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If it weren t for the Soviet Union and the blood lust of the Russian communists, I would not exist My parents were World War II refugees, on the run for their lives from Soviet occupied Latvia They arrived in the United States at about the same time, immigrants with nothing but what they wore on their backs, with the most skeletal English language skills Had they not spotted each other across the room of immigrants and felt drawn one to the other, well, that would have been an entirely different story, and without me in it Even so, you won t hear gratitude from me My existence does not by any measure outweigh the brutalities of Soviet power A large percentage of the Latvian population was deported, tortured and executed under the communist regime My life cannot measure up to such suffering of the multitudes In later years, I traveled several times to the Soviet Union to see for myself this world that had so often been described to me, yet nonetheless remained and remains nearly incomprehensible The experience of my travels behind the Iron Curtain is a memory that will never leave me These are the memories and impressions returned to me with the reading of Tom Rob Smith s debut novel, Child 44 Tom Rob Smith has taken his premise for Child 44 from the true story of Russian serial murderer, Andrei Chikatilo, who murdered over 50 women and children in Russia during the 1980s Although Smith has set his story in an earlier time period, the 1950s, he has not lost, but only gained levels of intrigue and suspense by choosing the worst years of Soviet oppression The difference, the author explains, is that in the latter years, someone in open rebellion against the political system might lose an apartment, while in earlier years, it would have meant the loss of life The story of Child 44 has the chill of historical and political accuracy The author is still in his twenties at this writing, yet the combination of his research and already rich life and travel experience have given him the depth of insight required to bring this tale of Soviet horror vividly to life I had to wonder, in fact, and quite often during my reading, how many readers less aware of Soviet history might construe this as mere fantasy In too many ways, it is not The sense of unraveling sanity and logic threaded throughout daily Soviet life is all too real Black is declared white and white, black What you see, you are told, is not what you see What you know is not to be known Deny everything And in saving your own life, choose who will die among your loved ones Leo Demidov is a key character, the communist detective pursuing the killer who cannot be named The first insanity is that the Soviet government denies the existence of crime in its so called utopian state If life is perfection, why would anyone commit a crime Crime, they claim, is an outgrowth of a capitalist society And then, a crime so gruesome as to kill a child, ripping open his belly to expose his insides, stuffing his open mouth with bark and gravel Yet such dead and tortured children s bodies appear throughout Soviet Russia, and despite the growing threat to his own safety, Demidov is determined to stop the child murderer He cannot question witnesses, however, when there is no official crime to witness He cannot conduct investigations when there is no official crime to investigate To stop these murders, Demidov must become himself a criminal against the state Such is Stalin s workers paradise The stakes grow ever higher, as Demidov s loyalty to the state is tested when his wife is accused of being a spy In spite of her innocence, Demidov is faced with calling the authorities liars by defending his wife or handing over his innocent wife to be executed but show his loyalty to the state that does no wrong A page turner, indeed, but blood runs even colder when one knows this type of existence was all too real behind the Iron Curtain of the very real Soviet Union Tom Rob Smith has my respect and admiration for putting into words what makes so little sense to the rational mind I suggest supplemental reading in the form of Alexander Solzhenitsyn s Gulag Archipelago for the true history of this nightmarish world Zinta Aistars for The Smoking Poet, Summer 2008 Issue (((FREE PDF))) ☠ Child 44 ↠ MoskvaStalins J Rngrepp R H Rt Och Obarmh Rtigt Och S Kerhetstj Nsten R Brutal Och Urskiljningsl S I Detta Perfekta Samh Lle Verkar Officeren Leo Demidov En Krigshj Lte Som Ocks R H Ngiven Sovjetmedborgare Och Lojal Mot Sin Arbetsgivare Men Han Har B Rjat Tvivla Tvivla P Ett Samh Lle Som Kommenderar Sina Medborgare Att Tro Att Brott Inte Existerar Och D R Oskyldiga Kan Torteras Till D Ds Och Man F Rs Ker M Rka Ett Barns D D F R, Som Titeln Anger, Handlar Det Om En L Ng Rad Ouppklarade Barnamord Brother, if you were a playing card what card would you be Would you be an ace or a king, a spade or a heart What a month this has been so far Gearing up the