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 believes in the iron fist of the law. But when a murderer starts to kill at will and Leo dares to investigate, the State's obedient servant finds himself demoted and exiled. Now, with only his wife at his side, Leo must fight to uncover shocking truths about a killer-and a country where "crime" doesn't exist.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
This chilling and clever crime thriller set in the Stalinist Soviet Union won the International Thriller Writers Award for Best First Novel. When a by-the-book security officer named Leo Demidov begins investigating seemingly unrelated disappearances and killings, he starts to question his fundamental beliefs about his country—and the hearts of men. London-based author Tom Rob Smith’s forceful prose pushes forward like an ice-cold wind, propelling this dark and menacing story through jolting twists and turns.
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.
Might be my favorite book of the last 20 years. Spectacular. I even cried twice which is unheard of. Well done!
Not for the faint of heart by any means. It’s a tough story, and I haven’t educated myself enough on Stalin’s reign to speak on the validity of what happens in this story, but WOW. There is something to be said for fighting for a just cause but this book takes to to a whole other level. If you’re looking for characters that are willing to lay everything they have, no matter how little, on the line in the pursuit of a government that operates on integrity, look no further because this book is phenomenal
Anyone who values freedom should read Child 44!
There are those in the West who have romanticized totalitarianism and even fantasized about living in such a society. Child 44 will destroy that notion. Fear, terror and paranoia dominated life in Nazi Germany and communist Russia for everyone. Freedom is our greatest gift in America, and Child 44 will never let you forget it. Great read!