Christine's Reviews > Child 44

Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith
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really liked it
bookshelves: 2015-reads

Stalin’s Russia – manufacturing was booming but bread lines were everywhere, freedom was a thing of the past, the government controlled everything you heard, read and thought, even forcing you to question what you saw with your own eyes. If you chose not to follow the program there were always the labor camps to change your mind. This was the country Leo Demidov policed. A decorated war hero Leo was quickly rising in ranks of the military police. He and his wife Raisa have one of the better apartments available and even his parents are very comfortable in their senior years because of his position. He sometimes questions his own actions, but can generally put those thoughts aside and do his job. While recovering from a brief illness Leo begins to question his position more and more, dreading the day he has to go back to work. Then the decision is taken out of his hands anyway … someone has named Raisa an enemy of the state.
Leo knows the accusation is false and refuses to denounce his wife. Only his war hero status and his exemplary work with the military police prevent the two of them from being sent to the camps, or being executed outright. Instead they are exiled to a remote part of the country. Not informing the local police about his “demotion” Leo befriends the police captain and is soon embroiled in the hunt for a serial killer of children … a serial killer that cannot possibly exist because, officially, there is no murder in Russia – murder is a problem only in the capitalistic west.

Mr. Smith has written a page-turner of a murder mystery/thriller. His depictions of Russia in the 1950’s are excellent and judging by the list of books he consulted in the writing of Child 44 he did his homework. Even his killer is loosely based on the notorious Andrei Chikatilo “The Butcher of Rostov” (Mr. Smith’s killer predated Chilatilo by about 25 years). Child 44 was tightly written and extremely suspenseful and it was nice to see characters that could surprise me by not fitting into the box I had so readily constructed for them in my own mind. In reading other reviews apparently some people had an issue with twist the story took during the last third of the book. Personally I think it was very creative. The “epilogue” felt little forced with warm fuzzies but knowing this is the first book of a trilogy I would only deduct a ½ star from my rating because there had to be a little wiggle room for the story to continue in Book 2 – which I will definitely be picking up.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
February 1, 2015 – Finished Reading
March 19, 2015 – Shelved
March 19, 2015 – Shelved as: 2015-reads

Comments Showing 1-3 of 3 (3 new)

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James Thane Nice review; I really liked this one too.

Christine Thank you

message 3: by Lewis (new) - added it

Lewis Weinstein Great review ... added to my list ... LEW

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