scheduled readings for the coming Holy Week and the much needed Easter holidays, I ve spent March with a number of strange, memorable books that proved to be a rather demanding company I am not exaggerating in the slightest when I say that Child 44 was the finest, darkest, most emotionally draining reading experience This isn t merely a thriller or an excellent Historical Fiction novel It is a deep dive to the rawest of emotions of the human soul The fight to preserve and survive as opposed to the inclination of some to destroy all that is good and pure Before I continue, I must say that I will not engage in any discussion regarding political commentary or historical accuracy I m sure we re all educated, open minded readers that have studied our fair share of Fiction and Non Fiction on the nightmare that was the Soviet Era Each one of us has an opinion but we re here to talk about books not international relations Any relevant comments will be promptly deleted and dealt with.And as a novel, Child 44 is brilliant, in my opinion Leo is a high ranking officer of MGB but a personal quarrel with Vassili, another member of the State, leads him to forfeit the life he knew His sole purpose becomes the discovery of the man who commits crimes beyond all reason The murders and mutilations of children in the wintry forests across the country Leo s only ally is Raisa, his wife, while both are keeping secrets from each other So, everything comes down to a race against time and people whose false ideals demand absolute silence and blind obedienceDoing nothing is no guarantee we won t be arrested anyway I ve learnt that lesson The world of Child 44 is a living nightmare and, obviously, one has only to read the basics of Stalin s reign of terror to feel that the descriptions are not only tangible They are the Boschian History of a quite recent past Tom Rob Smith writes without cheap sensationalism but with raw, razor sharp language that is beautiful in its darkness This is a time and place where anything can cause an arrest and anyone can be accused of treason People are persecuted because their clients are Westerners Others are persecuted on the basis of unheard prayers despite their age or sex You pray therefore you want Stalin dead, off with you You are guilty unless proven innocence But if you re proven innocent, someone hasn t done their job right You can t be innocent but you can be an abomination that the State has to throw up in a society where there is no crimeIs that how you re able to sleep at night, by blanking events from your mind Leo and Raisa are masterfully crafted characters They are flawed but sympathetic They are controversial and ambiguous, a couple equally strong, determined, secretive and honest As honest as they can be given the era and the circumstances Smith succeeded in creating protagonists that are the driving forces of the story They are realistic, brave and intelligent without seeming fake Even Vassili and the culprit are believable They aren t caricatures and they retain the reader s interest This is what makes the difference between a proper villain and a cardboard figure I cannot say anything about the storyline, obviously, but I can tell you that the development of the mystery, the twists and implications as well as the conclusion compose a novel that is a work of Art in its genre The references to the hardships that people had to face on a daily basis, the fate of the accused, the small details about the fight of the Russian people against the Nazis make the narration evenvivid and enrich the historical background I particularly appreciated the reference to the Night Witches, the legendary female pilots who became the terror of the Nazi monsters during the Second World War If you don t know their story, make sure to check it out.I didn t know that this was the first book in a series and although I loved it to the point of losing my stop twice during my commute to work and back, I don t think I ll read the second installment soon I need Child 44 to sink in and I doubt its follow up will stand up to its predecessorThey listened to her cries But there was nothing unusual about this kind of grief and people did not watch for long My reviews can also be found on Smith offers a look into the Soviet Union of 1953, a dark, desperate place in which the state had become a manifestation of Stalin s paranoia The ideological need of the state to present the communist ideal as an actualized reality impaired its ability, its willingness to address bad things when they happened, for surely, in this workers paradise, such things would never happen Things like serial killers, things like crime of any sort Thus all crime is ideological and all criminals are enemies of the state This is not a family trip to Disney World.Tom Rob Smith image from his site Photo credit James HopkirkLeo is a member of the MGB, state security, and has spent his adult life doing what he has been told to do, doing what is