“Better to let ten innocent men suffer than one spy escape”
Title: Child 44
Author: Tom Rob Smith
Publication details: Simon & Schuster UK Ltd, 2011. (First published 2008)
The gist of it:
- Soviet Russia. Death, doom and despair.
- And suspicion. Lots of suspicion.
- 44 children murdered. Officer Leo pokes around. Ruffles feathers.
- Mr. and Mrs. Demidov make a run. For their lives.
- Officer Leo continues poking. For justice.
- Murder mystery is solved. Soviet Russia still soviet. Can’t win them all.
Child 44 a mixture of Argo meets Shutter Island, with the thrill and suspense of Argo and the twists and turns of Shutter Island.
It’s a roller-coaster ride. You’re swooping, you’re falling, you’re shielding your eyes and screaming for your life…then you finally reach the safety of level ground. Before you have a chance to catch your breath, the tracks are rising again, and you prepare yourself for another thrilling plunge. Will you survive the drop this time…?
The plot was entirely engaging, with one twist soon followed by another. The book was fast-paced, but in every positive meaning of the term. There were many scenes where I was holding my breath wondering if Leo and his wife were going to make it out unharmed, then breathing out a sigh of relief when they did (usually with repercussions).
*starts flipping through pages rapidly*
*Heart rate starts slowing down*
“What a ride…”
Repeat process till end of book.
The characters were so flawed, so human, and you had to respect their decisions given the circumstances they were living in. The bad guys were scum, obviously, but not without reason. In such an oppressive environment, it was only normal that everyone was looking out for themselves first. There was one scene where a relatively ‘good’ lady squealed on Leo for the sake of her family and even though I was screaming “WHY LADY WHY??”, I also grudgingly understood that she was scared and desperate.
There are two train scenes in this book (as far as I can remember), one is near the start, where Leo is tracking down his wife. The other is near the end, where Leo and his wife are making their getaway. I’m not going to reveal anything, lest spoilers, but I will say that those two scenes were heart-stopping, adrenaline pumping, thrill rides across an active volcano. I was internally screaming “OH MY GOD!!” as I read through the pages, because everything was just so suspenseful! And you wanted the characters to survive so badly!
GTFO LEO. NAOW.
Well, the layout was similar; I can’t even begin to do justice to the writing.
Recommends it to: Anyone. This book is fast-paced, thrilling and packs a powerful message and emotional punch. Repeatedly.
The only reason I didn’t watch the show, starring Tom Hardy nonetheless, was because reading gore is one thing, but I just can’t stomach watching it. The setting is Soviet Russia, so you can only imagine how graphic the scenes are going to get.