HulmeThe Whale Rider by Witi IhimaeraMister Pip by Lloyd Jones
Books By New Zealand Authors
148th out of 602 books — 273 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Aug 22, 2012 Jesse rated it it was amazing
So you should know from the start that I'm a huge fan of the "Luther" BBC series this is a prequel too. So when I saw this book on a shelf I nearly jumped for joy. I was a little hesitant when I discovered it was a prequel, but that was a different me...a stupider me. Neil Cross has now joined the very small list of Detective/Crime fiction gods (as chosen by yours truly) that prior to reading this book was Walter Mosley and Joe R. Lansdale. Now they are a Trinity, dark and grand in their savage ...more
switterbug (Betsey)
Mar 07, 2012 switterbug (Betsey) rated it it was amazing
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 Elba, who consummately personifies DCI John Luther.

“Luther is a big man with a big walk,” is Cross
Isa Lavinia
I don't know how many of you watch (*sniff* ...watched) Luther, but if you haven't watched it yet, you are really missing out.

Let me be honest, one of the best things about Luther, for me, is Alice.

She's so unrepentantly insane! She's done horrible things, things I wouldn't forgive any other character, things I do NOT forgive her! ...And yet I can't help but... like her? Yes, let's go with "like" and not explore how sexy murderous ladies leave me confused.

I killed my parents for the lols.

But the
Oct 03, 2012 James rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime, london
John Luther, as Idris Elba, star of his own TV serial, Luther, gets his prequel in the form of this novel – Luther: The Calling – written by the same author, Neil Cross. Coming out in 2011, around the same time as the second Luther serial, this novel describes the case immediately prior to the TV serial. In fact, it runs up almost completely to the start of the first episode – covering everything that leads up to the suspension that Luther returns from. This is a dark introduction, not for the ...more
Tom Wruble
Oct 05, 2012 Tom Wruble rated it really liked it
It got to the point yesterday where I couldn't put it down.

I found Bill Turner, an 85 year old character especially likeable, honorable and adaptable. Just because things were a certain way when he was young doesn't mean that it was right. Here's the passage that I found the goodness of man in:

Bill bets a few quid, watches a few races, doesn't make a penny
but enjoys himself anyway.
Then he goes out. Poor little Paddy's tied to a lamp post. His
little legs are shaking with cold and the terror of
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Benoit Lelievre
May 31, 2014 Benoit Lelievre rated it really liked it
If you're a John Luther fan like I am, you need to know this - LUTHER : THE CALLING lives up to its tremendous lead character's legacy. It's a bona fide chapter of Luther's adventure and not a cash-in byproduct, altough it is Alice Morgan-less. From the first sentence, the authority of Neil Cross' narrative voice is palpable. You can almost hear Idris Elba's voice and see his tortured scowl. THE CALLING is structured like a LUTHER season, it mixes up cases and bad guys in its own unique, frantic ...more
"Luther: The Calling" is the first book in a series that stars no nonsense Deputy Inspector John Luther.

The story opens when one of Luther's friends on the police department gets roughed up by two thugs hired by a man who is trying to get a senior citizen to sell his home so the criminal can develop the land.

The central part of the story involves a serial killer who murders a young husband and wife and steals their infant.

Luther is a workaholic who puts himslf so much into the investigation that
Jan 07, 2016 Monica rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Als fan van deze fantastische tv-serie moest ik dit boek natuurlijk wel lezen. Het verhaal speelt zich af vóór de afleveringen van de tv-serie. Een prequel dus.
Vanaf de allereerste blz. zat ik in het verhaal. De bekende eigenschappen van Luther worden feilloos neergezet. In het begin moest ik even wennen aan de schrijfstijl, alsof je een script leest. Maar na 5 hoofdstukken was dit gevoel over en kon ik het boek niet meer wegleggen.

Jan 16, 2016 Jennifer rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, audiobook
In full disclosure, I haven't watch the TV series "Luther" yet, although it's been on my to-watch list for quite a while. I just went ahead and read this, since I heard that it was a prequel to the TV series, and I was in the mood for it :)

