A Chilling Thriller Set in Stalin’s Soviet Union
In Tom Rob Smith’s Child 44, a high ranking member of Stalin’s Soviet Union realizes that the all-powerful state’s actions are not all that they seem.
The opening of Tom Rob Smith’s historical crime thriller, Child 44, is chilling, heartbreaking, and imminently memorable. Never before, or since, have I been moved to tears by a book so quickly—you can’t finish the first chapter and not immediately turn the page.
Not only does it set the scene for a series of brutal murders at the center of the story, it also vividly brings to life the desperate lives and hardships of Stalin’s Soviet Union. It’s a fascinating period and place, and it heightens the stakes for the story’s protagonist, Leo Demidov, an unflinching and high ranking member of the state.
As Demidov realizes that the all-powerful state’s actions are not all that they seem, watching his moral transformation is no less engrossing than the rest of the mystery. (Also, if you listen to the audiobook, Dennis Boutsikaris does a killer job!)
Tom Rob Smith-the author whose debut, Child 44, has been called “brilliant” (Chicago Tribune), “remarkable” (Newsweek) and “sensational” (Entertainment Weekly)-returns with an intense, suspenseful new novel: a story where the sins of the past threaten to destroy the present, where families must overcome unimaginable obstacles to save their loved ones, and where hope for a better tomorrow is found in the most unlikely of circumstances . . .
The Secret Speech
Soviet Union, 1956. Stalin is dead, and a violent regime is beginning to fracture-leaving behind a society where the police are the criminals, and the criminals are innocent. A secret speech composed by Stalin’s successor Khrushchev is distributed to the entire nation. Its message: Stalin was a tyrant. Its promise: The Soviet Union will change.
Facing his own personal turmoil, former state security officer Leo Demidov is also struggling to change. The two young girls he and his wife Raisa adopted have yet to forgive him for his part in the death of their parents. They are not alone. Now that the truth is out, Leo, Raisa, and their family are in grave danger from someone consumed by the dark legacy of Leo’s past career. Someone transformed beyond recognition into the perfect model of vengeance.
From the streets of Moscow in the throes of political upheaval, to the Siberian gulags, and to the center of the Hungarian uprising in Budapest, The Secret Speech is a breathtaking, epic novel that confirms Tom Rob Smith as one of the most exciting new authors writing today.
Tom Rob Smith’s debut, Child 44, was an immediate sensation and marked the arrival of a major new talent in contemporary fiction. Named one of top 100 thrillers of all time by NPR, it hit bestseller lists around the world, won the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award and the ITW Thriller Award for Best First Novel, and was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize.
In this spellbinding new novel, Tom Rob Smith probes the tenuous border between love and obsession as Leo Demidov struggles to untangle the threads of a devastating conspiracy that shatters everything he holds dear. Deftly capturing the claustrophobic intensity of the Cold War-era Soviet Union, it’s at once a heart-pounding thriller and a richly atmospheric novel of extraordinary depth….
Leo Demidov is no longer a member of Moscow’s secret police. But when his wife, Raisa, and daughters Zoya and Elena are invited on a “Peace Tour” to New York City, he is immediately suspicious.
Forbidden to travel with his family and trapped on the other side of the world, Leo watches helplessly as events in New York unfold and those closest to his heart are pulled into a web of political conspiracy and betrayal-one that will end in tragedy.
In the horrible aftermath, Leo demands only one thing: to investigate the killer who destroyed his family. His request is summarily denied. Crippled by grief and haunted by the need to find out exactly what happened on that night in New York, Leo takes matters into his own hands. It is a quest that will span decades, and take Leo around the world–from Moscow, to the mountains of Soviet-controlled Afghanistan, to the backstreets of New York–in pursuit of the one man who knows the truth: Agent 6.
Lukas Fauset’s first career ambition was “detective” but gave up some point after realizing it took a lot more work than putting on a wide-brimmed hat and trench coat. His fallback ambition of “spy” was similarly derailed, but as a Digital Product Developer he, at the very least, still gets to work with code.