At the start of this superior psychological thriller from Thriller Award–winner Smith (Child 44), the narrator, a Londoner known only as Daniel, receives a phone call from his father, who has retired with his wife to a farm in Sweden. The father tells Daniel that his mother is in the hospital. For months, she has been “imagining things—terrible, terrible things.” Before Daniel can fly to Sweden, his father calls again to inform him that she persuaded the doctors to authorize her discharge and has disappeared. As Daniel struggles to accept that news, his mother phones to announce that she’s flying to Heathrow and that everything his father has told him “is a lie.” When she arrives, she offers a complex tale to buttress her conviction that she has been plotted against, leaving Daniel uncertain as to whom and what to believe. Smith keeps the reader guessing up to the powerfully effective resolution that’s refreshingly devoid of contrivances. Agent: Felicity Blunt, Curtis Brown (U.K.). (June)
"This concluding installment [is] another first-class, must-read crime novel...In [the] first two volumes, Smith brilliantly illuminated the horrors of Stalin's Russia and the Gulag. He also gave readers Leo Demidov, duty-bound, introspective, enduring, and ultimately a figure both tragic and heroic."—
Booklist on Agent 6 (starred review) "A gripping, relentless whodunit plot...Most readers will reach the final page with regret and in awe of Smith's uncompromising vision of the realities of a police state and the toll it takes on those caught in its meshes." — Publisher's Weekly on Agent 6 (starred review) "An old-fashioned thriller that would do Ludlum and le Carré proud...A big book, in every sense, that's sure to draw attention." — Kirkus on Agent 6 (starred review) "When a trilogy is as unpredictable and riveting as Tom Rob Smith's Child 44 series, set as it is both in the harsh Russian landscape and the dense thicket of the human soul, expectations quickly evaporate in a page-turning frenzy....Smith, a young British screenwriter turned best-selling novelist, has created in Leo Demidov a Kafkaesque modern hero for our times, a good man trapped in a corrupt, manipulative system, forced to choose between loyalties to family, country and conscience. With a cinematographer's eye for settings and historical detail, Smith uses Leo's journey to examine larger issues, especially the political, social and religious systems that both unite and divide us."— BookPage on Agent 6 "Fortified by formidable details of Soviet history, Smith's closing volume of the Leo Demidov trilogy (Child 44; The Secret Speech) knits together iconic characters and elements...Fans of Smith's first two books will avidly seek out the final chapter, though this one stands on its own as well. The Afghan interlude is a searing echo of today's headlines, while the buildup of suspense over several decades is the armchair equivalent of a jaw-jarringly extreme ride at an amusement park."— Library Journal on Agent 6 "Tom Rob Smith secures his place in the pantheon of crime writers with this taut, absorbing conclusion to the trilogy he so brilliantly began with Child 44 and The Secret Speech."— On Agent 6 Amazon's Best Books of the Month for January "Agent 6 has all the elements that made the first two books in the series hits: relentless action, a flawed but fascinating protagonist and a clear-eyed view of the absolute brutality of an authoritarian government."— Dallas Morning News on Agent 6 "The best thrillers combine narrative tension, first-rate plotting and enough psychological insight to satisfy the human hunger for identification...Smith can do all this."— The Guardian on Agent 6 "With Agent 6, Smith has created an epic finale...Smith has a gift for sharply-etched characterization...A twisty thriller in a class with le Carré, Agent 6 is a satisfying culmination to the trilogy."— Suspense Magazine on Agent 6 "Tom Rob Smith is a name to watch."— Agent 6 Ten Best Crime Novels, Independent "An intricate game, a history lesson, philosophy in action."— Juxtabook on Agent 6 "Superb ... action-packed, immaculately researched ... pungent and powerful."— Metro on Agent 6 "The phrase 'master storyteller' simply cannot do him justice...The curtain may have fallen on this particular dark tale, but it has been well and truly raised on a new talent who looks set to be entertaining and moving us for many decades to come."— Scotsman on Agent 6 "Tom Rob Smith is back, from Russia without love. Reading his books is a roller coaster experience ... In the amusement park of contemporary literature, Smith's attractions are among the most exciting ones."— Corriere della Sera on Agent 6 "After the stunning Child 44... comes the sweeping, brilliant finale of his Cold War epic."— Mirror on Agent 6 "[Agent 6 has] an improvised feel, a terrific, freewheeling energy and pace, to which Rob Smith's non-nonsense prose is perfectly suited."— Daily Telegraph on Agent 6 "In Smith's hands [the] scenes attain a pulse of exhilaration worthy of Dickens by way of Conrad...a broadening of moral scope and thematic richness."— Dennis Lehane for The New York Times Book Review on The Secret Speech "His mastery of suspense will make any reader's heart pound."— Financial Times on Child 44
"Tom Rob Smith is a name to watch."
