Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith



Leo Demidov lives a life in Russia with his beautiful wife Raisa being loyal to the country he is a war hero of.  He wants to serve his country and serve it well.  But Leo is not without his secrets – both past and present… dark and far back into his childhood there was this time… with his brother… but that was then and this is now.  At times he looks upon his wife still a beauty and wonders if she has ever really loved him.

Loyal to a fault Leo goes about his days starting early working late.  And then a series of child murders start to happen and Leo, who has never had children of his own but has always wanted them can not imagine such a  hideous unthinkable crime.  When his very State seems to sweep these happenings under the rug looking at the fact that this could be happening as an embarrassment to their very country therefore it must not be acknowledged, Leo knows he needs to take a stand. 

When Leo starts to investigate these crimes further than his country would like he becomes a criminal against the state and before he knows it he and Raisa are running for their very lives, trying to uncover the truth before they are captured and killed.

Sometimes the truth is closer than you think.



Why did I want to read this book?  Many years ago a friend of my husband and I mentioned that this was a book he enjoyed very much.  On his recommendation I purchased the book but never a big fan of political issues or war type books I left it on the shelf for a long long time.  I knew I always wanted to read it, I just did not know when.  When recently I came into owning the second and third books of this trilogy, I felt it was time to begin. 

Child 44 reminded me a lot of a book I read when I was in my teens (and I read it to impress a boy I liked but well… you know) Gorky Park by Martin Cruz Smith which honestly surprised me how much I got into it, and really as I type this now think I should have that book in my collection just because it holds some pretty amazing memories for me. 

The beginning of this book captures you right from the start you get a piece of information that at first I didn’t connect it but later you will find in a mind exploding sort of way how that is so important to the story itself, it is moments like these that I really appreciate an authors talent to surprise and inform all at the same time.  Truly… awesome.

The story line never lags, there is always something going on weaving in and out of Leo and Raisa’s life to the mind of the killer himself.  When it switches to the killer stalking a child, planning the next move – I really got chills of anticipation of the capture…. certainly someone had to put a stop to this! 

In the end the book was really a pleasure to read and one I can not wait to share with our friend that I finally took the time and read it.  Child 44 has won many awards: 2009 Thriller Award for Best First Novel, The Strand Magazine 2008 Critics Award for Best First Novel, the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award, and was long listed for the Man Booker Prize.  It was released in 2008 and the second book in 2012, and the third in January of 2012.  It could easily be read as a standalone book, but I am curious of where it will go in the second book, The Second Speech.


Note:  I did wind up listening to this on audio as I have been traveling a bit lately and needed a good story for the car time.  Narrator Dennis Boutsikaris had a wonderful voice for this book.  I really enjoyed listening to him.

16 Comments on “Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith

  1. I also listened to this book… and actually, the entire series. It’s the best way. I tried to read one of the books, but found I actually preferred the audio. Soon to be a movie!!!

  2. I brought home Agent 6 and when I realized it was part of a trilogy, of course, I had to read the first book. I enjoyed it too. I chuckled at you reading a book to impress a boy, I did the same in HS and read Alexander Solzhenitsyn to impress a college boy- the book ended up impressing me more!

  3. I tried and tried to comment on this but was unable to. I think my browser is out of date. I can’t upgrade this computer. Anyhow, I’ve read all three of these books and have written reviews of the last two. If you want to see them, let me know. techeditor (online) Beth Vollbach

    • Wow – sorry you had so much trouble commenting – that is frustrating. Exciting that you did the review s- I would be interested in seeing them.

  4. I tbr’d this long long time ago and am thrilled to see a reminder that I should actually read it. Maybe soon.

  5. Your review has convinced me that maybe I should read this after all. It has been sitting our our bookshelves since my husband read and suggested I did as well.

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