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Child 44 Hardcover – Bargain Price, April 29, 2008
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To admit that such a murderer is committing these crimes is itself a crime against the State. Instead of coming to terms with it, the State's official position is that it is merely coincidental that children have been found dead, perhaps from accidents near the railroad tracks, perhaps from a person deemed insane, or, worse still, homosexual. But why does each victim have his or her stomach excised, a string around the ankle, and a mouth full of dirt? Coincidence? Leo, in disgrace and exiled to a country village, doesn't think so. How can he prove it when he is being pursued like a common criminal himself? He and his wife, Raisa, set out to find the killer. The revelations that follow are jaw-dropping and the suspense doesn't let up. This is a debut novel worth reading. --Valerie Ryan
From Publishers Weekly
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Top Customer Reviews
Other than this one vastly annoying flaw, the book is excellent. After a chilling prologue in the famine-devastated Ukraine of the 1930s (a famine engineered by Stalin, it must be noted), the story opens in 1953 Moscow, where we meet Great Patriotic War hero and militia officer Leo Demidov, as he pursues the interests of the state in tracking down its enemies. Smith takes plenty of time to build up the totalitarian setting, where fear and paranoia reigned, and reason was a luxury unavailable to the state. If you were a suspect, you were guilty, since the state did not make mistakes. The story focuses on Demidov, showing the privileges his family enjoys due to his position, and the precariousness of his position as a jealous underling plots to destroy him. (This underling is the weakest element in the book, as his hatred for Demidov is a critical catalyst several times in the story, but the motivation for it is far too one-dimensional.Read more ›
Long a fan of "Citizen X" the HBO film about Russian serial killer Andrei Chikatilo, who killed children at large in the Soviet Union from 1978-1990, I'd heard some buzz about "Child 44", but didn't read any reviews until I purchased the book.
The young British author, Tom Rob Smith, made my jaw drop with his version of historical fiction, because yes, Smith takes the tale of Andrei Chikatilo (who has been written about in true crime genre) and moves it BACK in time, keeping the tale somewhat intact but setting it in Stalinist Russia in the early 50's. The contrast is startling, because, by the 80's, near the end of the Cold War, the denizens of the USSR had been disillusioned by the "glory" of Communism and had spent decades poor, hungry, frightened of the state. Despite that, the hunt for Chikatilo in the 80's was funded and followed, somewhat as an afterthought, by the state.
In the 50's, with Stalin's grip on the nation--it's a worker's paradise in everything but reality. And the leader would never allow such crimes as murder to exist. And with this change of landscape, the author, with what must have been painstaking research of the times, heightens the suspense, creates a sense of absolute hopelessness, and puts the military hero tracking the killer in fear for his own life and those of his family.
Pursuing the killer, and refusing to denounce his own wife, Leo Demidov places his own career and life in jeopardy.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
There were so many surprises throughout this book! I couldn't put it down. And the ending was completely unexpected. Very well written.Published 9 days ago by Matthew
I liked this book very much. I saw the movie first but also really enjoyed reading the book. I particularly enjoyed the overriding theme of State vs. People. Read morePublished 16 days ago by W. Koup
Best book I have read in a while. Couldn't put it down and every time I had to, I was mad.Published 26 days ago by Christina
A dark, bleak look at '50s Soviet Russia. Impossible to verify the author's insight but one suspects that the picture he paints of that era is accurate. Read morePublished 28 days ago by David G. Whalley
Never once could I anticipateticipate the consequences to follow a single act of Leo's, Vasili's or any character, nor their initial motive for a past act. Read morePublished 1 month ago by William Pascoe
In Russia serial killer not Russian.
Child 44 follows MGP – Russian police- security officer Leo Demidov. Read more
If you like suspense, this book delivers just that from the very first pagePublished 1 month ago by Maria
Child 44 is a not to be missed novel; really terrific. There is a movie based on the book which is really good, also. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Priscilla St.Germain
Engrossing stories of the hunt for a serial killer parallel to the suffering of a Russian intelligence officer fallen out of favor. Well written and exciting.Published 1 month ago by D. Edger