Customer Reviews for

Child 44

Average Rating 4
( 1309 )
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(625)

4 Star

(431)

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(159)

2 Star

(48)

1 Star

(46)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

25 out of 26 people found this review helpful.

Child 44

Tom Rob Smith's debut is an excellent book. If I was able to, I'd give it 4.5 stars. Smith's plotting is dynamically executed and his prose is phenomenal. Not only did I find myself devouring the book, but I found that it has created a strong interest in literature of s...
Tom Rob Smith's debut is an excellent book. If I was able to, I'd give it 4.5 stars. Smith's plotting is dynamically executed and his prose is phenomenal. Not only did I find myself devouring the book, but I found that it has created a strong interest in literature of similar topics (specifically Stalinist Russia). Having studied the case which the novel is based off of, I can say that Smith did a good job tying the fictional to the facts. Now for my few gripes, and believe me, they are small. Despite the uniqueness of the characters and Smith's excellent portrayal of them, I never really connected to anyone. I really liked Leo, but it's challenging to relate to the types of characters that are in this book. Second, at times I felt like Smith was beating the whole 'see how tense it was in Stalinist Russia' thing to death. He kept reminding us of the things that did or didn't happen in such a paranoid state, and sometimes it was just too much. Lastly, the twist was a bit cliche. I believe it is Jasper Fforde who makes fun of the various stereotypical plot devices used by giving them numbers (i.e. "looks like a plot device 27 to me sir"). Smith's twist was definitely a plot device number whatever, but by the time you find out, you don't care because the rest of the book is so enjoyable.

posted by Janus on December 26, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

36 out of 56 people found this review helpful.

not for the squeamish

I hadn't realized when I picked this book up that it had so many graphic torture scenes. The dust cover promised a story about the search for a serial killer. After 150 pages there was only a hint of this storyline so I gave up. Not what I expected.

posted by Anonymous on August 5, 2008

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 5, 2008

    not for the squeamish

    I hadn't realized when I picked this book up that it had so many graphic torture scenes. The dust cover promised a story about the search for a serial killer. After 150 pages there was only a hint of this storyline so I gave up. Not what I expected.

    36 out of 56 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 26, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Child 44

    Tom Rob Smith's debut is an excellent book. If I was able to, I'd give it 4.5 stars. Smith's plotting is dynamically executed and his prose is phenomenal. Not only did I find myself devouring the book, but I found that it has created a strong interest in literature of similar topics (specifically Stalinist Russia). Having studied the case which the novel is based off of, I can say that Smith did a good job tying the fictional to the facts. Now for my few gripes, and believe me, they are small. Despite the uniqueness of the characters and Smith's excellent portrayal of them, I never really connected to anyone. I really liked Leo, but it's challenging to relate to the types of characters that are in this book. Second, at times I felt like Smith was beating the whole 'see how tense it was in Stalinist Russia' thing to death. He kept reminding us of the things that did or didn't happen in such a paranoid state, and sometimes it was just too much. Lastly, the twist was a bit cliche. I believe it is Jasper Fforde who makes fun of the various stereotypical plot devices used by giving them numbers (i.e. "looks like a plot device 27 to me sir"). Smith's twist was definitely a plot device number whatever, but by the time you find out, you don't care because the rest of the book is so enjoyable.

    25 out of 26 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 12, 2008

    Amazing

    I picked up this book because it was on Barnes & Noble recommends and for members was a really cheap price. The summary on the inside cover also intrigued me.<BR/><BR/>This is one of the best books I have read recently. The plot is tight and intriguing. The first little bit was a little slow, but once I got going, I couldn't stop reading.<BR/><BR/>I also loved the characters. Though they are strong, they have definite flaws, but you don't resent them because of those flaws. This is a fantastic book that I widely recommend. Can't wait for more by Mr. Smith.

    22 out of 27 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 3, 2009

    Boring

    1.0 out of 5 stars Boring, April 3, 2009

    I'm a Soviet Area Specialist who studied the USSR, speaks the language, and visited there many times in the '60s and '70s. The history in this book is excruciatingly accurate, although the author's transliteration of Russian words and phrases leaves a lot to be desired. I'm now 135 pages into this thing, and I still have no clue that a crime (other than a "crime against the State") has been committed. I doubt that I'll go much more deeply into it.
    Unless you're looking for something to put you to sleep, don't bother.

    18 out of 37 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 14, 2012

    A Masterpiece

    I must say goimg into this book I wasn't sure I would enjoy it considering I'm not a big fan of mystery books but by the end of the book all doubts were gone. Tom Rob Smith did an amazing job of capturing the paranoia of Stalin's Soviet Union. The Story follows Leo Demidov, a veteren of the Great Patriotic War and a high ranking official in the Soviet secret police. He and his wife set out to investigate the murders of several young children throughout the Soviet Union, that have been denied by the police in an effort to establish the feeling of a perfect society. Truth that he finds proves to be more shocking than he could have ever imagined. Child 44 is one of the best books I have read and highly suggest. Thanks for reading another D.Z. review.

