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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.
©2008 Tom Rob Smith (P)2008 Hachette Audio
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Critic Reviews

" 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
5 out of 5 stars
By Steven on 02-22-10

Be Prepared Be Forewarned

A stark, harrowing, intense portrayal of the of Stalin's murderous reign and legacy in the Soviet Union. Complex characters and story telling in this unique setting made for a compelling listen to the end. An outstanding first novel with appeal to fans of historical novels, thrillers, and perhaps true crime. My highest recommendation.

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53 of 53 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Melvin Lindsey on 06-20-08

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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76 of 77 people found this review helpful

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