I enjoyed this quite a bit, although I think that I would've enjoyed it more, had I seen some TV episodes and was more sensitive to the characters, especially Luther. This isn't a light-hearted crime novel, and there is a lot of ugliness portrayed, not only of
Oct 19, 2012 Pat rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2012
Fantastic book! The story moves along quickly and I did not want to stop reading it. I have not seen the series, Luther, but that did not seem to matter in reading this book. Easy to learn and follow the characters. A gripping story right up to the end. Highly recommend but not for the squeamish.
Allison Tynan
May 17, 2012 Allison Tynan rated it liked it
An absolute page turner, a really thrilling book. The reason I've given it three stars was the subject matter was a bit dark for me. Don't get me wrong I can "do dark" but this just went a bit too far for me to really appreciate it.
David Graham
Sep 22, 2014 David Graham rated it it was amazing
I stumbled across Luther on one of the On-Demand download channels having missed it's original broadcast. I quickly became hooked on it, on paper the tortured cop could come across as a cliche but the writing and performances ensured that didn't happen. It was really satisfying then to find this prequel to the series. The book builds wonderfully to the opening scene of season one episode one. There are some truly unsettling descriptions of horrible crimes by a horrible criminal. You are really i ...more
Paul Pessolano
Oct 25, 2012 Paul Pessolano rated it it was amazing
“Luther The Calling” by Neil Cross, published by Touchstone Books.

Category – Mystery/Thriller

Detective Chief Inspector, (this is an English mystery); John Luther is a brilliant detective but has some serious problems. He not only has personal problems at home but is somewhat of a maverick at work. He is known for not following the rules and has questionable interrogation techniques. He is a driven man who once he is on a case cannot let it go, in fact, he becomes so involved he gives up home and
Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
Originally posted on A Reader of Fictions.

If you're a regular reader of this blog, you probably already know that mysteries just aren't really my thing. They can be good, but they're all so similar in their plot arc, and I just don't feel compelled to read many. As such, I usually reject review requests for mysteries. However, I made an exception for this one, because it's based on a BBC series, one I haven't seen actually, but still! The allure of British programming is irresistable to me!

The C
Karen Brooks
Jun 03, 2012 Karen Brooks rated it it was amazing

I have never read a Neil Cross book before, but I have seen the brilliant television series, Luther, written by Cross and played by Idris Elba. It was fitting then that I read this book first as it’s the prequel to the TV series and was written with Idris’ characterisation of Luther firmly in Cross’ mind.

This story tells of the events that lead up to Luther’s suspension, break down and the dissolution of his relationship with his wife. Related in sparse, powerful prose, we watch Luther unravel
Mar 29, 2012 Gerald rated it liked it
Shelves: london
Definitely not the sort of thing I normally read. A dark, dark, dark story (Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was like a disney comic compared to this) and I don't normally like that.

But this is Luther. Reading this is just as good as watching an entire 6 part series of Luther. And seeing as there isn't one out for a while, this'll do just fine.

Despite the darkness, Neil Cross has somehow created an incredible set of characters. Setting this book before the first series was a good idea, because there
Craig Sisterson
Nov 24, 2011 Craig Sisterson rated it it was amazing
There are many examples of crime novels that have been adapted, whether loosely or authentically, for the big and small screen, but the reverse is far less common. TV tie-ins can be pretty mediocre (being kind), but a recent release bucks that trend magnificently, perhaps because the creator of award-winning British TV series Luther is in fact himself an acclaimed novelist, and has been the one to bring his onscreen characters to the page.

Neil Cross takes us back before the beginning with Luther
Dec 20, 2011 Karen rated it it was amazing
Upside, Neil Cross has written some fantastic recent books. Downside, LUTHER THE CALLING has a connection with a TV series which I've never seen. So interesting to see if a fabulous author has written a fabulous book, regardless of whatever's been going on over on the small screen. Especially as, I believe, this has been a reverse adaptation with the TV series coming before the book.

The most important thing about any of this author's books is that, particularly as he has such a name as a scriptw
Sep 16, 2012 Barbara rated it it was amazing
LUTHER : The Calling
Neil Cross
No one does police procedurals or murder mysteries like the BBC and turning the series into a book, instead of the other way around, introduces a whole other audience to this haunting character.
Luther is a police detective, battling his own private devils which are only hinted at to the reader. His lovely wife is tired of his lack of communication and withdrawal from every one and every thing except the case he is involved with at the moment.
In the beginning pages
Oct 30, 2012 Misha rated it really liked it
Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book as a Goodreads giveaway.

