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8 must-read books for Luther fans

Can’t get enough of DCI John Luther? Then why not try one of these dark and compelling reads.

Luther creator Neil Cross has said that the drama is influenced by both Sherlock Holmes and Columbo: the nature of Luther’s intellect and how he applies it to solving crimes is comparable to that of Holmes, whereas the show’s use of the inverted detective format – or the ‘howdunit’ – was inspired by Columbo.

We’ve pulled together eight books perfect for those who appreciate Luther’s finer qualities. These novels are dark and sinister, brimming with intelligent crimes and brilliant detectives and showcase gritty, urban streets.

8 must-read books for Luther fans

books like LutherThe Calling by Neil Cross

Where better to start than with the origins of DCI John Luther in creator Neil Cross’s novel The Calling. Focusing on the back story, The Calling has everything one would expect from a talented screenwriter: pace, ingenuity, depth and a stellar cast of three-dimensional characters.

luther booksEeny Meeny by M J Arlidge

This is the rocket-paced serial-killer thriller debut from M J Arlidge and introduces us to the fearless Detective Inspector Helen Grace. This book is nerve-shreddingly gritty and unbelievably fast-paced, and the crimes are sinister and complex. You’ll be glued to the edge of your seat.

books for luther fansNow You See Me by Sharon Bolton

DC Lacey Flint could be Luther in female form. Her past is most definitely troubled, she’s morally ambiguous but with a strong sense of justice – be that within the law or otherwise – and in this, her first outing and first murder case, she is up against a copycat Jack the Ripper. Violence and chaos ensue. A perfect partner for DCI Luther.

books for luther fansThe Burning Girl by Mark Billingham

Tom Thorne is not as morally unpredictable as our hero, but pounds his London beat with a ferocity of character and determination that makes this a worthy addition to the list. Thorne takes justice seriously, and with a plot featuring rival North London gangs and a particularly vicious killer it’s lucky for London residents that he does.

books for luther fansDeep Shelter by Oliver Harris

Detective Nick Belsey of Hampstead CID is engaged in a mysterious and compelling case, and one that is worthy of the serial and serious crime squad. How does a man walk into a dead-end alley and never come out? And stranger still, how does he go on to abduct a girl and dump a body? The answer lies beneath your feet.

books for luther fansVanished by Tim Weaver

Well written, complex, dark and addictive – all words used to describe Weaver’s Vanished. An hour after leaving home, Sam Wren gets onto a tube train – and never gets off again. No eyewitnesses. No trace of him on security cameras. Six months later, he’s still missing. David Raker must solve this mystery by unearthing secrets that go deeper than anyone imagined.

books for luther fansBirdman by Mo Hayder

Birdman is Mo Hayder’s terrifying first novel introducing DI Jack Caffery. Five young women have been ritualistically murdered and dumped on wasteland in south-east London by a sadistic serial killer. A gruesome, creepy, sinister read that’s certainly not for the faint-hearted.

books for luther fansThe Murder Bag by Tony Parsons

Detective Max Wolfe has recently arrived in the Homicide division of London’s West End Central, 27 Savile Row, and finds himself on the hunt for a brutal serial killer. It’s a very modern book, featuring a tough, determined detective who has to remain unaffected by such violent scenes – for the sake of his investigation and for his daughter.

Have we missed any perfect books for Luther fans? Let us know in the comments below!



    We need the next season of Luther!! Also Happy Valley,Broadchurch,Marcella!! Could go on and on!!!

    Fully agree with all your choices. Read most of each of the series’s, but hadn’t heard of Oliver Harris, so he went straight onto my wish list. Thank you.

    I would suggest you add books by Harry Bingham’s series (UK), AA Dhand (UK), and Stacy Green (USA — the books featuring Cage Foster ie prequel, new series and Crossroads Trilogy). These are all gritty, dark police procedurals.

    What about author John Connolly’s Charlie Parker PI series, very similar.

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