The Resource Child 44, Tom Rob Smith

Child 44, Tom Rob Smith

Label
Child 44
Title
Child 44
Statement of responsibility
Tom Rob Smith
Title variation
Child forty-four
Creator
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Summary
Rising Soviet state security force officer Leo Demidov encounters the test of his career when a serial killer challenges his beliefs about the paradise of the working world, resulting in his demotion and threats against the lives of his family members
Member of
Storyline
Pace
Tone
Writing style
Award
  • Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award, 2008.
  • Thriller Award for Best First Novel, 2009.
Review
  • /*Starred Review*/ In the workers' paradise of Stalin's Russia, crime cannot exist. Loyal, hardworking citizens will have all their needs met by the state, making crime unnecessary. The one exception is political crime, and MGB (State Security) officer Leo Demidov works long hours arresting people and delivering them to dreaded Lubyanka Prison. Deeply patriotic, but covetous of the perks of his position, Leo knows that many of the people he arrests are innocent, and he knows that he could suffer a similar fate. He does, almost, when office politics, MGB style, dictate his transfer to the lowly militia in a small city hundreds of miles east of Moscow. There he discovers that a serial killer is preying on children in cities along the Trans-Siberian Railroad. Having lost almost everything, Leo seeks redemption by hunting the killer, but his effort makes him a high-profile enemy of the state (acknowledging that a serial killer could exist in the USSR is tantamount to treason). Child 44 powerfully personalizes the Orwellian horrors of life in Stalin's Russia. Almost every page echoes Hobbes' description of the life of man: "nasty, brutish, and short." First-novelist Smith's pacing is relentless; readers wanting to put the book down for a brief rest may find themselves persevering regardless. Expect the same kind of critical acclaim for this compelling tale that greeted the publication of Martin Cruz Smith's Gorky Park (1981) more than 25 years ago. Like most first novels, Smith's debut isn't perfect, but it's a very, very good read. Don't miss it. -- Gaughan, Thomas (Reviewed 02-01-2008) (Booklist, vol 104, number 11, p5)
  • /* Starred Review */ Set in the Soviet Union in 1953, this stellar debut from British author Smith offers appealing characters, a strong plot and authentic period detail. When war hero Leo Stepanovich Demidov, a rising star in the MGB, the State Security force, is assigned to look into the death of a child, Leo is annoyed, first because this takes him away from a more important case, but, more importantly, because the parents insist the child was murdered. In Stalinist Russia, there's no such thing as murder; the only criminals are those who are enemies of the state. After attempting to curb the violent excesses of his second-in-command, Leo is forced to investigate his own wife, the beautiful Raisa, who's suspected of being an Anglo-American sympathizer. Demoted and exiled from Moscow, Leo stumbles onto more evidence of the child killer. The evocation of the deadly cloud-cuckoo-land of Russia during Stalin's final days will remind many of Gorky Park and Darkness at Noon , but the novel remains Smith's alone, completely original and absolutely satisfying. Rights sold in more than 20 countries. (May) --Staff (Reviewed March 3, 2008) (Publishers Weekly, vol 255, issue 9, p29)
  • Grisly, gruesome, and gory are just three ways to describe this debut novel by young British screenwriter Smith. While adapting a short story by sf writer Jeff Noon, Smith came across the true account of Soviet serial killer Andrei Chikatilo, who after killing more than 50 women and children was executed in 1994. His story inspired Smith to write this grim, 1953-set novel, which ties together just about all of the worst aspects of the Stalinist regime. The Ukrainian famine and the unrelieved horror of the gulag, among other historical hooks, add to the saga of ex-soldier and police official Leo Demidov, who dissects the morbid clues left by the killer. The paradox of crime in a workers' paradise denies any legitimacy to Leo's investigation, since, by definition, such repellent crimes are impossible. With some 20 foreign sales to date and film rights already in Ridley Scott's hands, this successor to Hannibal Lector's lurid mantle has nonstop plotting, a nonstop pace, and even a surprise ending. Horror genre readers will thrill to it; others may be advised to ask for a barf bag as well as their date due slip. Suspense collections in large libraries will likely need several copies to fill waiting lists. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 1/08.]—Barbara Conaty, Falls Church, VA --Barbara Conaty (Reviewed March 15, 2008) (Library Journal, vol 133, issue 5, p63)
  • /* Starred Review */ During the terror of Stalin's last days, a secret policeman becomes a detective stalking a serial killer in a debut novel from a shockingly talented 28-year-old Brit.Skillfully drawing on the only totalitarian milieu more frightening than the Nazis, Smith opens the book in a village of starving kulaks, where two young brothers set out in the snow to trap the last local cat that hasn't been eaten. Myopic young Andrei throws himself on the frantic feline only to have both cat and older brother Pavel snatched by a mysterious man who bags them and disappears, leaving Andrei to stumble home alone. Both Pavel and Andrei figure later in a plot that shifts to the early '50s as Father Stalin has begun his final mad purges. War hero MGB officer Leo Stepanovich Demidov begins to realize, during the course of performing his brutal State Security duties, that the death of the four-year-old son of a younger associate may not have been as accidental as the official report suggested. Family and neighbors claim that the child was brutally assaulted before being left on the railroad tracks. The problem for good soldier Leo is that in the Glorious Workers' Paradise, where every citizen has everything he needs, there is no such thing as crime. There are only attacks by the corrupt outside world. Leo has another problem. His beautiful wife Raisa, whom he suspects of infidelity, has been charged by Leo's vicious rival Vasili with espionage, and Leo has been ordered to verify that claim. Learning too late that the innocent and faithful Raisa fears rather than loves him, rattled by Vasili's treachery, knowing that he is damaged goods, Leo counts himself lucky to be exiled to duty in a hick town where he discovers further murders and begins a hair-raising hunt for the perpetrator.Nerve-wracking pace and atmosphere camouflage wild coincidences. Smashing. (Kirkus Reviews, March 1, 2008)
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
236596
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Smith, Tom Rob
Dewey number
823/.92
Illustrations
maps
Index
no index present
Literary form
novels
Nature of contents
bibliography
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
Series statement
Leo Demidov thrillers
Series volume
0001
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Secret service
  • Communism
  • Murderers
  • Serial murderers
  • Murder
  • Betrayal
  • Interpersonal relations
  • Soviet Union
Target audience
adult
Label
Child 44, Tom Rob Smith
Instantiates
Publication
Copyright
Note
"A novel"--Cover
Bibliography note
Includes bibliographical references (page 439)
Carrier category
  • volume
  • sheet
Carrier category code
  • nc
  • nb
Carrier MARC source
  • rdacarrier
  • rdacarrier
Content category
  • text
  • cartographic image
Content type code
  • txt
  • cri
Content type MARC source
  • rdacontent
  • rdacontent
Dimensions
24 cm
Edition
First edition.
Extent
439 pages
Isbn
9780446402385
Lccn
2007028272
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
Other physical details
map on endpapers
Label
Child 44, Tom Rob Smith
Publication
Copyright
Note
"A novel"--Cover
Bibliography note
Includes bibliographical references (page 439)
Carrier category
  • volume
  • sheet
Carrier category code
  • nc
  • nb
Carrier MARC source
  • rdacarrier
  • rdacarrier
Content category
  • text
  • cartographic image
Content type code
  • txt
  • cri
Content type MARC source
  • rdacontent
  • rdacontent
Dimensions
24 cm
Edition
First edition.
Extent
439 pages
Isbn
9780446402385
Lccn
2007028272
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
Other physical details
map on endpapers

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