Agent 6 - Ten Best Crime Novels
"One of the rare pleasures of the book-reviewing trade is first hearing all sorts of advance hype about a novel and then finding out that every word was true."
Chicago Tribune on Child 44
"Sensational...crackling...Smith's prose is propulsive...his real genius is his careful potting...an elaborate mystery."
Entertainment Weekly on Child 44
"Chilling, hypnotic and thoroughly compelling. You will not read a better thriller this year."
"I read this book in two greedy sittings, absolutely and joyfully clueless as to where it was leading. Tom Rob Smith has created a truly original and chilling thriller, which makes you ask yourself 'who would
"On rare occasions, an author pulls off the high-wire act of writing a crime-oriented novel that easily transcends the genre.
The Farm is one of these...[Smith's] skills are as finely honed as ever, with this tale that's both a page turner and a searing examination of the lives of our protagonist, his lover and his family. Structurally innovative and stylistically resonant, The Farm is a remarkable achievement."
"A mind-blowing, addictive plot that will have you on the edge of your seat, tearing through the pages as the truth - involving a missing teenage girl, Swedish folklore and some sinister neighbors - slowly leaks out."
"A pacey page-turner with an ending you'll be dying to talk about."
Good Housekeeping (UK) - Thriller of the Month
"This is a neatly plotted book full of stories within stories, which gradually unravel to confound our expectations...Smith's twisting, turning novel shows that Scandi crime also retains the ability to surprise and thrill."
"Tom Rob Smith breathes new life into the landscape, transcending the traditional crime fiction genre with an intricately-knitted thriller steeped in mythology...[Smith] demonstrates the same craftsmanship that saw his highly-acclaimed novel
Child 44 claim the Galaxy Book Award for Best New Writer and long-listed for the Manbooker Prize, among its many plaudits. Meticulously weaving together literary themes of revenge and madness...this latest offering is a tapestry of fairytales old and new; so unsettling and oppressive that it blurs the distinctions between sanity and madness, reality and fantasy, leaving the reader guessing until the bitter end."
Narrators Suzanne Toren and James Langton team up for this new thriller. As a mother tells her son the story that landed her in a psychiatric hospital, Toren’s delivery of her desperation and paranoia is so convincing that listeners will likely want to institutionalize her themselves. As the son, Langton hones in on his character’s internal conflict: Should he believe his pleading mother with her satchel of “evidence” or trust his father’s judgment that she’s lost her grip on reality. Langton deftly juggles the son’s unwavering love and impatient frustration. The story itself has weaknesses that cannot be overcome. Those who manage to weather the mother’s entire bizarre story will likely be disappointed with the anticlimactic ending. Nonetheless, the narrations are outstanding. J.F. © AudioFile 2014, Portland, Maine
Mama's gone crazy, daddy's gone crazy, and Smith (Child 44, 2008) has skipped over from Stalin's Russia to the idyllic Swedish countryside for his latest thriller.The change of scene puts Smith squarely atop territory claimed by Stieg Larsson, Henning Mankell and other masters of Scandinavian mayhem. Smith, who has family ties to Sweden, works a customarily Nordic twist, too, by setting family members at one another's throats—and quite unnicely, too. A frantic email ("Nothing else, just my name, an exclamation mark") alerts Daniel to the fact that something is rotten across the North Sea, where Mum has been parked in a hospital while Dad mutters worriedly about her declining mental faculties. Ah, but Mum, who turns up in London, having fled, may not be loony at all. Indeed, she has a bag full of notes about Dad's late-blooming nefariousness: "In this satchel," she intones, "is some of the evidence I've collected over the summer." Evidence of what? Well, out among the cornflowers and hollyhocks, a corpse, maybe more than one, might just lie, for Dad has a kinky, hidden side. Meanwhile, Mum is old-school enough to believe that the fairy-tale world of trolls and goblins lies on the edge of the forest, though her hypotheses about the teenage girl who's gone missing from their bucolic farm town have an eminently practical side. Smith does creepy very well, setting scenes that slowly build in intensity, and he keeps readers guessing about who can and cannot be trusted. He also has a knack for finding the ominous in the picturesque, so a candlelight procession of "women dressed in bridal white" turns into a backdrop for a discovery that Daniel isn't quite prepared to make. And, it being Sweden, even bad guys and red herrings are neat, orderly and eminently polite: "It wasn't enough for Håkan to attack me," notes Daniel. "He wanted my permission to do so."They're resourcefully lethal as well. A satisfying mystery on ground that, though familiar, manages to yield surprises in Smith's skillful telling.