Retired former magazine editor who is working harder than ever as Mr. Dad to his 14-year-old daughter.
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.
Let me start of by saying that I am not really a fan of mystery/suspense novels. That said, I thoroughly enjoyed this one! I was engrossed after just the first few minutes and listened to the whole book in a just a few extended sessions (time at the beach well spent)! The first three quarters of the book were excellent, the final segment stretched plausibility a bit too thin, but still I was not disappointed overall. One of the best listens I've had in a while. Very good book!
I highly recommend this book - smart listen! I do have to warn on two fronts - 1) the narration takes a bit to get used to the accent, & 2) the beginning dragged a bit. Keep the faith and you will be hooked in and on a good story line. The second half of the book, I could hardly wait to put on my headphones.
My taste differs from kid books to gory horror books.
Many in Russia want to give up on democracy, they need to read this, if they are allowed.
How bad can a totalitarian government get? In this book under Stalin, the government gets so bad that a serial killer can continue to kill children, because the government insists that a serial killer could never exist in their country. So bad that the man trying to catch the serial killer must, do it without the government finding out or he will be killed himself.
Smith does not so much develop characters, as much as tear them down. It is an interesting way to structure a novel. The characters are deconstructed and then rebuilt. Even more interesting is the character of the country. At first glance you would think the citizens of such a country would be a back stabbing, hateful group of people. Instead you see how the people of the country come together to survive as a people. The people sacrifice themselves for the country, but not for the government. The people's reaction is different from some other similar countries such as North Korea.
I found the book to be suspenseful, exciting, intense, unbelievable, surprising, a real page turner. I highly recommend the book.
This book is better even than Gorky Park, and that is quite an accomplishment. As much as I loved Gorky Park, Child 44 goes into even more realistic detail of the reality and corruption of the Russian government, and its treachery.
The characters are well developed, especially the villian. The reveal at the end is astonishing, with tight suspense all the way from start to finish.
I loved this book. It was well read and well-written, one of the most memorable thrillers of the last few years.
This book was so good for the first 3/4 but, once you see where the "big reveal" is headed, you can't help but roll your eyes in disappointment.
The story has a slow start and is quite obviously a set up of a character rather than focused on the detective story, which is actually a very interesting account of how a serial killer was almost lost because of the paranoid culture of Stalinist Russia. In fact, this is the first of a trilogy, and I wished I had known that before starting, but it seems obvious now that I see how (IMO) the characters are more important than the plot. It also explains the weak ending, which just kind of fizzles out. Where the book does shine, though, is in the explanation and illustration of the carefully planned and cultivated paranoia of the era.
Tangential, eclectic, avid listener... favorite book is the one currently in ear.
...or you won't be doing what needs done. Stark, intense and adult themed but not vulgar or profane. I loved the complex characters set in history that was new and beautifully shown.
This novel has a great many good things going for it...it works on several levels (political
thriller, detective story, character study...), good characterizations, clever plot working,
nicely detailed, and well paced. Then comes the ending.
It seemed like the author either couldn't figure out how to end it or just got
tired of the story. Most of the novel before the last few chapters was imaginative
and flowed based on the realistic motives and actions of the characters. The ending,however, seemed glued together with glitter paste. It was much too "cute" and contrived to make much impact or sense...in a society where no man can trust another,
"they lived happily ever after" does not work. And when the good guy goes toe
to toe with the villian...how did that happen?
Maybe because the first 90% was very good, I felt so let down by the ending. The
narrator was excellent and mainly stayed on key for the whole reading. I certainly
recommend listening to the book...even with the contrived ending, its a very good
This is a fantastic read! Great characters, fascinating plot and great background information. This book takes you back to Communist Russia in 1950s. The plot is actually based on a true story about a series of murders that took place in Russia in 1970s. Great plot twist. I understand that this is the authors first book. If so, he hit a home run with this one. Highly recommended.