Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith
There is no civilian crime in the perfect paradise of Soviet Russia under Stalin, only sabotage and mayhem carried out by foreign spies and mercenaries, no doubt instigated, backed, and sent by the West.
Leo Demidov is a highly decorated war hero and now an outstanding officer in the MGB (KGB?) – the Soviet State Security Force.
He possesses a decent apartment, an attractive trophy wife, and a status that befits a man of his position, but when he comes across something supposedly unusual, or even unheard of, like a serial killer, he keenly wants to investigate the case, but finds himself demoted and sidelined and denounced. But why?
Child 44 is a cracking book about how anyone can work and survive within such a suffocating and murderous system, and was the first book from TRS.
Unlike most people I read Tom Rob Smith’s second book first, and again, unlike most people I thought that The Secret Speech was the better read, (they feature the same characters) but maybe that was simply because the first title read in a series has all the advantages of freshness.
Child 44 is a gripping and well-researched read, but then it jolly well should be. Why? Well, at the end of the book there are the usual thank you pages for people who helped with the book, and here, giving thanks to no less than twenty, no doubt highly paid and highly qualified people, who helped to knock the book into shape ready for final publication.
Makes one wonder what the original draft was like, or am I just being picky? But seriously folks, it does remind us that the people who write and publish Indie novels, some of which these days are very good indeed, have to do all of that re-writing and correcting and polishing all on their own, or at least the vast majority of it, and good luck to them too, for they deserve all and any rewards and accolades that come their way.
But back to Child 44. I enjoyed TRS’s novel and will look out for and read more of his stuff as they come cruising by. Child 44 is certainly recommended by me, and now I see that the movie of the same name has been released and I am looking forward to that too. Just hope it’s not a great disappointment like so many other thrillers turned movies have been in recent times, Reacher comes to mind so far as that is concerned.