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Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith

Child 44 (original 2008; edition 2011)

by Tom Rob Smith

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3,2282171,718 (3.97)425
Title:Child 44
Authors:Tom Rob Smith
Info:Grand Central Publishing (2011), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 480 pages
Collections:Your library

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Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith (2008)

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English (192)  Dutch (7)  German (5)  Spanish (5)  Swedish (2)  French (2)  Danish (2)  Norwegian (2)  All languages (217)
Showing 1-5 of 192 (next | show all)
This was the best thriller I've read in years. It was well researched and cinematically written. The characters were well-rendered and the action sequences were taut and believable. It's sure to be made into a movie especially with all the upheaval in the Ukraine and given that the author started as a screenwriter. I would give this book to anyone who likes mysteries, historical fiction, family drama, and books about serial killers. I think this book is ok for older teenagers but would recommend that parents pre-read. ( )
  SENSpence | Aug 15, 2015 |
Stalin’s Russia – manufacturing was booming but bread lines were everywhere, freedom was a thing of the past, the government controlled everything you heard, read and thought, even forcing you to question what you saw with your own eyes. If you chose not to follow the program there were always the labor camps to change your mind. This was the country Leo Demidov policed. A decorated war hero Leo was quickly rising in ranks of the military police. He and his wife Raisa have one of the better apartments available and even his parents are very comfortable in their senior years because of his position. He sometimes questions his own actions, but can generally put those thoughts aside and do his job. While recovering from a brief illness Leo begins to question his position more and more, dreading the day he has to go back to work. Then the decision is taken out of his hands anyway … someone has named Raisa an enemy of the state.
Leo knows the accusation is false and refuses to denounce his wife. Only his war hero status and his exemplary work with the military police prevent the two of them from being sent to the camps, or being executed outright. Instead they are exiled to a remote part of the country. Not informing the local police about his “demotion” Leo befriends the police captain and is soon embroiled in the hunt for a serial killer of children … a serial killer that cannot possibly exist because, officially, there is no murder in Russia – murder is a problem only in the capitalistic west.

Mr. Smith has written a page-turner of a murder mystery/thriller. His depictions of Russia in the 1950’s are excellent and judging by the list of books he consulted in the writing of Child 44 he did his homework. Even his killer is loosely based on the notorious Andrei Chikatilo “The Butcher of Rostov” (Mr. Smith’s killer predated Chilatilo by about 25 years). Child 44 was tightly written and extremely suspenseful and it was nice to see characters that could surprise me by not fitting into the box I had so readily constructed for them in my own mind. In reading other reviews apparently some people had an issue with twist the story took during the last third of the book. Personally I think it was very creative. The “epilogue” felt little forced with warm fuzzies but knowing this is the first book of a trilogy I would only deduct a ½ star from my rating because there had to be a little wiggle room for the story to continue in Book 2 – which I will definitely be picking up.
( )
  ChristineEllei | Jul 14, 2015 |
Entirely engrossing and a great introduction into the corrupt ways of the Stalinist regime. I'm not usually one for Soviet themed stories, as I find war and espionage u relatable, but this book certainly presented the reader with a world that was both terrifying and intriguing. The motive of the killer was also a great little twist. I'll definitely be reading the other two books in the trilogy and anything else Tom Rob Smith releases. ( )
  aiturnizzle | Jun 28, 2015 |
Excellent book! Loved the dynamic of setting it in Russia at the end of Stalin's regime with all the distrust and political junk that went with that time period. I look forward to more from Tom Rob Smith! ( )
  twertz | Apr 23, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 192 (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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:26:19 -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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