Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith

Child 44 (Leo Demidov, #1)Child 44

Author: Tom Rob Smith

Genre: Fiction, Mystery, Historical Fiction

Originally Published: 2008

Format: Paperback (484 pages)

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Synopsis: Stalin’s Soviet Union is an official paradise, where citizens live free from crime and fear only one thing: the all-powerful state. Defending this system is idealistic security officer Leo Demidov, a war hero who believes in the iron fist of the law, but when a murderer starts to kill at will and Leo dares to investigate, the State’s obedient servant finds himself demoted and exiled. Now, with only his wife at his side, Leo must fight to uncover shocking truths about a killer–and a country where “crime” doesn’t exist.

My Rating: ★★★★

Child 44 is a thrilling read which is well constructed and written. I personally felt that some parts of the beginning of the book were unnecessary, hence I dropped it a star. I flew through the final 200 pages of the book. I was completely mesmerised by Leo and Raisa’s mission to catch the murderer of the poor child victims.

Reading about life in Russia during the time really toyed with my emotions. I felt desperately sad that so many innocent lives were taken for absolutely no reason whatsoever. The facts that were included at the back of the book really hit this home for me.

The main story in this novel is Leo’s investigation into the various child murders he has located throughout Russia. After being exiled from Moscow, we follow Leo and his wife, Raisa, as they strive to bring justice to these children. I was sickened by the chapters detailing the murder of hundreds of homosexual men, killed purely because it was easier to blame the murders on these people who lay outside of the ideal.

There are many horrendously vivid and difficult descriptions in this book. However, I do think they work well to really bring home the darkness of the situation. Just imagine that the multiple murder of children is easily ignored, simply because it would make our nation look bad? It’s unimaginable.

I did feel that some of the chapters at the beginning of the book were slightly irrelevant and I am thankful that I didn’t give up on this one as the ending was brilliant. But overall this was a great read and I would recommend it to people who enjoy thrillers or novels with a historical element.

What did I love most about the book?

My favourite part of this novel was the twist. I literally had no idea that would be coming until Leo was interrogated and revealed his true name. For me, up until that point this book was going to be a 3.5* read, but having read almost the entire book with no idea who or what the killer would be, I couldn’t deny it a 4* review. If I can get most of the way through a book like this and have no idea who the killer is, then I applaud the writer. This twist came out of nowhere for me and brought the story together really neatly.

Memorable Quotes

“To stand up for someone was to stitch your fate into the lining of theirs.”

“Trust but check. Check on those we trust.”

Final Thoughts

This was a great read that I thoroughly enjoyed. This morning I watched the movie as I was curious to see if it did the novel justice. Although they missed out some scenes from the books that I would have liked to see included, I felt that the film was also great and worthy of a 4* rating. Tom Hardy and Gary Oldman were fantastic!

Have you read/watched Child 44? What did you think?

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4 responses to “Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith

  1. If you enjoyed this you would LOVE Eugenia Ginzburg’s Journey into the Whirlwind. It’s a memoir about an incredible woman’s time spent in the gulag. I haven’t read this, but my European history teacher recommended it just last block, mentioning “there’s no murder in paradise”. Sounds fantastic!


  2. Pingback: Weekly Wrap-Up #6 | Kelly's Rambles·

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