I love Luther when it’s on TV, so I’ve been curious about the book, a prequel written by the same writer, Neil Cross for ages. I read the book as an audiobook, which was, I think, a bit of a mistake for me, as the narrator didn’t make Luther sound a bit like Luther from the TV series, he sounded more like a South London plumber, whereas if I had read it as a book I could have done the voice for myself. The other characters were a bit closer though and I think it wasn’t so much the narrator’s accent but more the book itself or more should I say the book lacking what Idris Elba himself brings to the part of Luther, but as I got into the book I got more into the book’s Luther and tried to forget TV Luther.
Anyway for those that don’t know, Luther is a TV detective series set in London. Luther is a maverick detective with a reputation for being ‘bad’, not corrupt, just bad, with no boundaries on what he’s prepared to do to get a result. In the TV series Luther is a troubled man and The Calling is billed as the case that tipped him over the edge, although to be honest I think he was already teetering over said edge way before this particular case happened.
You actually see the end of The Calling at the beginning of the first episode of the TV series, so it was nice to fill in the gaps and learn more about Luther’s history (like how he studied English at university, I had not imagined that, exactly how much he was in love with his wife, even though the marriage was so troubled and to get into Luther’s head to see how anxious he really is). The Calling is a nasty case, opening with the brutal murder of a family and it doesn’t get much better.
I don’t read books like this that often these days, I used to when I was younger but whereas I can handle fantasy violence I don’t like stories where the violence is in such a real life setting, but still it was worth, because I like the TV series so much, reading this one. I also appreciated the book for showing how a murder case does depend on so many more people than the normal one cop team you normally see in most novels like this.
So in summary, if you’ve watched the TV series, read this as it’s good at filling in some background information, if you haven’t watched the TV series you can still read this, as you’ll be starting the story at the beginning. However if you haven’t watched the TV series I really recommend watching it if you can because no matter how good the book is or is not, you can’t replicate the wonderful photography in the series (I love watching it for it’s gorgeous, dramatic shots of London) or Idris Elba himself.