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Publisher's Summary

A brilliant stand-alone 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
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Critic Reviews

“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)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By David on 02-10-13


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."

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15 of 15 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Ann on 12-10-12


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.

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11 of 11 people found this review helpful

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