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Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith

Child 44 (original 2008; edition 2009)

by Tom Rob Smith

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2,874None2,005 (3.98)370
Title:Child 44
Authors:Tom Rob Smith
Info:Grand Central Publishing (2009), Kindle Edition, 528 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:mystery, historical fiction, novel, Kindle

Work details

Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith (2008)

1950s (19) 2008 (14) 2009 (16) 2010 (17) communism (39) crime (94) crime fiction (38) detective (15) fiction (308) historical (28) historical fiction (82) KGB (15) Kindle (21) Moscow (14) murder (44) mystery (162) novel (29) own (16) read (28) read in 2008 (14) Russia (210) serial killer (87) series (15) Soviet Union (132) Stalin (58) Stalinism (25) suspense (50) thriller (174) to-read (67) unread (22)
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» See also 370 mentions

English (175)  Dutch (6)  German (5)  Spanish (4)  Swedish (2)  Danish (2)  Norwegian (2)  French (2)  All languages (198)
Showing 1-5 of 175 (next | show all)
This book is Fabulous! I can't wait to read the second one - The Secret Speech! ( )
  Laurie.Schultz | Mar 15, 2014 |
Russia under Stalin: dreary, dismal, oppressive. Paranoia rules the day as citizens inform on each other, each of them guilty until proven innocent -- except that any proof of innocence is ignored, since that would imply that the state erred in its original presumption of guilt. A healthy dose of Catch-22 thinking rules this murder mystery, as Leo, our main character and an officer of the MGB (forerunner of the KGB), confronts evidence that a serial killer is on the loose. But according to the government, such a thing is not possible, as it would imply that such a perfect system as Communism has created something as imperfect as a murderer run amok. Will Leo risk his career, his life, and the life of his family, to pursue the killer?
Child 44 got off to a very slow start. For over 150 pages, I read on, feeling blanketed by the dark and dismal portrayal of life in the Soviet Union. For those first pages, I admired the writing but felt a little suffocated by the suffering being portrayed without any sense of just where things were going. Finally, though, the plot began to take a more substantial form, and the book became a real page-turner. There is plenty of character development and a real sense of peril, and some twists and turns that, even if they don't come as a complete shock, still make for an affecting read.
I recommend Child 44, but you do have to be prepared for some pretty depressing extended setup. With patience, you will find that it pays off.
( )
  ksimon | Feb 6, 2014 |
Creepy but a real page turner. ( )
  briealeida | Feb 6, 2014 |
What happens when a serial killer of children is on the rampage and no one with the power to stop him wants to admit that he even exists? Children die by the dozen...and the count keeps growing.

"Child 44," set in Russia near the end of the Stalinist era, shows just how ludicrous a system of government was imposed on the Russian people during that period. Since Stalin and his followers insisted that their governmental system was perfect, no one could afford to admit that crime took place inside the country's borders. Everyone was said to have everything they needed to live a good life, jobs were supposedly plentiful, and the government took such good care of the citizens of Russia, that there was simply no reason for crime to exist...so it didn't. And anyone who dared say otherwise, risked being declared insane or an enemy of the state. Either way, they were probably never going to be seen again.

MGB (the State Security Force) officer, Leo Demidov, was not about to rock the boat even when he suspected that he might be arresting an innocent person or, even worse, destroying a man's whole family in the process of making that arrest. He believed that "the means justified the ends," and that his job was to protect his country from those within it that wanted to destroy it by overthrowing its government. If a few innocents were caught in his net, that could not be helped. He had to protect Mother Russia.

But, when the system turns on Leo and his own family, his eyes are awakened to his past sins. Now, all he wants to do is live long enough to destroy the man who has been allowed to kill so many of Russia's children.

Tom Rob Smith has written a real page-turner here and this one should greatly appeal to fans of crime fiction, thriller fiction, and historical fiction. It was a huge success when published in 2008, but it you haven't read it yet, there's still time. Grab it now. ( )
  SamSattler | Jan 18, 2014 |
An amazing page turner and a wonderful debut novel. It captured my attention in the first chapter and carried me through to the end. It was on my "to read" shelf for a long time. I am sorry I waited. ( )
1 vote ChuckS65 | Oct 7, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 175 (next | show all)
On Page 275 of his tightly woven debut novel, “Child 44,” Tom Rob Smith reveals what the title means. The moment is a shocker — but its full effects can be felt only if you’ve read the 274 pages that precede it. This book is much too densely, ingeniously plotted for its secrets to be accessible via shortcut. ...


» Add other authors (13 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Tom Rob Smithprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bratbjerg Hansen, PoulTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Correa, Beatriz HortaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Garavaglia, AnnalisaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Güneş, GülizTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Karjalainen, HeikkiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Krogstad, ErikTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pardoen, IrvingTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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From CD Case: "Stalin's Soviet Union strives to be a paradise for its workers, providing for all of their needs. One of its fundamental pillars is that its citizens live free from the fear of ordinary crime and criminals.

But in this society, millions do live in fear...of the State. Death is a whisper away. The mere suspicion of ideological disloyalty--owning a book from the decadent West, the wrong word at the wrong time--sends millions of innocents into the Gulags or to their executions. Defending the system for its citizens is the MGB, the State Security Force. And no MBG officer is more courageous, conscientious, or idealistic than Leo Demidov.

A war hero with a beautiful wife, Leo lives in relative luxury in Moscow, even providing a decent apartment for his parents. His only ambition has been to serve his country. For this greater good, he has arrested and interrogated.

Then the impossible happens. A different kind of criminal--a murderer--is on the loose, killing at will. At the same time, Leo finds himself demoted and denounced by his enemies, his world turned upside down, and every belief he's ever held shattered. The only way to save his life and the lives of his family is to uncover this criminal. But in a society that is officially paradise, it's a crime against the State to suggest that a murder--much less a serial killer--is in their midst. Exiled from his home, with only his wife remaining at his side, Leo must find and stop a criminal that the State won't admit even exists."
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0446402389, Hardcover)

If all that Tom Rob Smith had done was to re-create Stalinist Russia, with all its double-speak hypocrisy, he would have written a worthwhile novel. He did so much more than that in Child 44, a frightening, chilling, almost unbelievable horror story about the very worst that Stalin's henchmen could manage. In this worker's paradise, superior in every way to the decadent West, the citizen's needs are met: health care, food, shelter, security. All one must offer in exchange are work and loyalty to the State. Leo Demidov is a believer, a former war hero who loves his country and wants only to serve it well. He puts contradictions out of his mind and carries on. Until something happens that he cannot ignore. A serial killer of children is on the loose, and the State cannot admit it.

To admit that such a murderer is committing these crimes is itself a crime against the State. Instead of coming to terms with it, the State's official position is that it is merely coincidental that children have been found dead, perhaps from accidents near the railroad tracks, perhaps from a person deemed insane, or, worse still, homosexual. But why does each victim have his or her stomach excised, a string around the ankle, and a mouth full of dirt? Coincidence? Leo, in disgrace and exiled to a country village, doesn't think so. How can he prove it when he is being pursued like a common criminal himself? He and his wife, Raisa, set out to find the killer. The revelations that follow are jaw-dropping and the suspense doesn't let up. This is a debut novel worth reading. --Valerie Ryan

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:06:40 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

"Robert Harris meets Gorky Park in Child 44, Tom Rob Smith's stunning thriller--sure to be one of the most talked about debut novels of the year"--Provided by the publisher.

(summary from another edition)

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