Sunday, September 07, 2008

Why Child 44 should be on your to-read list

It has been a LONG time since I was bowled over by a book for both its story, characters and writing. But as soon as I purchased Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith, the wait for this kind of story was over.
Child 44, a thriller about a Stalinist era MGB agent who begins to lose faith in the system after he begins investigating a series of child murders, was inspired by a real Soviet serial killer, Andrei Chikatilo.
The way Smith writes has been described by many as "propulsive" and I agree. Once you start reading, you are drawn in at once and it never lets up. One of the story features not often elaborated on by other reviewers of this tale is the heart-aching love story that churns beneath the thriller plot. It is astonishing how contemporary, how real, Smith portrays the bittersweet marriage underneath the political struggles in paranoid, Stalinist Russia, making it one of the most satisfying elements of the book for me. It made me care about the characters personal - and political - plights. And that's the true mastery of this author - he gives you unforgettable characters in the midst of both thriller and history lesson. Most authors settle for merely the later two elements. I suspect this will be one of the grounding elements of the film, set to begin production in 2009. Who to cast? I envisioned the latest Bond actor - Daniel Craig as Leo Demidov and Rachel Wiesz as his wife, Raisa.
Here's a clip about the story from the author himself.

Visit to read a chapter of Janeology, a psychological thriller exploring the intersection of nature and nurture in one Jane Nelson: wife, mother and murderess.

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