expected, whether it is drinking the ideological Kool Aid or rousting suspected traitors at 4 in the morning for a nifty round of torture before they are disappeared Life is ok for him, professionally respected, married to a beautiful woman, able to access for his family goods and services not available to the less connected in this classless society But when a child is found murdered in Moscow, the child of a fellow MGB officer, and when he treats this crime the way he would any other, he is redirected from his safe path to a dangerous route, pushed along by a jealous work competitor Tom Hardy as Leo Demidov in Child 44 Photograph Summit Entertainment Allstar image from The GuardianThe big secret in Smith s tale is not that tough to figure out, but the up side of this fast paced thriller is the depiction of a stalag Soviet The characters are sometimes thin, but Child 44 does not pretend to be classic literature Leo changes, as do some around him and we get a roller coaster ride through a scary, dark place, learning things we might not have known about in an important time and place An entertaining and gripping read EXTRA STUFFLinks to the author s personal, Twitter, GR, and FB pagesFB has been inactive since June, 2018Here is a link to the wiki for the film release date 4 17 15 The film was not well received, getting only a 25% rating on Rotten Tomatoes 3.5 starsSet at the end of Stalin s reign in 1953 this book was an eye opener for me I just had no clue.Living in Russia at that time was when you lived in fear of that four a.m arrest Are you an enemy of the state It didn t really matter if you were truly innocent, once you had been named you might as well kiss it good bye.Leo Demidov is a former war hero who works for the MGB or state security force and had always done his job with no questioning of authority There was a joke, popular among officers, who could tell it with impunity A man and his wife were asleep in bed when they were woken by a sharp knock on the door Fearing the worst, they got up and kissed each other goodbye I love you, wife.I love you, husband.Having said their goodbyes they opened the front door Standing before them was a frantic neighbor, a corridor full of smoke and flames as high as the ceiling The man and his wife smiled with relief and thanked God it was just the building on fire.Then when Leo is forced with an impossible choice he is demoted and sent to a distant out breach He and his wife Raisa must start a different kind of life He then figures out there is a serial killer targeting children all over the place This blows my mind but there was supposedly no crime so that fact must be covered up and innocent people suffered At one point one hundred and fifty homosexual men are exposed and punished Just because of their homosexuality.This book is gritty and violent but it was an awakening to a point in history that I will not forget The writing in the book did distract me with all the conversations being done in italics but I still couldn t stop reading it Then the ending was not what I really wanted thus the 3.5 stars, but I m interested in reading the rest of this series.There is soon to be a movie based on this book starring Tom Hardy I hope they do this book justice. Child 44, Tom Rob SmithChild 44 published in 2008 is a thriller novel by British writer Tom Rob Smith This is the first novel in a trilogy featuring former MGB Agent Leo Demidov, who investigates a series of gruesome child murders in Joseph Stalin s Soviet Union This novel, the first in a trilogy, takes inspiration from the crimes of Andrei Chikatilo, also known as the Rostov Ripper, the Butcher of Rostov, and the Red Ripper Chikatilo was convicted of and executed for committing 52 murders in the Soviet Union, though his crimes occurred after the Stalin era In addition to highlighting the problem of Soviet era criminality in a state where there is no crime , the novel explores the paranoia of the age, the education system, the secret police apparatus, orphanages, homosexuality in the USSR, and mental hospitals The second and third books in the trilogy, titled The Secret Speech April 2009 and Agent 6 July 2011 , respectively, also feature the protagonist Leo Demidov and his wife, Raisa 2012 44 1389 455 9789641910923 20 4452. Rating 4 of fiveThe Book Report In the Socialist Worker s Paradise that is Stalin s 1953 Russia, There Is No Crime Sorry, I know that all the caps are like having your lashes tweezed, but this is the Soviet Union we re talking about, and everything is A Slogan The proletariat is blissfully free of the Capitalist Curse Called Crime.They reafraid of the State than they are each other With good reason There are traitors, informants, everywhere Even in your own bed, you are never safe from the danger of being outed as a bad Socialist with the least, most offhand criticism of the Paradise And death comes, whether quickly or slowly, to those whom the Cthulhu of the State Security apparatus notices.Leo