    11 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 5, 2008

    different than what I would normally be interested in

    I wasn't sure what to expect with this one. War or the history surrounding war has never been particularly interesting to me, but the brief description of the main character's struggle on the book jacket made me want to buy it. I held on to it for a while, passing it by for other books, before actually reading it. When I started the book, I couldn't wait to finish it. The strength displayed by the characters was astonishing. Had I found myself in any of the situations they were in, I would have folded like a deck of cards. I know this is fiction, but the fear and misery seemed very real to me. I know I haven't said much (because I don't want to give anything away) but I needed to say something. I think everyone should read this book.

    8 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 14, 2010

    Haunting

    I'll never forget this book. I had trouble putting it down. It is somewhat depressing to read how the people in Russia lived during this time. It has a lot of historical fact about Russia during Stalin's reign and is a very suspenseful mystery. So, if you are looking for light reading that is fun or romantic, this isn't for you. But if you like mysteries with a twist, you will love it.

    7 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 21, 2010

    Fascinating & thrilling, couldn't put it down, lots of twists

    I read this ebook from my library so I can't attest to the quality of the B&N download. However, pertaining to the book itself: At first I felt this was a little haphazard - it seemed the author had several different agendas for the plot & theme. The more I got into it, though, things tied together very nicely. By the end, I couldn't put it down because everything was tying together. There are several "Wait, what?! Oh!" moments that totally got me. The murder mystery/thriller side was fun, but I also really appreciated the insight into 1953 Soviet politics & culture. I normally hate political sections of books, but the author tied the politics & culture in nicely so that it was all interesting and relevant to the plot.

    Overall a great read and I would definitely recommend to others.

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 29, 2011

    Child 44 should be on the bestseller list

    Child 44 kept me on the edge of my seat. Very unpredictable with a lot of exciting twists and turns. I couldn't wait to read the sequel: The Secret Speech, which was also good.. I have been searching for a suspense novel of this quality every since.

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 26, 2009

    fantastic read

    couldn't put it down once I started. Great plot twists and story all together. You won't be disappointed

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 29, 2008

    Page turner

    I found this book to be quite the page turner. Reminded me a lot of The Da Vinci Code, meaning that it was very entertaining (perfect for cinema/the masses) but the writing is not fabulous and/or life changing.

    6 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 26, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    an enthralling glimpse inside the Soviet criminal justice system

    The crimes are suitably heinous. The mystery stubbornly (and enjoyably) refuses to unravel until the final sequences. As is usually the case with these kinds of books, the killer turns out to have a special connection to the protagonist. If that's all there was to Child 44, then it would just be another forgettable mystery-thriller. What makes it special is the author's assured writing and an incredible setting. We get to experience the dread and paranoia that exists among the ordinary citizens of the Soviet Union, as well as within their law enforcement. The mystery side of the story is often overshadowed by the thriller aspects of the book. Much of the novel is a long chase across the country with many participants. There are plenty of thwarted plans, narrow escapes and surprise revelations. It's enough to make me add the sequel to my list of books to read.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 24, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Child 44

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I heard rumors that they may be making a movie of it also. I hope so. It is definitely worth the time to take to read this one!

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 5, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    1984 a fictional reality...

    The book starts off with the gruesome story of survival in 1930's Russia. It only gets more brutal from there. It jumps forward 20 years to Stalin era Soviet Union, where paranoia reigns, trust is in short supply, and no one is innocent. Torture in the name of justice, false confessions and betrayals for the sake of survival, crime coverups in the name of propaganda... these are just some of the atrocities depicted.

    Leo, the main character is a rising star with the MGB. He is a truthseeker -- So long as the truth benefits the government. When confronted with a man he believes to be truly innocent of any crime, his world starts to unravel. Questioning the government and its methods is not in the script and he is soon denounced as a traitor and demoted. Sent to the east. While there, he begins to investigate a serial child murderer. His (and his wife's) life is in danger however, because it is not in the government's interest to believe a rational man could be responsible for these children's deaths. As far as the government is concerned each child's death is easily attributed to the lunatics, homosexuals, and Nazi infiltrators. But Leo is willing to risk life and limb in order to get to the truth.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 12, 2008

    Top Notch

    You will not be able to put this book down. Unbelievable tempo, characters, and insight into an era of communist russia that has not been described so vividly to date.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2012

    Enjoyed

    Interesting mystery. It is a little slow at times but i enjoyed the story overall.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2011

    Once you start you cannot stop

    Be prepared to settle in for a thrilling page turner. This book would be appealing to a man or woman young adult or senior citizen. Yes it is fiction but also insightful. Oh shucks just read it.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 31, 2011

    Terrible

    Seriously terrible story. This book was so violently graphic I had to stop reading it. the story (not that there is much of one) is not what the synopsis describes. Don't waste your time with this book, its beyond terrible.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 6, 2009

    A Worthy Read

    This novel is beautifully humanistic; tragically and heartrendingly real. This story is one that you dread will end, and then applaud the author when it does. Tom Rob Smith provides his readers with a fantastic plot, characters, and a believable and reliable tale that deserves praise for its endearing qualities and scrupulous attention to the qualities of human emotion and behavior.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 24, 2009

    Got Me From The First Page

    I really enjoyed reading this book. I am not going to sit here and tell about every part because then there is no reason to read it. All I will say is that it is a page-turner from the very first paragraph and you will certainly have a difficult time putting it down.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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