Friday, November 16, 2012

Luther: The Calling by Neil Cross

When audiences first met DCI John Luther in 2010, he was chasing someone down in an abandoned building. Meanwhile, his counterparts were frantically searching a house. We soon learned that Luther's perp was a kidnapper who'd sealed a child into a container with limited air and time was running out. The girl is found and Luther makes an agonizing decision -- not to save the perpetrator of such a heinous crime, but to let him fall to his death.

And thus begins episode one of season one of the BBC show, Luther.

John Luther is a troubled cop who doesn't always make the "right" decision, but he gets the job done. He's suspended after the events above and closely watched throughout both seasons 1 and 2 of the show -- surely the upcoming season 3 as well. But what brought him to this place?

Luther: The Calling is the new prequel book covering the case that ended in the beginning of the show.

Someone has brutally murdered a young couple in their home. What makes the case so much worse is the fact that the wife was expecting and the murderer took the child. The newborn's chances are slim and John Luther is on the case. As the police frantically hunt for the killer, Luther's wife is slipping away. Concern over her husband's state of mind and frustration about their relationship has backed her into a corner. Meanwhile, any waking moment Luther is not on the case, he's helping out a friend (Ian Reed) and an old man who's being harassed out of his home. Stress doesn't begin to describe it. 

Author and show creator Neil Cross's complicated leading character is the guy you root for no matter what. You see his struggles with his decisions and you also begin to see how each bad decision will snowball for Luther.

Luther: The Calling is dark and graphic. Anyone familiar with the show knows this, but somehow seeing it in black and white -- letters on a crisp page -- it's even more brutal than the show. Course subject wise this one is rough as well. Much more so than the focus of either season so far.

A warning to anyone who has yet to watch the show: my recommendation is to read the book after having watched season 1. I know that seems backwards given the book is a prequel but some of the things introduced in the book tie in to things revealed in the first season. What are essentially massive bombshells in the show will lose their impact if you read the book first.

(As an aside, the book does stand on its own if you haven't watched the show and don't plan to.)

It's interesting to note that having been introduced to Idris Elba as Luther, he has become the character. It's impossible to read Luther: The Calling and not imagine Elba as the quick-tempered and worry plagued cop.

And for show fans (like me) who are itching for more, here's some interesting news about the fate of the show and a possible (crossing fingers!) spin off. And a little vid from BBC One:

(US viewers can apparently expect a new Neil Cross show on NBC soon as well.)

1 comment:

Christina said...

Oops, I definitely read this first. O_O

Oh well, my memory's so bad I'm sure I'll remember nothing by the time I get to watch it.