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Child 44 (The Child 44 Trilogy) Paperback – December 13, 2011
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"Sensational...crackling...Smith's prose is propulsive...his real genius is his careful potting...an elaborate mystery."―Entertainment Weekly
"One of the rare pleasures of the book-reviewing trade is first hearing all sorts of advance hype about a novel and then finding out that every word was true."―Chicago Tribune
About the Author
International #1 bestselling author Tom Rob Smith graduated from
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We are introduced to Leo Demidov, a true believer and operative in the MGB, the Soviet Intelligence Agency prior to the formation of the KGB. Leo has everything going for him, he was a war hero, has a beautiful wife, Raisa, his career is taking of and because of the privileges of MGB agents he has a nice apartment and he has been able to provide one for his parents as well.
But in Stalinist Russia, things are never quite what they seem, everyone has to be guarded in their interactions and work towards survival and Leo's world starts tilting when he is asked to investigate the death of a colleagues child. Because there is no crime in the Soviet Union the child's death is ruled an accident and Leo refuses to investigate and advises his colleague to accept the ruling.
The book is loosely based on the case of mass murderer Andrei Chitakilo, but set in the 1950's rather than the 80's . From my perspective this change in times makes it more intriguing as Stalin's Russia presented a very precarious time and the shifting uncertainties immediately following his death provided opportunities for those with the vision to take chances.
I was impressed with Smith's development of the main characters Leo and Raisa and their uncertain relationship and interdependency. This hooked me and I look forward to reading more about them in his following novels of the trilogy The Secret Speech and Agent 6.
When reading a thriller one should be aware that there are times in which one has to stretch belief and I had know problem doing that. I was able to accept a growing number of coincidences, however I did have some trouble believing the motive of the killer.
I would also like to caution readers that this is about the murder of children and I do have some personal problems reading about that. Because this was based on a real case I was more able to accept it.
Nonetheless, this was great reading.
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