Winner of the British Book Awards, New Writer of the Year, 2009.
Shortlisted for the British Book Awards, Crime Thriller of the Year, 2009.
MGB officer Leo is a man who never questions the Party Line. He arrests whomever he is told to arrest. He dismisses the horrific death of a young boy because he is told to, because he believes the Party stance that there can be no murder in Communist Russia.
Leo is the perfect soldier of the regime. But suddenly his confidence that everything he does serves a great good is shaken. He is forced to watch a man he knows to be innocent be brutally tortured. And then he is told to arrest his own wife.
Leo understands how the State works: Trust and check, but check particularly on those we trust. He faces a stark choice: his wife or his life. And still the killings of children continue.
Child 44 is an enthralling historical crime thriller audiobook written by debut novelist Tom Rob Smith and narrated by British Actor Steven Pacey. Deep in communist Russia the hardships of its people are unfathomable, suffering terribly as a result of the harsh regime. Told through the eyes of naïvely loyal MGB Officer Leo. His obedience to his superiors is tested beyond measure as he sees atrocious crimes committed as a result of his allegiance. No one can be trusted, anyone could be a spy. Can Leo obey the most unimaginable of orders? Available now from Audible.
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Evocative if Slightly Preposterous
I haven't read the print version so its difficult to comment, what I would say is that I enjoyed it. In audio terms it was a page turner and in contrast to 'weightier' books I came away feeling as though I'd actually 'read' it, there was a keener sense of participation.
It was unique from my perspective anyway (I'm sure there are comparable stories) in it's combining of historical setting, which was evocative, and serial killer story line which was faintly cheesy and not up to Hannibal Lecter/Tom Ripley standards but then it was more traditional in its outlook.
Leo was my favourite because he is the most present I suppose, all the action is channeled through him.
No but I did feel slightly chilly some mornings when I was listening to it while trudging to work.
It was pretty good. The idea for the setting was strong but the story line itself was maybe a bit silly, I wasn't that scared of bumping into the killer. The character forming stuff was a bit a bit clunky; character A is like this because of *insert traumatic childhood event. Also I'm not sure about the need for the reader to put on the Russian accent when the characters are speaking, its vaguely meerket-esque but that in itself is a really difficult decision for the director who wants the listener to identify the characters as Russian which they are, but they're clearly not speaking Russian, they're speaking English because the book is written in English.
- Karl K Djinn
Mans Inhumanity to Man