A brilliant standalone crime novel and prequel to the acclaimed BBC series by the show’s creator and sole writer....
Meet Detective Chief Inspector John Luther. He’s a murder detective with an extraordinary case clearance rate. He’s obsessive, instinctive, and intense. Nobody who ever stood at his side has a bad word to say about him. And yet there are rumors that Luther is bad - not corrupt, not on the take, but tormented. He seethes with a hidden fury that at times he can barely control. Sometimes it sends him to the brink of madness, making him do things he shouldn’t - things well beyond the limits of the law.
Edgar Award-winning writer Neil Cross has created one of the most compelling characters in modern crime fiction - a man who may be a force for good, or hell-bent on self-destruction. For fans of the award-winning series starring Emmy-nominee Idris Elba, and for all lovers of crime fiction, Luther is hailed by The Guardian as “Britain’s own Stephen King.”
©2011 Neil Cross (P)2012 Simon & Schuster
“Luther is to crime fiction what his historical counterpart was to religion.…Gripping, taut fiction by a new master in the genre” (Guillermo del Toro)
Actor/director/teacher. Split my time between Beijing and Seattle now. Listen to Audible on the subway and while driving or riding my bike.
Luther is the most riveting crime novel I have read in a couple years. Listening to the narrative is very much like witnessing a gruesome accident from which we find we cannot avert our eyes. Neil Cross has created a compelling character in John Luther and to a purpose. A highly experienced and intuitive police officer, Luther is convinced that he is uniquely suited to stand opposite the most twisted and depraved individuals in society and, in effect, interpose himself between them and the innocents upon whom they seek to prey. What sets him apart is that he also comes to realize that there is a price which must be paid by those who choose to come to grips with undiluted evil. In a kind of increasingly chilling zero sum game, we watch him gradually sacrifice in his own life all the things which he is working to preserve for others. His ability to believe in himself as a "good" person; his capacity for joy; his vital connection with a wife whom he adores.
It is one thing, and a very good thing, when an author presents us with realistic characters who are never paragons of unadulterated virtue nor irredeemable ciphers for evil. It is quite a different and somewhat less common thing that Cross is doing here. After providing us with a convincing portrait of evil in its most distilled and irreversible form, he forces us to acknowledge the profound personal and spiritual sacrifices which may be necessary if we are to confront and defeat it. The result is Luther, a scapegoat who is forced into the wilderness bearing the excruciating marks of the guilty action which preserves us. In the end you may decide that Cross has created a false choice, but at the very least you will have to wrestle with the question seriously.
This is not pleasant material. Listeners who cannot abide portrayals of abhorrent crimes or who have problems with realistic language or sexual situations should look elsewhere. On the other hand, if you are interested in a gripping and convincing story which challenges some of your fundamental assumptions, you could hardly do better. The book is read superbly, and you may continue to hear it whispering in your mind long after Audible has hoped "you enjoyed this book."
The tone and atmosphere of the book is a perfect match for dark, unpleasant subject. You live inside the tragic, claustrophobic mind of Luther during his chapters, creating an unbearable tension similar to what Luther himself must feel.
It is similar to the Millennium series by Stieg Larsen. Both are crime series and both feature bleak worlds, both feature smart and iconoclastic protagonists.
There is little to laugh about in this book. There is a lot to cry about if a person is given to it.
This book is based on the British show of the same title, written by the man who created the drama originally. It is just as good as the excellent program whose namesake it shares.
Seeking the Truth
Detective John Luther's calling in life is murder. He's exceptionally good at it -- not at committing the crime, but uncovering who did it. He's an extraordinary man; he has a near-genius IQ and has the personality to be liked and trusted by everyone with whom he works and lives. But what stands out about Luther is his eerie sixth sense about people, the type of overwhelmingly powerful intuition we sometimes hear and marvel about (and perhaps were all meant to have but which got lost in evolution somewhere for most of us). When Luther's on the trail of a murderer, he's obsessive, unrelenting, madly driven, super-charged, and ... oh, yeah -- very, very dangerous.
The narration by David Bauckham is excellent. The story by Neil Cross is superb but dark and brutal. It is not for children or even adults who are easily shocked, offended or unnerved. It graphically describes gruesome or horrifying scenes (murder and otherwise) without apology, clearly expresses what Luther sees and feels at the scene and while on his hunt for the killer, and precisely communicates the growing and perhaps soon-to-be unmanageable rage within him. The subplots flow quite well within the story and add to, rather than detract from, the overall characterization of this extremely complex man.
This is one of the few crime novels I would recommend spending your credits on, if you think you're strong enough to take it.
