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
"Child 44 is a remarkable debut novel - inventive, edgy and relentlessly gripping from the first page to the last." (Scott Turow)
To be fair, I haven gotten past the first chapter due to the narrator's vocal fry. I can't stop noticing it and it is so distracting. I recently read the farm and the narration was superb especially the female actor. Not a vocal fry throughout, that I noticed!
The book may be good but it is a bleak environment and the narrator didn't bring me into the story.
James Langton was excellent in the farm.
Anyone reading for a living should have an actor's voice and delivery so they are transmitting the story, not just reading it. I don't feel this was accomplished in this book.
Interesting look at Soviet life and thinking in post WWII era.
Storyline did have a few unexpected turns and twists
Reading was alright.often felt stiff,and occassionally use of accents was not believable.Would have been better without it.
The storyline did want one to research the history of the time more.
Overall enjoyed the book, but the experience could have been MUCH better with a different narrator
Overall, I enjoyed this book. Pretty decent thriller, esp for anyone who can relate culturally to the Soviet-era plot. However, the narration by D. Boutsikaris was very poor, easily the worst part of the listening experience. For one thing, the narrator does not adjust his voice sufficiently to suit/differentiate between characters. But more importantly, his rendition of a Russian accent is simply the worst I've ever heard. I'd suggest to the narrator to completely avoid doing ANY accent when narrating a Russian story line, or put a little effort into practicing a Russian accent (youtube videos? teddyKGB from Rounders?). Upon learning that Boutsikaris narrated the other two books in the trilogy I decided not to buy them...
I read Child 44 and was upset by the cruel nature of Stalin's Russia. I don't know if I have the stomach to read more of his books.
I do have a comment on one of the reviews of Agent 6. I might read that book because part of the story is set is Brighton Beach, where I live. The beach in this part of Brooklyn faces south, not east. I have often taken pictures of the beautiful sunset that can be seen from the boardwalk.
This book was something I was hoping would be as good as the movie Citizen X, where a under appreciated Russian cop sets out against all odds to solve a murder that the state would prefer not to acknowledge.
Alas, it starts out with a good mystery but quickly loses its focus, and by the time the author tries to bring it back full circle, the motivation is so laughable that I was hoping it was a double fake, but it wasn't.
I was interested for about 1/2 the book and then it completely fell apart for me.
Once I started this book and got past the first chapter, I was hooked till the end. You won't be disappointed, I promise.
The only reason not to give this audiobook 5 stars is because of the reading. In the story, all characters are supposed to be speaking their mother tongue in their homeland yet he finds it necessary to read their dialogues with an exaggerated "foreign" (i.e. what is supposed to be Russian) accent. Since one would assume all persons are able to speak their own language fluently and without an accent, I find this not only distracting but affected and wholly unnecessary. If the story line involved Russian characters speaking a different language, it would fit - but here?
Even so, you should buy this book for the description of what communism does to a society! It is well written and action packed.
This truly is a great listen -- and amazing for a debut novel. Some aspects are pretty bleak - mostly having to do with Soviet society under Stalin in the 1950s. The mystery/thriller plotline was excellent. The characters were excellent. And the unusual setting -- 1950s USSR -- was facinating.
A great read! Well thought out with a deep plot and interesting characters. Should be required reading for anyone who who thinks the United States should continue on it's current Socialist path...... Enjoy, Comrades;)
Say something about yourself!
This book is loosely based on the real-life story of the Russian serial-killer, Andrei Chikitalo, the hunt for whom was portrayed in the excellent HBO movie "Citizen X." While the character of the lead detective in this novel is engaging, the plot quickly becomes ludicrous by the end. I felt sucked in by the hype that's accompanied by this book by the time the ending rolled around and wished I hadn't used my credits on it.
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