When viewers of the British crime drama Luther first meet DCI John Luther, he’s literally on a precipice wrestling with a questionable decision. This novel tells the story of how Luther came to that moment, how his personal ethics became more and more grey as his life crumbled and a difficult murder-kidnapping case took its toll. As a reader, I was left wondering, “If I had seen the things Luther has seen, would I have done
Jan 21, 2013 Cole rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
If you haven't already figured it out, this book is a prequel to the television series Luther which is named for its protagonist DCI John Luther. I strongly believe you need to have seen the tv show before reading this book (as I did). Most of the plot probably holds up fine on its own without having seen the tv show, but I believe the magnitude and weight of what happens in this book is thrown off if you haven't. And that stuff matters, but beyond that it is a really good tv show (think procedu ...more
May 29, 2012 Michael rated it really liked it
DCI John Luther is a man on the edge. Highly regarded by friends and colleages Luther demands respect. But he also some one who is intense, obsessive and at times downright dangerous. When a couple is murdered and a still alive child is taken Luther and the Serious Crimes Unit are put on the job. We see early on the lengths Luther will go to get results wich go well beyond going by the book.

While trying to catch the killer and find the child who is barely alive John helps out a war hero who is b
Nitya Sivasubramanian
Remember that horrifying scene in the first episode of Luther where he's looking down at a man hanging by his fingers? Well if like me you were just gagging to know what his story was, The Calilng is your answer. However, if, like me, you spent most of the show wondering about why and how the characters became who they are, you will be sadly disappointed. By the time this book opens, the main characters are already well on their way to becoming the people you would recognize from the show. S ...more
Oct 01, 2013 Sandie rated it it was amazing
Luther is the kind of detective you definitely want on your side if a crime has been committed. He is brilliant, intense, totally dedicated and he won't give up until the criminal has been brought to justice. These same qualities make the people around him nervous. His wife, Zoe, worries about his health and stress levels and the marriage isn't good these days. His commander worries about what Luther will do to bring justice and which day he steps over the line might be his last.

London needs L
Thomas Edmund
Sep 22, 2012 Thomas Edmund rated it it was amazing
Luther the Calling brings the brutal character Luther into novel format with a prequel to the TV series. Written by Neil Cross the original creator of the series, this book stays very true the characters and compliments the series well.

In the same breath, a completely new fan without seeing the Luther series prior to reading this will still enjoy this novel. The prose is tight as, the world the characters in harsh and dark. The mystery, the relationships, and Luther's mental health are all as a
Jul 22, 2013 Barbara rated it really liked it
My interest in this book started with the Luther television series which is excellent and stars Idris Elba. When I heard that the screenwriter of this series is also a novelist and had written a novel based on the character that served as a sort of a prequel to the beginning of the series, I was interested. However, I was a little skeptical as to what the quality might be. My fears were unfounded. Neil Cross, the author, is an excellent writer in both forms. The book centers around Luther's hunt ...more
Lou Robinson
Jan 06, 2012 Lou Robinson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I LOVED it. But then, not overly surprised because I loved the TV series too. I liked the writing style, and think that had much to do with it being written by Neil Cross who wrote the original Luther screenplays. It was no-nonsense, straightforward, short snappy sentences. Not paragraphs of wordy description, just 360 pages of good fast paced story from start to finish. A tad gruesome in places, I wonder if that made it better for print than the small screen.

I certainly hope there is more to co
Clay Stafford
I’m a speed reader. I read one book a night. This one I had to take slowly like bites of a great home-grilled steak. It was too good to rush through. Even at a slower pace, though, once I started reading, I couldn’t stop. Frankly, the book is nightmarish. The bad guy will give you the willies. He’s a madman. He’s a genius.

Here’s the freaky part: as author Cross writes, “People put so much of their lives out there. On Facebook and wherever. There’s so much information on who we are, how we’re fee
Apr 05, 2015 Julia rated it liked it
Neil Cross is a screenwriter who created the TV series Luther. 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 t
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Neil was born in Bristol in 1969. He lived in Edinburgh, Brighton, Leeds and London before settling down. He is the author of several novels including Always the Sun, Burial and Captured as well as the bestselling memoir Heartland. He was lead scriptwriter for the acclaimed series 6 and series 7 of the BBC spy drama series Spooks and is the creator of the forthcoming BBC crime thriller Luther, whi ...more
More about Neil Cross...

Other Books in the Series

Luther (2 books)
  • The Burning (Luther, #2)

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“What's the golden rule of social networking?"
Luther hangs up his coat. "Don't do it?”
“Jamie Smart has gone home and Adrian sits on the curb at the edge of the field, the bike propped against a lamppost. He can see the back garden. He’s drinking a can of Fanta. He’s feeling pretty good. He’s six years old. A van pulls up. The worried-looking driver gets out and jogs across the quiet road. He said, “Mate—what’s your name?” 0 likes
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