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Child 44 Hardcover – Apr 29 2008

4.1 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (April 29 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446402389
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446402385
  • Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 3.2 x 23.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 590 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #269,475 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Set in the Soviet Union in 1953, this stellar debut from British author Smith offers appealing characters, a strong plot and authentic period detail. When war hero Leo Stepanovich Demidov, a rising star in the MGB, the State Security force, is assigned to look into the death of a child, Leo is annoyed, first because this takes him away from a more important case, but, more importantly, because the parents insist the child was murdered. In Stalinist Russia, there's no such thing as murder; the only criminals are those who are enemies of the state. After attempting to curb the violent excesses of his second-in-command, Leo is forced to investigate his own wife, the beautiful Raisa, who's suspected of being an Anglo-American sympathizer. Demoted and exiled from Moscow, Leo stumbles onto more evidence of the child killer. The evocation of the deadly cloud-cuckoo-land of Russia during Stalin's final days will remind many of Gorky Park and Darkness at Noon, but the novel remains Smith's alone, completely original and absolutely satisfying. Rights sold in more than 20 countries. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

"This is a truly remarkable debut novel. CHILD 44 is a rare blend of great insight, excellent writing, and a refreshingly original story. Favorable comparisons to Gorky Park are inevitable, but CHILD 44 is in a class of its own." (Nelson DeMille, NY TIMES bestselling author of WILD FIRE)

"CHILD 44 telegraphs the talent and class of its writer from its opening pages, transporting you back to the darkest days of postwar Soviet Russia with assured efficiency and ruthlessly drawing you into its richly atmospheric and engrossing tale." (Raymond Khoury, NY TIMES bestselling author of THE LAST TEMPLAR and SANCTUARY)

"Achingly suspenseful, full of feeling and the twists and turns that one expects from le Carré at his best, CHILD 44 is a tale as fierce as any Russian wolf. It grabs you by the throat and never lets you go." (Robert Towne, Academy Award-winning screenwriter of CHINATOWN)

"CHILD 44 is a remarkable debut novel-inventive, edgy and relentlessly gripping from the first page to the last." (Scott Turow)

"An amazing debut-rich, different, fully formed, mature . . . and thrilling." (Lee Child, NY TIMES bestselling author of BAD LUCK AND TROUBLE)

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
I really liked this book.

It was dark. It was gritty. At times it was downright disturbing. But this book is a great mystery.

Smith uses this novel to take us deep into the historical and political nightmare of Stalin's Russia to catch a killer. And with incredible imagery delves into the hardships and cruelty endured by the people of that time.

It is an intriguing, interesting, well written story with lots of twists and turns. Don't miss it. It's hard to put down.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I didn't finish this book. I have lived in the Soviet Union in the 1950s, and the author obviously hasn't. Not only many of the situations he invented could not have existed, but he has not bothered to learn the difference between Russian last names and patronymics. If you don't know much about Soviet Union, such problems might not bother you, but please don't think you are learning much about that period in that country from this book.
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Format: Paperback
A page turner for sure but I question the historical accuracy of it. I suspect it's waaay overdone. I enjoy reading yes, to be entertained but also to learn something about people and different places so that I can be a better man after I finish reading it. When it sensationalizes and exaggerates history it does no one a favour.

Speaking of sensationalizing, like too much we see around us now, it has an obsession with glorified violence and tries to out-do the next book over in its horror.
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Format: Hardcover
Surprisingly good. It's tight and fast-paced and gives a glimpse into a repressed culture in a repressed era. It could have had the feel of a history or anti-soviet lesson but managed to avoid that lecture-y feel.

Coming from our modern liberal world, it's hard not to wonder how anyone lived in that kind of repression, and how anyone managed to get anything done...

It's fiction but how much of it could have been true? Were/are there serial killers in countries that weren't/aren't caught because the government doesn't acknowledge their existence? Will we ever know?
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Format: Paperback
Good book. Really enjoyed it.

The author presents a solid mystery wrapped up in the enigma of Stalinist Russia -- where murder and crime doesn't officially exist. Although Stalin himself murdered millions.

I thought the story tied together well although the book plodded a bit in the middle. The author sets up sequels which I will have to check out.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This was a really good mystery set in a historical setting. The twists were great and the end was satisfying to say the least. It kept me busy every free minute I had. The story's setting is just post WW2 and so a lot of the history is not that distant. The mystery has so many layers that it kept me clicking my page turner...carpal tunnel thumb?
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Format: Hardcover
The following are true; Mr. Smith is a talented young writer who has written a very good first book. He did his homework and lists as resources authors who have among them a winner of The Nobel Prize.
Reality check; he may someday enter the lists of writers that include John LeCarrre and other notables of this genre however he is not there at present and based on what I have read of this man I think he would be the last to suggest it. This work is a solid debut; it is not the greatest work since Guttenberg began his printing press.
I don’t know where the line is drawn between fiction and historical fiction. The author moved the events that truly took place in the 1980’s to Stalin’s 1950’s “when the stakes were much higher for someone who dared to risk opposing the State”. That may be an understatement as Stalin presided over one of the most murderous, repressive cults of personality in History.
The story required a primary character that went through an about face in his beliefs and personal conduct. I found this to be a stretch based on the events in the book. As part of The MGB Leo Demidov zealously and actively engaged in horrific behavior based upon his State-Based conditioning. I found his change as a character too extreme to accept as a reader even though the author used Khrushchev’s arrival to buttress the closing events of the book. I thought it made for an ending that was a bit too bright for 1950’s Russia.
I really did enjoy the unwinding of the motivation for the serial killer. I cannot say much as it would spoil the tale for readers to come. I found it unique among the stories of its type. And unlike others I did not find there were any contrived gotcha moments or gratuitous twists in the book.
The book is an enjoyable read. It is also the author’s first book. He is likely to write and grow and give readers finer work as he develops his talent. Talking of any author’s first work in superlatives is unfair and unrealistic.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Great reading and enjoyed the plot twist. A little violent in places. Hard to believe that people actually endured this type of a life if you can call it that!
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