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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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3,5222411,500 (3.98)442
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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» See also 442 mentions

English (216)  Dutch (7)  Spanish (5)  German (5)  Swedish (3)  French (2)  Norwegian (2)  Danish (2)  All (242)
Showing 1-5 of 216 (next | show all)
The whole time I was reading this book I kept thinking it would be better if it were about Arkady Renko.

Also, the whole endgame between cop and killer was downright ludicrous. It stretched the thin plot beyond repair and far into the realm of disbelief. Everything not about the killer was pretty decent though and showed how grim and shitty the USSR was post-war. ( )
  Evan_Edlund | Nov 25, 2016 |
In Stalin's USSR, crime does not exist. Murder is caused by capitalism, so there are no killers -- let alone serial killers. Thus when Leo Demidov, a Ministry of State Security agent, begins to investigate a series of deaths all involving children, his logical connection of the cases causes major political ramifications and repercussions. Even ignoring his new status as "enemy of the state", it's hard to be a murder cop when people are terrified of the secret police and their neighbors. Exactly who are the good guys and who are the bad guys is inherently ambiguous at this time in this place.

Smith intimately captures the conflict and paranoia of the era. He brings to life the common man's existence under Stalinist rule -- how good men are torn and the line between right and wrong blurs. (Smith was inspired by the crimes of Andrei Chikatilo, the Rostov Butcher, who was active between 1978 and 1990.) Leo Demidov's crime fighting story continues in The Secret Speech and Agent 6. ( )
  ktoonen | Nov 5, 2016 |
I didn't want to put this down. ( )
  Sareene | Oct 22, 2016 |
Not a bad book but I did find it difficult to follow at first and one of my pet hates is having to read long and unpronounceable names. However the story was enjoyable and continued at a reasonable pace. The twin identity of Leo was a good twist and the story concluded well. ( )
  imyknott | Oct 8, 2016 |
This thriller is sure to make you paranoid about Russian authorities of the time and their ideas: in an ideal country, there is no murder - it is a capitalist invention which has no place in Russia in the fourties. Still, inspired by the true murders committed by the Rostov Ripper (Andreï Chikatilo), the narrative follows the life of the (fictionnal) investigator, Leo Demidov, as he desperately tries to convince himself, then his hierarchy, of the reality of the killings, so that the true killer can be apprehended. Fighting against the odds and social demotion, Leo is a war hero who followed the regime's ideology until he realised that things were not as they seemed. He is helped by his wife Raisa and they make for an unlikely investigating pair, as both also learn from each other in a difficult environment.

The narrative can seem slow at times, but it helps build up the narrative in a bid to give readers a sense of historical realism. It also builds up tension in the plot, so that it all goes faster towards resolution. We also learn to like Leo in spite of his faults and patriotism. Good book, I'll be sure to read the other two novels in the series, which follow the adventures of Leo Demidov and his wife, Raisa. ( )
  soniaandree | Oct 3, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 216 (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 editionscalculated
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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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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