Stalin's Soviet Union strives to be a paradise for its workers, providing for all of their needs. One of its fundamental pillars is that its citizens live free from the fear of ordinary crime and criminals.
But in this society, millions do live in fear ... of the State. Death is a whisper away. The mere suspicion of ideological disloyalty - owning a book from the decadent West, the wrong word at the wrong time - sends millions of innocents into the Gulags or to their executions. Defending the system from its citizens is the MGB, the State Security Force. And no MGB officer is more courageous, conscientious, or idealistic than Leo Demidov.
(back cover of audio book)
Leo Demidov finds that his loyalty is questioned, as is that of his wife's, supposedly due to an act of revenge by a fellow officer of the MGB. Leo and his wife lose everything but are spared their lives. They are moved to another community where Leo now finds himself confronted with the murder of a young child that seems vaguely familiar to one he originally believed was accidental and thus disregarded while he was a MGB officer. Leo begins to investigate; however, during his investigation, he not only is on the run from the State but also risks his life, his wife's life, and the lives of many others along his path. Discovering the murderer of over forty children will test Leo's skills and loyalty as well as force him to confront some secrets and memories from his past.
I loved this thriller, Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith, from beginning to end! Listening to the audio book was even more pleasurable because I did not have to worry about the pronunciation of the Russian names or towns and I did not become bogged down by the historical descriptions that were very important to the story. Somewhat violent at times, the story made me feel a bit uncomfortable but rightfully so, as these details are a portrait of what life was like during the story's period of time. Child 44 is the first book of a trilogy, one of which I now plan to continue reading. I very much recommend Smith's Child 44.