In a country ruled by fear, no one is innocent.
Stalin's Soviet Union is an official paradise, where citizens live free from crime and fear only one thing: the all-powerful state. Defending this system is idealistic security officer Leo Demidov, a war hero who beli ...more
Notes: Nothing special and a bit bland and repetitive, but a real page-turner with loads of atmosphere and a chilling ending.
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 me ...more
Set at the end of Stalin's reign in 1953 this book was an eye opener for me. I just had no clue.
Living in Russia at that time was when you lived in fear of that four a.m. arrest. Are you an enemy of the state? It didn't really matter if you were truly innocent, once you had been named you might as well kiss it good-bye.
Leo Demidov is a former war hero who works for the MGB or state security force and had always done his job with no questioning of authority.
There was a joke, popular a ...more
Child 44 (published in 2008) is a thriller novel by British writer Tom Rob Smith. This is the first novel in a trilogy featuring former MGB Agent Leo Demidov, who investigates a series of gruesome child murders in Joseph Stalin's Soviet Union. This novel, the first in a trilogy, takes inspiration from the crimes of Andrei Chikatilo, also known as the Rostov Ripper, the Butcher of Rostov, and the Red Ripper. Chikatilo was convicted of and executed for committing 52 murders ...more
The Book Report: In the Socialist Worker's Paradise that is Stalin's 1953 Russia, There Is No Crime. (Sorry, I know that all the caps are like having your lashes tweezed, but this is the Soviet Union we're talking about, and everything is A Slogan.) The proletariat is blissfully free of the Capitalist Curse Called Crime.
They're more afraid of the State than they are each other. With good reason. There are traitors, informants, everywhere. Even in your own bed, you are never saf ...more
And while living the unimaginable, there is a mysterious child killer on the loose that Security Officer, Leo Demidov is determined to stop, even after his demotion, even after mind altering drugs, even when he is on t...more
Let me begin by saying that this book has exceeded my expectations. Personally, I would say that it is a tad better than Gorky Park - an excellent book about a Soviet policeman.
The atmosphere of fear, desperation, tension, suspense has been used so effectively by the author. The start itself is so chilling - it is 1933 and we visit the village of Chervoy, Ukraine - then a part of the Soviet Union. Lack of food has reduced humans to ea ...more
“Isn’t this how it starts? You have a cause you believe in, a cause worth dying for. Soon, it’s a cause worth killing for. Soon, it’s a cause worth killing innocent people for.”
This book was all kinds of awesomeness. Set with the backdrop of the Soviet Union and the Russian communists, this brutal story follows our main character, Leo, who works as a detective, chasing a real-life murderer which this story is based on. The research that went into this story is pr ...more
When your superiors tell you to investigate a possible spy, you go and apprehend him/her without stopping to think about the accuracy of the accusation: "Better let ten innocent men suffer than one spy escape."
If your subordinate thinks his son's tragic accident was in fact murder, you go and remind him of one of the fundaments of his society: "There is no crim ...more
The story is set in 1953 Russia, shortly before the end of Joseph Stalin's reign of terror. There's evidence of a possible serial killer at large but one of the propaganda "truths" is that Russia is crime free. Leo Demidov, a member of the powerful and feared MGB (predecessor of the KGB), is sent to investigate one of the murders but is instructed to classify it as an accident. It sets off a chain of events that will forever change the man and his life.
I was ...more
“To stand up for someone was to stitch your fate into the lining of theirs.”
“There's nothing more stubborn than a fact. That is why you hate them so much. They offend you.”
“Trust but check. Check on those we trust.”
This is a very unique novel which reminded me again and again of George Orwell's 1984 but this one, I loved. I didn't really like the characters (at the end of the book, they are likable) but they all are certainly understandable and interesting. Tom Rob Smith is de ...more
Going without food is terrible. It does awful things to your body, not just to your mind.
'Child 44' opens in a small Ukraine village in 1933. The entire Soviet Union, but mostly the Ukraine, under the dictator ...more
On the ...more
Had binned this but after such glowing reviews by trusted friends it went back on the shelves.
Read by Dennis Boutsikaris
Excellent mid three. #87 TBR Busting 2013
NEWS 15:04:2015 - Hollywood's Child 44 pulled in Russia after falling foul of culture ministry: Fears of censorship in Russia as Ridley Scott film about serial killer, starring Gary Oldman, withdrawn over ‘distortion of facts and interpretation of events’. Source
An intense thriller that places the reader dead center into the gloom and dread of Stalin's Soviet Union. The hero police detective Leo Demidov desperately searches for a murderer (who came to be known as the Rostov Ripper, found to have committed 52 murders of children up and down a railway line), all while Demidov operates one step ahead of the breath-quickening bear jaws of the KGB that seeks to enforce as truth the propagand ...more
For decades no one had taken action according to what they believed was right or wrong but by what they thought would please the leader.
I thought this book was riveting. I couldn't believe it was Tom Rob Smith's debut novel. I especially appreciated how the he combined two genre's (historical fiction and mystery)seamlessly. He painted such an incredibly vivid picture of Stalin's Soviet Union in the 1950's you could really feel the terror, fear and cruelty of a whole country. Friends and family d ...more
Soon after Leo’s loyalty to the MGB were tested. And as a result, he was demoted and sent off to work with the Militia in an industrial village called Voualsk where another body of a child was found. Without a ...more
I was in the mood for a thriller and picked this up based on GR friends reviews. It did not disappoint. A page turner perfect for a couple of cold rainy days with nothing interesting on TV. The author takes us back to the post-war 1950’s reworking the true story of a Russian serial killer. First of a trilogy that did not leave the reader hanging.Yay! It did not have quite the punch of I Am Pilgrim which I read earlier in the year, but it was not as far fetched either, more authentic with great ...more
The detail about living in the 1950's Soviet Union is very convincing, and characters nicely developed. The book's sole flaw is the reveal of the killer's motives and the ending, which come across as something you'd see in a bad Hollywood thriller, but overall this was a fascinating story.
It is 1953 in Stalin's Russia and there's a serial killer on the loose. Only that cannot be; Stalin's Russia boasts of being crime free. Therefore, when Leo of the MGB (later known as the KGB) is sent to a colleague's home to investigate the murder of his son, it is not to investigate at all but to sweep it ...more
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His first novel, Child 44, about a series of child murders in Stalinist Russia ...more