Luther: The Calling by Neil Cross

I like many of the detective/crime series on television, particularly the two NCIS series. So, when I had an opportunity to read about BBC’s hit crime series Luther, I figured I would give it a go.  The book entitled Luther: The Calling by Neil Cross is much more than I bargained for.

The book’s premise is an investigation of the murder of Tom and Sarah Gilbert by Detective Chief Inspector John Luther.  The couple is brutally murdered in their home. The crime scene is grotesque and has an odd twist – Sarah Lambert was 8 1/2 months pregnant at the time of her death and the baby is missing.  Luther tries to find the baby and bring the Lamberts’ killer to justice.

Luther is known for an extraordinary ability to solve crimes.  He is determined and focused to bring perpetrators to justice. Sometimes that takes him beyond the law in order to catch a suspect.  The Lambert case almost drives him over the edge.

I like the character development – especially Luther and his relationship with his fellow police officers and his wife Zoe. For instance, Cross does a good job of developing the friction between Luther and Zoe – a friction based on Luther’s obsessive work habits that cause him to work long hours at their relationship’s expense.

With regard to the plot, Cross brings two different story lines (the murder investigation and a domestic disturbance for an elderly man) together to form a coherent story at the end.  This is amazing considering that neither story line is related to the other.  Cross also throws in a few surprises to the story lines to keep them interesting.

My one criticism is the graphic nature of the descriptions of the crimes.  Maybe I am the odd person who does not need to read the visceral descriptions of crime scenes, but I think Cross describes the scenes a bit much.  I do not need to know the gory details of a murder to understand the murderer’s modus operandi.  Call me squeamish, but I do not need to have such vivid pictures in my head.

The story is pretty good, but it would be better without the graphic details.

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