Press:Grand Central Publishing Grand Central Publishing (April 29, 2008)
Author Name:Tom Rob Smith
A propulsive, relentless page-turner.A terrifying evocation of a paranoid world where no one can be trusted.A surprising, unexpected story of love and family, of hope and resilience.CHILD 44 is a thriller unlike any you have ever read."There is no crime."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.Tom Rob Smith graduated from Cambridge in 2001 and lives in London.
Child 44 is his first novel.
From Publishers Weekly
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.
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*Starred Review* In the workers’ paradise of Stalin’s Russia, crime cannot exist.
Loyal, hardworking citizens will have all their needs met by the state, making crime unnecessary.
The one exception is political crime, and MGB (State Security) officer Leo Demidov works long hours arresting people and delivering them to dreaded Lubyanka Prison.
Deeply patriotic, but covetous of the perks of his position, Leo knows that many of the people he arrests are innocent, and he knows that he could suffer a similar fate.
He does, almost, when office politics, MGB style, dictate his transfer to the lowly militia in a small city hundreds of miles east of Moscow.
There he discovers that a serial killer is preying on children in cities along the Trans-Siberian Railroad.
Having lost almost everything, Leo seeks redemption by hunting the killer, but his effort makes him a high-profile enemy of the state (acknowledging that a serial killer could exist in the USSR is tantamount to treason).
Child 44 powerfully personalizes the Orwellian horrors of life in Stalin’s Russia.
Almost every page echoes Hobbes’ description of the life of man: “nasty, brutish, and short.” First-novelist Smith’s pacing is relentless; readers wanting to put the book down for a brief rest may find themselves persevering regardless.
Expect the same kind of critical acclaim for this compelling tale that greeted the publication of Martin Cruz Smith’s Gorky Park (1981) more than 25 years ago.
Like most first novels, Smith’s debut isn’t perfect, but it’s a very, very good read.
Don’t miss it.
"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, NY TIMES bestselling author of WILD FIRE)"An amazing debut-rich, different, fully formed, mature .
and thrilling." (Lee Child, NY TIMES bestselling author of BAD LUCK AND TROUBLE)"CHILD 44 is a remarkable debut novel-inventive, edgy and relentlessly gripping from the first page to the last." (Scott Turow)"Achingly suspenseful, full of feeling and the twists and turns that one expects from le Carré at his best, CHILD 44 is a tale as fierce as any Russian wolf.
It grabs you by the throat and never lets you go." (Robert Towne, Academy Award-winning screenwriter of CHINATOWN)"CHILD 44 telegraphs the talent and class of its writer from its opening pages, transporting you back to the darkest days of postwar Soviet Russia with assured efficiency and ruthlessly drawing you into its richly atmospheric and engrossing tale." (Raymond Khoury, NY TIMES bestselling author of THE LAST TEMPLAR and SANCTUARY)
About the Author
Tom Rob Smith is a 28-year-old screenwriter.
He graduated from Cambridge in 2001.
CHILD 44 is his first novel.
Literature & Fiction,British & Irish,Historical,Genre Fiction,Historical,Thrillers,Contemporary
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