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Contact me at Mom25dogs@gmail.com

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith

I really enjoyed this book. It's about a MGB investigator in Russia. Leo Demidov was a good looking, young war hero now working for Russia's MGB in 1953. He is married to a beautiful woman and has a nice apartment (considering Russia). He has it all, until it all seems to go South on him when a young boy's body is found. Four yr old Arkady is the son of one of the men under him. The child is found brutally murdered and eviscerated on the train tracks close to their apartment. But to admit a crime, murder especially, is to admit that the Communist government isn't working. Everyone is equal, therefore everyone is happy and content. Because everyone is equal, happy and content, there is no crime. Only capitalist countries have crime. It's so ridiculous that it's laughable, but it really is the way Russia was ruled for 70 years of Communism. So the Russian government covers it up and says that the child was hit by a train as he played on the tracks. And Leo is sent to his co-worker to make him understand that this is how it has to be. Any more talk of murder will end in his family's arrest and sentencing to hard labor, exile, prison, or execution. Up to now, Leo has believed the Communist Party propaganda. He grew up under it and has been successful under it. But it's beginning to crack and then shatters into a million pieces as he is the target of revenge from one of his co-workers. Accusations are made about his wife and he is ordered to find evidence of her traitorship. He doesn't find any so they accuse him of collaborating with her. He is demoted and sent to a remote industrial town to work with the local police (who, supposedly, don't have anything to do since there is no crime). Now that he is not in a powerful job, his wife doesn't have to be afraid of him and lets him know how much she has hated him. He is rejected and abandoned by his country, his beliefs, his wife and sees how hollow it all was. And, then another body is found just like little Arkady's but this time in the town he has been exiled to.

How Leo comes to terms with his life AND finds this serial killer makes for a good story. It's different. You also learn how bad things were in Soviet Russia. I love to get involved in a story, get on the edge of my seat AND find I've learned some things or seen a different perspective. I recommend this read.

The only thing I found was a mistake. On pg 200, the victim is listed as having been" raped before or after death". But the author makes a point several other times to say the bodies weren't raped. This is a mistake that should have been found in editing. But it doesn't take away from the story or action.

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