Demidov, then, shouldn t have a job as a criminal investigator In fact, he doesn t He s a well rewarded apparatchik who, in the course of interrogating his fellow citizens, notices a disturbing pattern of murderswhich do not officially existtaking place with no effort, or a completely inadequate effort, being made to see the forest for the trees Leo s life changes, from privileged servant of the regime to lone wolf investigator to vengeful assassin, over the course of the story His solution to the crimes being committed is chilling in its outlines and satisfying in its conclusion.My Review I don t believe I ve ever read so much text in italics before, and I don t think I ve ever read a thriller with so little direct action before, either The dialogue, what little there is of it, is italicized there are few places where anyone addresses anyone else forthan a sentence or two Husband Leo and wife Raisa have one that s all, one intimate conversation, which is a new low count in my thriller reading.But what a wallop this book packs I can t imagine the agonies of researching and writing such a grisly book, given that most writers are sensitive flowers whose emotional lives are very much up on the surface of their lives.Tom Rob Smith wrote this awful book about awful people doing awful things in an awful country to amuse and entertain us He succeeds in this, though sometimes I wanted to wash my eyes out with Clorox The main character, Leo, is a nasty apparatchik in the State Security forces under Stalin He s a man who has put his sense of rightness, fairness and justice into the hands of vile, unworthy leaders, and turned off his moral compass The reasons that it turns back on, and the results of Leo s single minded pursuit of a child murderer, aregoshthey re right and yet, given the 400pp we ve spent being plunged into foul, icy sewage, again and again, they re weak tea.Leo s past leads him to a future that I can t call bright, but at least he s able to do the right thing sometimes I don t think this book is for everyone, but I think it s really, really interesting and quite exciting and well worth the attention of the non squeamish This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. 4 Stars Right from the start, Tom Rob Smith introduces us to an inhumane existence of starvation and brutality under Stalin s rule You can trust no one..no one Life is Fear Life is Torture Innocence does not matter Life is a matter of Efficiency,important than Truth.And while living the unimaginable, there is a mysterious child killer on the loose that Security Officer, Leo Demidov is determined to stop, even after his demotion, even after mind altering drugs, even when he is on the run, and even to the detriment of his own life and family Clues lead to a place difficult to go, but where answers are found.Great mystery filled with secrets, intrigue andthan one twist along the way.plus a few gross out moments RecommendUpdate September 26, 2015 Watched the movie and all I can say is that I wish I would have spent the two plus hours reading If I had not read the novel, I would not have understood half of what was transpiring before my eyes Do not recommend. Verdade ou Fic o Se h livros capazes de transmitir qu o t nue a linha que separa a realidade da fic o, este um deles.A hist ria come a no per odo do Holodomor uma poca de fome induzida pelo pr prio Estaline popula o da Ucr nia numa altura em que o Estado se apropriou de toda a produ o do campesinato ucraniano.Alegava se que tal medida se enquadrava no projecto de coletiviza o agr cola da URSS Contudo, n o era mais que uma puni o ao nacionalismo rebelde dos ucranianos que redundou num exterm nio de 5 milh es Segundo consta, os esfomeados e desesperados ucranianos, chegaram a envolver se em atos de canibalismo Inspirado nesse h rrido per odo da Hist ria, o autor oferece nos uma narrativa chocante, mas deveras cred vel Quanto componente de thriller que aqui encontramos tamb m ela, radicada na verdade Um dos mais famosos serial killers de sempre Rostov Ripper era de nacionalidade russa, e as suas v timas , na sua maioria crian as, foram al m da meia centena Consta que a investiga o criminal foi largamente prejudicada porque, supostamente, os serial killers eram inexistentes na URSS Tratava se dum regime pol tico perfeito, sem lugar para o crime Os assassinos eram uma praga exclusiva dos regimes capitalistas Esta proximidade com a R ssia de Estaline, torna esta leitura did ctica e altamente recomend vel S o 5 estrelas bem merecidas Nota A convers o desta obra em filme, que ocorreu em 2015, foi banida na URSS.Apesar dos crimes cometidos, a atual R ssia n o reconhece a culpabilidade de Estaline Os assassinatos em massa o genoc dio foram encarados como um mal necess rio Segundo os Comp ndios de Hist ria, tratou se duma medida imprescind vel constru o duma R ssia leal e imaculada sob uma perspectiva de disciplina executiva essa a verdade hist rica que vai passando de gera o em gera o