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Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith
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Child 44 (original 2008; edition 2008)

by Tom Rob Smith

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3,4362361,568 (3.98)440
Member:cchristians
Title:Child 44
Authors:Tom Rob Smith
Info:New York : Grand Central Pub., 2008.
Collections:Your library, South Austin Bookies Book Club
Rating:*****
Tags:None

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Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith (2008)

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English (211)  Dutch (7)  Spanish (5)  German (5)  Swedish (3)  French (2)  Norwegian (2)  Danish (2)  All languages (237)
Showing 1-5 of 211 (next | show all)
Stalinist Russia of the 1950s is the setting for the crime thriller, Child 44. Security Ministry Officer Leo Demidov is a good man whose patriotism has led him to commit heinous acts against his fellow citizens “for the greater good” or so he tells himself. Lies, spying on friends and family, manufacturing evidence, even torture and murder are all acceptable as long as they help ensure the survival and security of Stalin’s “workers’ paradise”. When he begins to suspect there is a serial killer on the loose, killing children across Russia, he's ordered to stop investigating. Leo is an idealistic war hero with a deeply held belief in the superiority of his country and the communist way of life. Before long he realizes he's just a cog in the flawed totalitarian regime.
When he refuses to denounce his wife, Raisa, as a traitor, he is demoted and humiliated. Even his parents are punished for his crime. He and Raisa are sent away from Moscow to the wastelands of the newly industrialized city of Voualsk. Here Leo and Raisa must work outside the law to find a killer in a political culture that doesn’t even admit they exist, and already wants him dead. The who-did-it ending disappointed me and made me feel a bit manipulated. But that is my only complaint for this incredibly stark and chilling story. In the end, Stalinist Russia was the real criminal as far as I'm concerned. The author's writing is austere and elegant. Ridley Scott has already bought the film rights, and is working on adapting this book into a movie. I'm on hold at the library for the next book in the trilogy and can't wait to find out what happens next. " ( )
  Olivermagnus | Jun 16, 2016 |
Sometimes you have to give a book second chans. I started to read the book last year but never finished it but a couple of days ago I thought "what the hell" I want to know the ending and I borrowed the book from the library again to pick up where I left it. I'm glad I did it since the book actually is quite good. So, sometimes you just have to wait for the right moment to read a book... ( )
  MaraBlaise | Jun 14, 2016 |
This was by no means a terrible book, in fact for most of the way through it was quite a good book. The last 100 or so pages completely lost it for me though. It went from being an interesting thriller with an interesting setting to being a bit abrupt and convenient. It felt a little like a book by numbers with 3 distinct parts, with the last part being by far the weakest. The tying together of all the strands into an ending that was a little twee (despite the violence) just felt a little disjointed for my tastes.
Another issue I had with the book was the strange dialogue style, which felt to me as though the characters speech was emotionless, I'm sure there was a purpose behind this but it just read strangely to me.
Given all the praise lavished on the inside over of the book I was expecting a bit more, as usual maybe it's just me. It wasn't terrible, just not great. ( )
  fothpaul | Jun 1, 2016 |
Review: Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith.

This is an amazing well written story. I couldn’t ask for a better thriller. It’s a chilling story of an era which justice was nonexistent and the futures of innocent families were in the hands of a loathing self-serving society.

The author created a harsh gripping story as much about the horror of living in a police state where reality is what the state says it is and everyone measures what they will say and do according to what they think will keep them alive, never according to what might happen to be the truth, as it is about a serial killer preying on children in Stalin’s Russia.

The protagonist is Leo Demidov a war hero and state Security officer trained by NKVD in the Soviet MGB. His life is as pleasant as life can get for a high ranking Communist Party member in the USSR. He has power, authority, a beautiful wife, a nice home, and he’s been able to make sure his parents are comfortable.

The story then moves on to a jealous MGB colleague who frames Leo’s wife, Raisa, as a rebellious nonconformist. Because Leo refuses to denounce his wife to save his job, both are exiled to a bleak manufacturing city in the Urals, and Leo is demoted to the lowest grade of the militia.

Then the story takes a wild twist of events and change of character for Leo, the once cruel Soviet officer and his wife. If any one wants to read a good thriller, this is the one. This book is part of a trilogy and I can’t wait to read the other two books.
( )
  Juan-banjo | May 31, 2016 |
Leo Demidov, a decorated war hero, is unswervingly loyal to the State. The body of a young boy is found on train tracks in Moscow, and his family are convinced the child was murdered. Leo's superiors order him to ignore this information and, while he obeys, he senses there is more to the case. Action moves quickly: combining elements of jealousy, suspicious paranoia and human survival where reality is defined and enforced by the State. In this atmosphere, Leo is disgraced and exiled to a distant town where more murdered children are discovered.

I wasn't crazy about the ending. Things were wrapped up, but not very neatly; questions were left unanswered (the reason behind the method of the murders, for one), and some of the reasoning and solutions seemed convenient rather than plausible. It's one of those situations where you have to throw darts to see if it gets 2 or 3 stars. 2.5 maybe. ( )
  Carol420 | May 31, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 211 (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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Since Maria had decided to die her cat would have to fend for itself.
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Book description
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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