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Child 44 | [Tom Rob Smith]

Child 44

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. But now a murderer is on the loose.
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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

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

What Members Say

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  •  
    Carol Thomson, GA, USA 07-17-08
    Carol Thomson, GA, USA 07-17-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
    18
    ratings
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    17
    2
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    Overall
    "highly recommended!"

    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!

    18 of 20 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ed Saint Augustine, FL, United States 12-28-08
    Ed Saint Augustine, FL, United States 12-28-08 Member Since 2006

    Retired former magazine editor who is working harder than ever as Mr. Dad to his 11-year-old daughter.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    2250
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    404
    213
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    2231
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    Overall
    "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.

    22 of 25 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sylvia alpharetta, GA, United States 08-13-08
    Sylvia alpharetta, GA, United States 08-13-08 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    38
    ratings
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    67
    33
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    Overall
    "Excellent!!"

    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.

    Enjoy!

    10 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Barry Katy, TX, United States 08-24-08
    Barry Katy, TX, United States 08-24-08 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    383
    ratings
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    267
    35
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    Overall
    "Best international thriller ever written"

    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.

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paul houston, TX, USA 08-09-09
    Paul houston, TX, USA 08-09-09 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    50
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    83
    23
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    2
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    Overall
    "A Fresh Look at Life in Soviet Russia"

    Book was great, I mostly enjoyed the detailed look at the Soviet era. That's 80% of why I bought this and it delivered. The narrator did a good job and the story was interesting, the twist or wrap-up was a little too hard to belive, well really hard to belive, but didn't take away from the story and not reading a lot of murder mysteries I can't say that type of suspension of disbelife isn't needed in a lot in other books? Would recomend. Try not to do to much more review reading, becasu 1/2 way through I was reading one and it had a huge spoiler. Don't know if it was on Amazon or Audible? But think I would have enjoyed more if hadn't come across this bit of info.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark Santa Fe, NM, United States 04-27-09
    Mark Santa Fe, NM, United States 04-27-09 Member Since 2001
    HELPFUL VOTES
    133
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    232
    52
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    Overall
    "Great Read!"

    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.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andre New York, NY, United States 02-19-09
    Andre New York, NY, United States 02-19-09 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    83
    ratings
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    202
    27
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    5
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    Overall
    "Inventive - Engaging"

    Loved the Soviet era setting, well-defined characters, and engaging mystery. Most original in a very good way. I'm not usually a 'mystery' type, however, this book more than delivered the goods. It has earned a spot high on my "recommended" list.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    01-05-09
    01-05-09 Member Since 2001
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    9
    7
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    0
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    Overall
    "Irresistible listening"

    The narration is top notch and the story ...while a difficult listen at times..always was compelling. I found myself sitting in the driveway way too long not wanting to leave the story.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    marty reinhardt Kingston, washington USA 07-02-08
    marty reinhardt Kingston, washington USA 07-02-08 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    73
    7
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    Overall
    "Life in Stalin's world"

    Living under Stalin comes in full view within the mystery of a possible serial killer of children. Showing courage at the risk of losing everything, a Russian official undergoes a personal transformation. Heart-stopping intrigue.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paul Mcgraw Lawrenceville, GA USA 08-01-09
    Paul Mcgraw Lawrenceville, GA USA 08-01-09 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    26
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    599
    13
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    0
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    Overall
    "Outstanding"

    I usually listen to two audible books per week, and this one really knocked my socks off. The author takes us into a world so alien to a modern American that it almost seems like Science Fiction, but is actually the "utopia" of socialist totalitarianism in the Stalinist Soviet Union. This book moves the reader/listener on so many different levels that it rises to the level of Great Literature. Original, engrossing, and compelling, you will not be able to stop listening.

    The narration by Boutsikaris is marvelous. Truly exceptional characterizations. The flat, firmly controlled intonations of the main character evoke brillantly his need to always hide his true feelings from the "state" that controls every aspect of his life. But every other characterization is equally well thought out by the narrator, sensitive to the nuances of the plot, and very believable.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
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