Child 44, the first in a trilogy, is a thriller set in Soviet Russia in the early 1950s featuring former war hero Leo Demidov, now a loyal member of the MGB, the USSR’s secret police service. As an officer, Demidov enjoys a relatively comfortable life in exchange for his loyalty to the State, loyalty that is challenged when Demidov is assigned the task of investigating his wife for being a potential spy.
Following the investigation of his wife, Demidov betrays the State by investigating a series of murders and is in search of a serial killer of children. The official State position, since Soviet Russia is supposed to be a completely peaceful and crime-free place, is that none of these murders are related. Demidov cannot look past the obvious connection and recruits help to find the killer.
Each chapter offers a new twist to keep the reader wanting more culminating in a somewhat surprising ending. Certainly a great offering for lovers of thrillers. This well researched novel was a contender for the Man Booker Prize (kind of a big deal) in 2008 and is certainly worth a read. I look forward to the second in the series, The Secret Speech.
Up next: Little Bee by Chris Cleave for my book club.