Set in 1950's Communist Russia, the book tells the story of Leo Demidov. Working for the State Security Force, Leo stumbles across the murders of several children and comes to the conclusion that it work of a serial killer. The problem is that in Soviet society serial killers can't exist. This type of crime is considered the result of a deviant western society, not the more evolved worker's paradise. Moved by the horror of the crime and events in his life, Leo risks everything to track down the culprit and stop the murderer's vicious spree.
gailjackman, January 2, 2010 (view all comments by gailjackman)
This debut novel by Tom Rob Smith literally blew me away. It was truly a work-of-art for such a young author. It was such a fast-read for me because the action was constant and held my attention entirely. I hated to see the story end!
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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 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 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 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."
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."
In Stalin's Soviet Union, it's a crime against the State to suggest that a murderer — much less a serial killer — is on the loose. Exiled from his home, a war hero must find and stop a criminal that the State won't admit even exists, in this instant bestseller.
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