Child 44 : Leo Demidov

  • by Tom Rob Smith
  • Narrated by Dennis Boutsikaris
  • Series: Leo Demidov
  • 12 hrs and 24 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

It is a society that is, officially, a paradise. Superior to the decadent West, Stalin's Soviet Union is a haven for its citizens, providing for all of their needs: education, health care, security. In exchange, all that is required is their hard work, and their loyalty and faith to the Soviet State.Leo Demidov knows this better than most. A rising, prominent officer in the State Security force, Leo is a former war hero whose only ambition is to serve his country. To defend this workers' paradise - and to guarantee a secure life for his parents and for his wife, Raisa - Leo has spent his career guarding against threats to the State. Ideological crimes - crimes of thought, crimes of disloyalty, crimes against the revolution - are forcefully suppressed, without question.And 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, all but sentenced to death. The only way to salvage what remains of his life 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.To save his life and the lives of his family, Leo must confront the vast resources and reach of the security forces, with only Raisa remaining at his side, to find and stop a criminal that the State won't even admit exists.


What the Critics Say

"Child 44 is a remarkable debut novel - inventive, edgy and relentlessly gripping from the first page to the last." (Scott Turow)

Winner, 2009 Thriller Award, Best First Novel


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Terror from all sides.

One amazing aspect I found in Smiths first novel is his ability to draw the reader into the personal lives of its many differing characters,to draw out empathy from the reader for the main actors situation,and feel the paranoia and fear
of living under a Stalinist regime which is just as frightening as having a serial killer roaming at will.
The characters on its surface might seem stock;each one in place, each doing what's expected in such a novel,but on deeper reading a whole other world of resourceful people come together to try to protect themselves and each other against a killer and their government that says he couldn't exist.
Dennis Boutsikaris is the perfect reader for this novel. Usually I'm distracted by a narrator affecting a foreign accent,but Boutsikaris has an evenhanded way of telling this story.His accent conveys a sense of fatalism in the characters lives,but also ,extremely(to me),the love for and between parent and children,as well as conflict between husband and wife.
This is a great book.Tom Rob Smiths experience as a script writer shows through,for good or ill.
This would be a great movie if the right director and actors could be found;or maybe we should just leave well enough alone.
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- Melvin

Drained my iPod battery

Having broken the 100 mark in my Audible Library, I have to rank this listen in my Top Five. This is a thoroughly engrossing and well written book. Sometimes I complain that authors fail to include any characters that might be deemed likable. Smith did something that is pretty much 180 degrees from that. He gave all of his characters at least a sprinkling of likability. I was late in unraveling this mystery, although Smith provided early clues. If the book had one weakness it was probably the central pretense that cemented the story line. Still I think the listener will let out an Edith Bunker-like expression of understanding when he or she realizes what has been transpiring. I surely did. Download this book. You will not be disappointed.
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- Ed "Retired former magazine editor who is working harder than ever as Mr. Dad to his 14-year-old daughter."

Book Details

  • Release Date: 06-10-2008
  • Publisher: Hachette Audio