Wednesday, September 5, 2012

#BookReview: Luther: The Calling - Neil Cross

Fans of the BBC miniseries are no stranger to the brooding figure who observes crime scenes with his hands stuffed in his pockets.  But they'll learn in Luther: The Calling where that habit came from and why lead character, John Luther, does just that.  In this prequel to the miniseries, Neil Cross introduces John Luther before we, as television viewers, come to know him.  And in introducing him this way, Cross ties up some loose ends that we weren't even aware of before.

Neil Cross will tell you that he can't imagine anyone else playing John Luther.

I've said elsewhere that the moment Idris Elba put on that coat and strutted into the room -- a big man with a big walk -- it became unimaginable to me that anyone else might ever have played the role.  Idris made Luther.

 And as you read Luther, you can clearly see and hear Idris Elba in every thought, word and action of the character.   If you've not seen the show, please know that my love of Idris does not cloud my opinion of it.  It is simply one of the most brilliantly written and acted shows I've ever seen.

DCI John Luther has a lot going on.  Though he's married to his college girlfriend, Zoe, his intense focus on his job distracts him from said marriage and home life.  But through this prequel, we learn that John has always been focused and always, somewhat, distant and withholding.  As Zoe can admit, she may not know him as well as she'd like to.

So I tell him this, all about myself.  Then I ask him about himself, and he tells me about books.  As if he's made up of all these books he's read, or was going to read.

But it's his intensity that allows DCI Luther to excel at his profession.  As he tracks down a murdering kidnapper, he pulls out all stops to locate the missing children and figure out just who the kidnapper is.  While he has all of that going on, he still takes the time to assist an elderly man that's being harassed by a couple of thugs who feel he's blocking a high dollar real estate deal.  Because that's who John Luther is.  As much as he's able to serve and protect others, he can't get a grip on his personal life.  And that could ultimately lead to his downfall.

I highly suggest fans of the miniseries give this a read as it offers a lot of insight into Luther and provides background about his friendship with Ian Reed, whom you'll remember from season one.  One character that really impressed me, that I don't recall seeing in the television series, is DS Isobel Howie.  She fulfills the role that we see played by Justin Ripley in the series.  But where DS Justin Ripley is just a fringe character in the book, he plays a major role as Luther's subordinate on TV, and DS Howie disappears altogether.  I would have loved to find out what happens to her character.

For those wondering if you can read this book without seeing the series and still be able to follow along, yes!  This lays the groundwork for what's to come in the series.  If you've seen the series and you wonder if you'll be bored with a prequel, no!  Like I said earlier, this serves to tie up loose ends you were unaware of and provides more background on the complicated character, Luther.  For lovers and newcomers to the show, this book is well worth a read.

Published: September 2012
Disclaimer: Copy of book provided by publisher, opinions are my own.

Theme: Paradise Circus - Massive Attack

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