How can the characters in this year's True Detective be worse? Ferrill is asexual, drunk, corrupt, a child abuser and worse!
There's no question my 3 star rating is influenced by the brilliance of Harry Hole, gritty persistence of Harry Bosch, the genius of Sherlock Holmes, the toughness of Dave Robicheaux, and wit of Lady Georgiana Rannoch. I mention these because Luther, for me, falls far short of all of those series.
The murders in this tale are as brutal and inhuman as any I have encountered anywhere. The police work is pretty straightforward, until our hero takes the law into his own hands.
Still I was riveted to the story by its intensity.
The only thing that could have made this audiobook better is for Idris Elba, the BBC television star of "Luther", as narrator. There's absolutely nothing wrong the present narrator, David Bauckham. But I'm just a bit partial to Idris, falling in love with him on HBO's acclaimed series "The Wire". His command of an American mid-Atlantic urban accent was so on point that I had no idea that he was British until the 5 season series had concluded. I'm not a big fan of A-List actors narrating audiobooks since narration requires an entirely different skill set than acting. More than one classic literary work has been ruined by actors (Can you say Elliott Gould and Samuel L. Jackson? 👎😝). But I would have been in sheer ecstasy if Idris Elba just read Luther's dialogue and let Bauckham handle the other parts which he does with great mastery including, but not limited to, British women and men with many of the kazillion European-accented English from East India to the West Indies, from Ireland to Africa, from East End London to Eastern Europe.
But I digress - due to my unabashed idol worship of Idris Elba! This is a superbly crafted thriller with great characters, each well developed. The beauty of the John Luther character is that there is noting stereotypically black about him. He's a complex, well educated, highly intelligent British police Detective Chief Inspector of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), complete with all the personal "strum und drang" of seeing humankind at its worse. In fact, if you didn't know about the television show, at first you would never have guessed that John Luther is black. The author alludes to it very lightly several chapters in. However, it's obvious that either Cross wrote this book with Elba in mind or the actor assiduously studied the overt and nuanced physical attributes created by this author. It is rare that a white writer gives a black character a brain, pride, inner strength, a soul, a love life, and "demons" which manifest themselves into outstanding deductive and organized thinking - qualities required for a DCI. In this book, Luther is going head to head with a psychopathic killing machine who has alluded the police for decades by being smart enough to make the bodies of his victims disappear. As the killer's skills mature, he becomes what a forensic profiler would call a "highly organized" psychopath, totally devoid of empathy, who plans every step of his crimes from start to finish. No impulse crimes for him here - which makes him the ultimate serial killer. Unfortunately, his nemesis Luther is just as organized and is also a driven tortured soul. Both men "live to work", rather than "working to live" like the majority of human beings. Author Cross has created a character which can exist forever in the literary world. I hope "Luther: The Calling" is the first of a very long series like the 18 (and counting) "Hieronymus 'Harry' Bosch" detective mysteries written by Michael Connelly. If you liked "Harry Bosch", you will LOVE "John Luther"!!! More PLEASE & keep 'em coming!!!! 👍😄❤️
I had enjoyed the tv series but this took me too far into the dark minds of serial killers. I will not continue with this series.
71 year old avid reader using either my eyes or ears. I make earrings that I donate to shelters and while I work, I listen to wonderful books. I also keep in mind that you have to kiss frogs to find princes - time's too short to bother with losers.
Reading is, first and foremost, a matter of taste. IMHO this one's a bit too British for mine. I love a good police procedural but I guess local (US based) cases appeal to me more, and getting through the heavy British accent of the narrator (appropriate as it might be) was too much for me.
I loved watching the series Luther, except for the episode with the man who licks his victims. Too creepy. This audio book goes too far in that direction for my taste.
This is essential if you liked the British TV show with Idris Elba. The book is a prequel, and it’s no slight cash-in for fans but a real, substantial crime novel that could stand on its own. But like the show, it’s can be creepy, gruesome and doesn’t shy from sexual fetishes. Often crossing ethical lines and ignoring his wife, John Luther investigates the case of a couple that’s butchered and an 8 1/2-month-old baby is cut from the woman’s stomach. Bechdel test: I don’t think it passed. Grade: A-
The narrator is excellent and does a strong Elba impersonation.
This is a great listen. Possibly only average but then I listen to many many audios. It was well worth the credit I used to obtain it.
Certainly not in the middle of the seat.
When Luther came across his suspect face to face
His female partner made a big impact on the story line.
I would suggest this audio to others. It is worth the listen. Entertaining and keeps you guessing where Luther might end up
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