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Child 44

July 31, 2008

Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith opens in the Ukraine in 1933. People are starving and freezing to death, so a mother sends her two young sons out to hunt for food, and one of them is captured to be someone else’s meal. The book then skips to 20 years later in Moscow, during Stalin’s reign. Leo Demidov is a member of the State Security force enjoying all the privileges his rank provides. When his wife is suspected of being a traitor, he refuses to denounce her, so he is demoted and they are moved to a remote village. There, he discovers that a serial killer is murdering children. The state claims there is no crime in their society, so Leo is forced to investigate the crimes secretly. To solve the crimes, Leo is forced to confront his past, and everything is tied together.

This book hooked me right from the start. Tom Rob Smith researched life in the Soviet Union during the Stalinist regime, so I think the fear he describes is pretty realistic. Child 44 was inspired by a real Soviet serial killer, Andrei Chikatilo. The suspense made it a page turner.

This is Tom Rob Smith’s first book. (I can’t help but wonder if his friends call him Tom Rob.) The manuscript was bid on by three publishers, and the film rights have already been sold. Child 44 is on the long list for this year’s Man Booker Prize for Fiction. There is a sequel in the works.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. July 31, 2008 8:45 am

    Oh Cripes….now here’s yet another book for my Gotta Read list. I think I may have to stop reading blogs, I find at least two books a day I want to read, I’ll have to live to be 180 to read all the books on the list so far, and these pesky authors keep writing great books to add to the list. Who can live long enough to read them all?

    Variation on a sign motto:

    God wants us all to read a certain number of books before we die; I’m so far behind I’m going to live forever!!

  2. stacybuckeye permalink
    July 31, 2008 10:01 am

    Thanks for the recommendation. I’m not sure it sounds like my kind of book, but I’ll add it to my library list. I still work at the reference desk when they need me and all I do is ‘shop’.

  3. August 1, 2008 6:20 am

    I can’t wait to read this one. The minute it comes out in paperback, it’s mine! 🙂

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