Updated: Thursday, 25 Mar 2010, 4:36 PM CDT
Published : Monday, 08 Mar 2010, 12:34 PM CST
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.
Tom Rob Smith is a N.YTimes bestselling author and Child 44 (Grand Central Pub.) has been long listed for The Man Booker Award. Set in Stalin's Soviet Union; the premise is that all citizens are taken care of and that they live free from fear of ordinary crime. The problem lies in fear of the state itself. Any disloyalties, perceived or other-wise, lands you in the gulags. A fate worse than death. Millions of innocents are routinely sentenced to death for infractions as simple as owning the wrong book. Now add a serial killer on the loose that the government cannot admit exists and still save face. Remember, ordinary crime is nonexistent. The state will stop at nothing to prevent this information from reaching the public including denouncing and punishing its own investigators. This is a well researched, gut wrenching account of the lengths the Stalin regime go to preserve their 'utopian' society.
—review by Virginia Kress, The Reader's Loft