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Child 44 Audiobook

Child 44

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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

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (3183 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Parola138 Czech Republic 03-04-15
    Parola138 Czech Republic 03-04-15 Member Since 2017

    We bite

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Gripping, multi-layered"

    Most mysteries bore me. Even if they have interesting characters, I'm so picky that a mystery book has to really appeal to me on the levels of SETTING and HISTORY. These kinds of books are hard to come by. When I discovered Adrian McKinty's Troubles trilogy, I devoured them like some pervert.

    Child 44 was hard for me to get into. I feel like it flounders in the beginning. You can't tell if its an existential novel or a crime novel or what. But then the book suddenly gets so good that you realize you are like Fortunato in Edgar Allan Poes, "Cask of Amontillado," when he suddenly realizes he's been slowly walled-up inside a basement. Suddenly, I was trapped in this book and it became so real and intense to me that it was very much like being transported to another world and time and place.

    Amazing book. Delivered on so many levels. If you like the types of mysteries that I do, I highly recommend giving McKinty a try. Cold, Cold Ground is the first of the Troubles series. Holy Jeezus, I've found some great books recently!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Victoria Rose 02-25-15
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    Story
    "Just right"

    I loved it. The narration was great, story was compelling and the setting felt so real. It was interesting to read a literary thriller set in Russia.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    undrwo 02-15-15
    undrwo 02-15-15 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "BRUTAL. brutal. holy cow."
    Would you listen to Child 44 again? Why?

    No because my heart is forever broken and I cannot fathom retraumatizing myself.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    The protagonist's wife, for being a brilliant, practical, strong, unrepentantly harsh but very touching and lovely character in the end. She is tough as nails and caustic and so incredibly lovely and human.


    Have you listened to any of Dennis Boutsikaris’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    He's a top notch narrator and this book only proves it. I had only heard him do American Gods, but this book with its' Russian accents is basically doing an audio book backwards in high heels. Even when anyone else would sound goofy, he delivers performances as gripping and compelling as ever.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    In Soviet Russia mass murderers are you? No, more seriously- 'Who is there to help when a crime cannot be a crime?' Ah, I'm bad at this.


    Any additional comments?

    The author pulls ZERO punches at any point, ever, but gives you an incredible sense of the precarious territory the protagonist moves through. The fact that Leo is so unbelievably naive only makes the book more harrowing as his delusions are slowly ripped away.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Patricia Auburn, CA, United States 02-10-15
    Patricia Auburn, CA, United States 02-10-15

    pjlyon

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The Beginning of Light"

    Even though the story is dated, Stalin era and after his death, it is still a powerful story with many insights into the mind set in the Soviet Union.

    The story of the murders was fascinating and well done. I throughly enjoyed the listening experience.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lauren Westminster, CA, United States 02-09-15
    Lauren Westminster, CA, United States 02-09-15

    When I need an escape and cannot openly read a book, I whip out my headphones and press play on my Audible app.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Fascinating Mystery Thriller"
    Where does Child 44 rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Easily in my top 5.


    Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

    It was difficult to follow the beginning since it was jumping to different times and frames of reference. However, the author did a really great job weaving all these pieces together to form a cohesive story.


    Which character – as performed by Dennis Boutsikaris – was your favorite?

    Leo, the main character


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    I have always been fascinated with Communist Russia and Eastern Germany. I think the author's willingness to be true to the time period and to fit a story into the inner-workings of Communist Russia was a great idea. This concept was my favorite part of the book.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amy Memphis 02-03-15
    Amy Memphis 02-03-15 Member Since 2017
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    "Couldn't stop listening!"

    So great! This book was intriguing both historically and through the mystery of the story told. Totally recommend this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Douglas E Sarine 01-27-15
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    "Original take on detective novel"

    This story was so well-paced that it gave me plenty of time to understand the motivations of all the characters. The danger and the action felt nice and tense. The "thought device" helped pull into a time/place I knew little about. Narrator was true to tone of the book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Benjamin Saufley Boston, MA 01-24-15
    Benjamin Saufley Boston, MA 01-24-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Fun story, terrible narrator"

    The audio's butchering of common Russian names drove me bonkers (pronouncing Russian names by what I have to assume are Spanish rules?), and the bad Russian accent (why bother?) for dialogue didn't help. The story itself was bleak but engaging. Felt a *bit* like anti-communist propaganda at times with how hard it drove home the corruption/misery angle, but eh. It made for a decent setting for the story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    douglasuke Hong Kong 01-10-15
    douglasuke Hong Kong 01-10-15 Member Since 2001

    douglas_eu

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A real surprise"

    This is a very good muster story set in the USSR right after Stalin's death. While there is nothing specifically written about the government, the story's setting gives a good description of what life must have been like during this period. The mystery is well crafted and I didn't see the ending at all.

    The performance was also well done with good accents and I felt I was listening to a Russian telling me the story in English with a strong Russian accent.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Darryl 08-13-14
    Darryl 08-13-14 Member Since 2008
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    "if 1984 had a serial killer"

    I like the 1984 crossed with Dragon Tattoo aspect, with a little Gorky Park, and Silence of the Lambs, and Fatherland and episodic structure a bit like Red October with the movement in time and place.

    this is a good mystery thriller/detective story and does it's job effectively. I can't rave about it due to fact it does ultimately follow the template of mystery/thriller genre (serial killer, clues, doubters, race against time) and though it doesn't do anything exceptional it does have some good characters, (couple of very good villains who are not the murderer). there are some formulaic aspects, but there are a few surprises along the way.

    one thing i liked was that there are very few good guys actually, and a case could be made that there are none. this is partially due to the people being stuck in the repressive society which dictates their actions and controls their thinking.

    actually, my favorite thing about this is the depiction of life within a dictatorship and the methods by which those at the top control everyone and information and the daily life struggle just to survive when you can't trust anyone. i think that part of the story was more engaging to me than the mystery part, actually there are a couple things regarding that i found to be a bit forced and too coincidental for my taste. but it is a page turner in many ways.

    & it does seem at least to be well researched and author seems to be knowledgeable about Russia and it's political situation at the time. it appears to be the start of what might be a good detective series based in Russia of the 50s and 60s

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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