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Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith
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Child 44 (2008)

by Tom Rob Smith

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Leo Demidov (1)

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3,9312591,915 (3.97)470
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» See also 470 mentions

English (231)  Dutch (8)  German (5)  Spanish (5)  Swedish (3)  French (2)  Danish (2)  Norwegian (2)  Italian (1)  All languages (259)
Showing 1-5 of 231 (next | show all)
Russia 1953 , il -crimine non esiste, nessuno sotto il totalitarismo di Stalin può compiere crimini, perchè il crimine e' frutto unicamente del Capitalismo.
Ed ecco la storia di Leo, uomo del sistema MGB, per aver insabbiato un caso di" morte" di un bambino...( guai a parlare di omicidio) diventa pian piano nel dipanarsi della storia il sospettato di tanti altri possibili crimini contro il Regime...... si, perchè ogni minima mossa nella vita, anche la piu' banale, può destare sospetto ed essere letta come cospirazione contro la grande madre Russia.
La trama e' veramente super avvincente, da non lasciarti fiato........ben caratterizzati tutti i personaggi e le azioni sono ben inserite nella trama..... ovviamente ci ritroveremo qualche scema di azione un pelino poco credibile .... stile " american film" ma creare o destare sospetti nel susseguirsi degli eventi..
assolutamente da leggere!!! ( )
  Mandane75 | Nov 16, 2018 |
Russia 1953 , il -crimine non esiste, nessuno sotto il totalitarismo di Stalin può compiere crimini, perchè il crimine e' frutto unicamente del Capitalismo.
Ed ecco la storia di Leo, uomo del sistema MGB, per aver insabbiato un caso di" morte" di un bambino...( guai a parlare di omicidio) diventa pian piano nel dipanarsi della storia il sospettato di tanti altri possibili crimini contro il Regime...... si, perchè ogni minima mossa nella vita, anche la piu' banale, può destare sospetto ed essere letta come cospirazione contro la grande madre Russia.
La trama e' veramente super avvincente, da non lasciarti fiato........ben caratterizzati tutti i personaggi e le azioni sono ben inserite nella trama..... ovviamente ci ritroveremo qualche scema di azione un pelino poco credibile .... stile " american film" ma creare o destare sospetti nel susseguirsi degli eventi..
assolutamente da leggere!!! ( )
  Mandane75 | Nov 16, 2018 |
The stuff nightmares are made of.

Thank God for the freedoms in the U.S.! ( )
  MichelleConnell | Sep 26, 2018 |
Excerpts from my original GR review (Apr 2009):
- This is an evocative Stalinist-era thriller. The core characters are Leo Demidov, hardened state security officer, and his wife Raisa. The political setting of this novel is nearly as ghastly as the hideous crimes which fuel Leo's terrifying adventure toward justice. Marxist Russia was a wasteland of paranoia, ruthlessness and hopelessness, made palpable in this story.
- A professional misstep by Leo early on quickly leads to suspicions and betrayals, stripping him of his career. Leo is haunted by his dismissal of a cohort's child's death as a terrible accident, and when he is demoted and banished westward with Raisa (who is herself betrayed as a western sympathizer), a chillingly similar crime in that town provokes Leo to act. From this point on the story moves breakneck, and Leo and Raisa are within a whisker of death several times. The story clearly is moving to a fantastic climax, and it doesn't fail.
- As a first novel, this seems quite an exceptional effort. Glad I took the ride. ( )
  ThoughtPolice | Jul 19, 2018 |
‘’Brother, if you were a playing card what card would you be? Would you be an ace or a king, a spade or a heart?’’

What a month this has been so far… Gearing up the scheduled readings for the coming Holy Week and the much-needed Easter holidays, I’ve spent March with a number of strange, memorable books that proved to be a rather demanding company. I am not exaggerating in the slightest when I say that Child 44 was the finest, darkest, most emotionally draining reading experience. This isn’t merely a thriller or an excellent Historical Fiction novel. It is a deep dive to the rawest of emotions of the human soul. The fight to preserve and survive as opposed to the inclination of some to destroy all that is good and pure.

Before I continue, I must say that I will not engage in any discussion regarding political commentary or historical accuracy. I’m sure we’re all educated, open-minded readers that have studied our fair share of Fiction and Non-Fiction on the nightmare that was the Soviet Era. Each one of us has an opinion but we’re here to talk about books not international relations. Any relevant comments will be promptly deleted and dealt with.

And as a novel, Child 44 is brilliant, in my opinion. Leo is a high ranking officer of MGB but a personal quarrel with Vassili, another member of the State, leads him to forfeit the life he knew. His sole purpose becomes the discovery of the man who commits crimes beyond all reason. The murders and mutilations of children in the wintry forests across the country. Leo’s only ally is Raisa, his wife, while both are keeping secrets from each other. So, everything comes down to a race against time and people whose false ideals demand absolute silence and blind obedience.

‘’Doing nothing is no guarantee we won’t be arrested anyway- I’ve learnt that lesson.’’

The world of Child 44 is a living nightmare and, obviously, one has only to read the basics of Stalin’s reign of terror to feel that the descriptions are not only tangible. They are the Boschian History of a quite recent past. Tom Rob Smith writes without cheap sensationalism but with raw, razor-sharp language that is beautiful in its darkness. This is a time and place where anything can cause an arrest and anyone can be accused of treason. People are persecuted because their clients are Westerners. Others are persecuted on the basis of unheard prayers despite their age or sex. You pray therefore you want Stalin dead, off with you! You are guilty unless proven innocence. But if you’re proven innocent, someone hasn’t done their job right. You can’t be innocent but you can be an abomination that the State has to throw up in a society where there is no crime…

‘’Is that how you’re able to sleep at night, by blanking events from your mind?’’

Leo and Raisa are masterfully crafted characters. They are flawed but sympathetic. They are controversial and ambiguous, a couple equally strong, determined, secretive and honest. As honest as they can be given the era and the circumstances. Smith succeeded in creating protagonists that are the driving forces of the story. They are realistic, brave and intelligent without seeming fake. Even Vassili and the culprit are believable. They aren’t caricatures and they retain the reader’s interest. This is what makes the difference between a proper villain and a cardboard figure.

I cannot say anything about the storyline, obviously, but I can tell you that the development of the mystery, the twists and implications as well as the conclusion compose a novel that is a work of Art in its genre. The references to the hardships that people had to face on a daily basis, the fate of the accused, the small details about the fight of the Russian people against the Nazis make the narration even more vivid and enrich the historical background. I particularly appreciated the reference to the Night Witches, the legendary female pilots who became the terror of the Nazi monsters during the Second World War. If you don’t know their story, make sure to check it out.

I didn’t know that this was the first book in a series and although I loved it to the point of losing my stop twice during my commute to work and back, I don’t think I’ll read the second installment soon. I need Child 44 to sink in and I doubt its follow-up will stand up to its predecessor.

‘’They listened to her cries. But there was nothing unusual about this kind of grief and people did not watch for long.’’

My reviews can also be found on https://theopinionatedreaderblog.wordpress.com
( )
  AmaliaGavea | Jul 15, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 231 (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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Since Maria had decided to die her cat would have to fend for itself.
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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)

Leo Demidov, an officer of the MGB, the State Security Force in Stalin's Soviet Union, finds himself demoted and on the run for suggesting the presence of a murderer in the insisted idealistic Moscow.

» see all 18 descriptions

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