Child 44: Book summary and reviews of Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith

Child 44
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  • Published in USA  Apr 2008,
    448 pages.

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Book Summary

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.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. 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." - Publishers Weekly.

"With some 20 foreign sales to date and film rights already in Ridley Scott's hands, this 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." - Library Journal.

"Nerve-wracking pace and atmosphere camouflage wild coincidences. Smashing." - Kirkus Reviews.

"Child 44 is a remarkable debut novel - inventive, edgy and relentlessly gripping from the first page to the last." - Scott Turow.

"An amazing debut-rich, different, fully formed, mature ... and thrilling." - Lee Child.

"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." - Nelson DeMille.

The information about Child 44 shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Reader Reviews

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Rated 5 of 5 of 5 by Lois Jones
Child 44
I thought the book was very cleverly written and kept the readers involvement throughout the book. As well as I especially liked the historical facts that were revealed to give the reader a better understanding of how this story could possibly happen. Very good and most interesting.

Rated 5 of 5 of 5 by ThMartianX
good book
This book was great.

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Author Information

Tom Rob Smith Author Biography

Photo: Herry Bauer

Tom Rob Smith was born in 1979 to a Swedish mother and English father, both antique dealers, and brought up in South London, where he now lives. He started writing plays at school and continued at St John's, Cambridge.  After graduating from Cambridge University in 2001, he completed his studies in Italy, studying creative writing for a year. He then worked as a scriptwriter including time working for Channel 5's now defunct soap Family Affairs.

Child 44, his first novel, was published in 2008 and has been translated into 17 languages to date. It was awarded the 2008 Ian Fleming Steel Dagger for best Thriller of the year by the Crime Writer's Association. In was also long listed for the 2008 Man Booker Prize and the 2008 Costa First Novel Award. Ridley Scott owns the...

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