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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 (3162 )
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4.3 (1890 )
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4.4 (1890 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Ed Saint Augustine, FL, United States 12-28-08
    Ed Saint Augustine, FL, United States 12-28-08 Member Since 2017

    Retired former magazine editor who is working harder than ever as Mr. Dad to his 14-year-old daughter.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    3243
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    "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.

    33 of 36 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carol Thomson, GA, USA 07-17-08
    Carol Thomson, GA, USA 07-17-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "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!

    20 of 22 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jim "The Impatient" 07-16-12 Member Since 2016

    My taste differs from kid books to gory horror books.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "Intense, Suspenseful, Unbelievable"

    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.

    11 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sylvia 08-13-08
    Sylvia 08-13-08 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "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
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    "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
  •  
    Najima Rainey 04-19-15 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "Wasted potential"

    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.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Calliope 06-16-13
    Calliope 06-16-13
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    Story
    "Slow start, interesting story but weak ending"

    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.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jan 01-12-12
    Jan 01-12-12 Member Since 2011

    Tangential, eclectic, avid listener... favorite book is the one currently in ear.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "Wait to start listening until you have time..."

    ...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.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    neil FORT PIERCE, FL, United States 12-28-11
    neil FORT PIERCE, FL, United States 12-28-11 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "First Rate...Until The Finale"

    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
    novel.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    cestakey 04-27-09
    cestakey 04-27-09 Member Since 2001
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "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

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