The thrilling New York Times bestselling novel that inspired the major motion picture starring Tom Hardy and Noomi Rapace
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.
Customer ReviewsSee All
I have the actual book in hardcover. This is a great book. Amazing. Nothing else can describe this glorious thriller.
Mesmerizing. Smith takes the reader to a place and time - post-stalinist Russia - and makes it seem so vivid that I felt I had lived there.
Very Well Done
First and foremost, the story works. It moves along at a good pace, and I found myself wanting more at the end of each chapter (a good thing!) There's enough description to get a good feel for the environments and characters, but not too much which gets distracting and tiresome.
So...strong plot, well-developed characters, good pacing, and a good ending.