This author keeps it simple, and I like it. There is no extraneous writing. The pace is brisk, the story enthralling, and several of the sub-plots are just as good as the main one.
There are twists and turns in this novel, as there should be. Some are predictable. However the way they’re presented, and timed, you forgive the writer. I wasn’t kidding about my reading this quickly. I couldn’t put it down and I wanted to get to the end as soon as I could. My advice? Don’t start this book before you go to bed.
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Kristin T., July 27, 2009 (view all comments by Kristin T.)
I guess I'm going to do little more than join the crowd--though I am glad to see others enjoyed this novel as much as I did. Loved the story, characters, and writing. The suspense was thrilling AND believable. Tom Rob Smith, how far along is your next book?
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belizegal2, March 25, 2009 (view all comments by belizegal2)
I loved this book. I have a short commute and only listen in my car. I found myself dreading reaching my destination because I would have to stop listening. This story is absolutely intriguing. I fell in love with the characters. Every chapter was more interesting than the last. I am now on the last disc and am not looking forward to not listening to this book. I do not want it to end. LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOve it. I would love to meet the author to thank him for a job well done.
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hermitme, August 11, 2008 (view all comments by hermitme)
It's been a long time since I've come across a good read and a new author. Child 44 was a very satisfying read. The view of life under Stalin made me realize that Orwell's 1984 was closer to the truth than I had previously imagined. However, the mystery of the gruesome murders was also intriguing, though I did find the ending a bit anticlimactic. I guess I was expecting more from the antagonists. However, it doesn't stop me from referring this book to friends and co-workers because it was very good. I found the protagonist Leo a sympathetic and likable character who sees the truth about himself with an almost childlike innocence. I found Raisa very realistic as a woman trying to survive in almost intolerable circumstances. I could go on and on, but in the end, it's the same. An extremely satisfying book. Would be cool to have Leo and Raisa as recurring characters. Yes, they were very addictive to the point that I was reading the book for them.
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Clark, July 19, 2008 (view all comments by Clark)
Child 44 is an amazing book. It has great characters and a suspenseful and tense plot. I especially enjoyed the historical setting of this book, Russia under Stalin's regime. Yes, Child 44 is fiction but the author tried to incorporate many factual events into his work, making it a well-rounded and complete novel. This is an impressive debut novel. I will be looking forward to Tom Rob Smith's next book.
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Grand Central Publishing -
"Publishers Weekly Review"
by Publishers Weekly,
"Set in the Soviet Union in 1953, this stellar debut from British author Smith offers appealing characters, a strong plot and authentic period detail. When war hero Leo Stepanovich Demidov, a rising star in the MGB, the State Security force, is assigned to look into the death of a child, Leo is annoyed, first because this takes him away from a more important case, but, more importantly, because the parents insist the child was murdered. In Stalinist Russia, there's no such thing as murder; the only criminals are those who are enemies of the state. After attempting to curb the violent excesses of his second-in-command, Leo is forced to investigate his own wife, the beautiful Raisa, who's suspected of being an Anglo-American sympathizer. Demoted and exiled from Moscow, Leo stumbles onto more evidence of the child killer. The evocation of the deadly cloud-cuckoo-land of Russia during Stalin's final days will remind many of Gorky Park and Darkness at Noon, but the novel remains Smith's alone, completely original and absolutely satisfying. Rights sold in more than 20 countries. (May)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
by Entertainment Weekly,
"Leo Stepanovich Demidov, the hero of Tom Rob Smith's sensational debut thriller, Child 44, seems to have stepped out of the pages of a classic by Hammett or Chandler....Smith's prose is propulsive but plain; his real genius is his careful plotting. (Grade: A-)"
by Booklist (Starred Review),
"Child 44 powerfully personalizes the Orwellian horrors of life in Stalin's Russia....First-novelist Smith's pacing is relentless; readers wanting to put the book down for a brief rest may find themselves persevering regardless....Don't miss it."
by Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review),
"[A] debut novel from a shockingly talented 28-year-old Brit....Nerve-wracking pace and atmosphere camouflage wild coincidences. Smashing."
by Library Journal,
"[T]his successor to Hannibal Lector's lurid mantle has nonstop plotting, a nonstop pace, and even a surprise ending. Horror genre readers will thrill to it; others may be advised to ask for a barf bag as well as their date due slip."
by Robert Towne, Academy Award-winning screenwriter of Chinatown,
"Achingly suspenseful, full of feeling and the twists and turns that one expects from le Carré at his best, Child 44 is a tale as fierce as any Russian wolf. It grabs you by the throat and never lets you go."
by Nelson DeMille, New York Times bestselling author of Wild Fire,
"This is a truly remarkable debut novel. Child 44 is a rare blend of great insight, excellent writing, and a refreshingly original story. Favorable comparisons to Gorky Park are inevitable, but Child 44 is in a class of its own."
by Raymond Khoury, New York Times bestselling author of The Last Templar and Sanctuary,
"Child 44 telegraphs the talent and class of its writer from its opening pages, transporting you back to the darkest days of postwar Soviet Russia with assured efficiency and ruthlessly drawing you into its richly atmospheric and engrossing tale."
by Scott Turow, bestselling author of Presumed Innocent,
"Child 44 is a remarkable debut novel — inventive, edgy and relentlessly gripping from the first page to the last."
by Lee Child, New York Times bestselling author of Bad Luck and Trouble,
"An amazing debut — rich, different, fully formed, mature...and thrilling."
In Stalin's Soviet Union, it's a crime against the State to suggest that a murderer — much less a serial killer — is in the midst of the populace. Exiled from his home, a war hero must find and stop a criminal that the State won't admit even exists.
A propulsive, relentless page-turner.
A terrifying evocation of a paranoid world where no one can be trusted.
A surprising, unexpected story of love and family, of hope and resilience.
CHILD 44 is a thriller unlike any you have ever read.
There is no crime.
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 from its citizens is the MGB, the State Security Force. And no MGB 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 murderer-much less a serial killer-is in their midst. Exiled from his home, with only his wife, Raisa, remaining at his side, Leo must confront the vast resources and reach of the MBG to find and stop a criminal that the State won't admit even exists.
Tom Rob Smith graduated from Cambridge in 2001 and lives in London. Child 44 is his first novel.
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