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Child 44 (2008)

by Tom Rob Smith

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Leo Demidov (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4,1772711,952 (3.96)474
"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.
Recently added byGabriella100, Arina40, 2blackcats, private library, NicoT
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» See also 474 mentions

English (244)  Dutch (7)  Spanish (5)  German (5)  Swedish (3)  French (2)  Danish (2)  Norwegian (2)  Italian (1)  All languages (271)
Showing 1-5 of 244 (next | show all)
3
  kristi_test_02 | Jun 16, 2020 |
I bought the book after having seen the film on TV, and I'm glad that I did, because the book goes much further than the film -as often happens.
Apart from the chase after the serial killer, what I found most interesting was the relationship among people in Stalin's Russia...very chilling.
I appreciate that this is a novel, but the truth cannot be far from this. More reading on this period in history is required. ( )
  MissYowlYY | Jun 12, 2020 |
I would have given 5 stars but I did not like the obvious "This is a series so I have to end the book with a cliff hanger" ending. I thought overall the book moved quickly and was filled with action, twists and a great plot that advanced at a good pace. I kept trying to figure it out but it baffled me until the author intentionally brought it together, slowly. Overall great book and would recommend but I don't like obvious "there's a sequel coming" endings. ( )
  RunsOnEspresso | Mar 25, 2020 |
State Security Ministry Leo Demidov is very loyal to the state, perhaps too loyal. He looks the other way when innocent people are killed, to a point. When the state claims a child's murder was an accident Leo carries the party line and defends it to the child's parents. This was at the end of the Stalin Era of the USSR where things are done for expediency and not for justice. Millions were sent to camps or killed. Demidov discovers that there are a string of murdered children and begins making efforts to find the killer. This, however, did not sit well with party officials who insisted that crime, especially homicide did not exist in the Soviet Union. Demidov creates enemies and finds his wife is now accused of being a traitor.

Smith creates a crime thriller that fits neatly into Soviet history. Brutality, bureaucracy, and totalitarianism blend well in this realistic setting and characters. ( )
  evil_cyclist | Mar 16, 2020 |
Novels that are more than they seem appeal to me. Child 44, at first glance, seems a compelling thriller about a serial child killer. It is that, and an informative and entertaining account of life in Stalin’s Soviet Union where fear reigns. That fear manifests in reluctance to tell the truth. Secrets abound. Child 44 is also the story of one man’s journey from an unquestioning servant of the state to a crusader for the truth.

The contradictions, cruelty and callousness of Stalin’s Soviet Union are exposed. The country’s repressive political system is a powerful character in the quest to find a serial child killer. The murderer gets away with it because for authorities to admit the existence of such a person is to admit the utopian Soviet system has failed.

Investigators explain the deaths as isolated incidents committed by a variety of “abnormal” people – homosexuals, perverts and the mentally ill. The prevailing theory is one person isn’t responsible but the hero, Leo Demidov, doesn’t believe it. A hero of the Great Patriotic War and now a secret policeman, he’s a committed communist dedicated to serving the state.

When he investigates one of the murders, he refuses to believe it is a murder and propagates the State’s line that the death was an accident. His loyalty is tested when he becomes a pawn in a political game. He and his wife, Raisa, are banished to a remote town where there’s another murder. He sees similarities with the “accidental” death and begins an investigation, with Raisa’s help, to find the killer. In the way is the Soviet system in which people live in fear to speak the truth.

Leo’s quest culminates in a confrontation in which he has to make a harrowing decision.

The narrative grabbed me in the first sentence and didn’t loosen its grip until the last word. It's one of the best books I've read.


( )
1 vote Neil_333 | Mar 6, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 244 (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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