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Extended Audio Sample Child 44 Audiobook, by Tom Rob Smith Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (18,570 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Tom Rob Smith Narrator: Dennis Boutsikaris Publisher: Hachette Book Group Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Related: The Child 44 Trilogy Release Date: April 2008 ISBN: 9781600241604
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It is a society that is, officially, a paradise. Superior to the decadent West, Stalin’s Soviet Union is a haven for its citizens, providing for all of their needs: education, health care, security. In exchange, all that is required is their hard work, and their loyalty and faith to the Soviet State.

Leo Demidov knows this better than most. A rising, prominent officer in the State Security force, Leo is a former war hero whose only ambition is to serve his country. To defend this workers’ paradise—and to guarantee a secure life for his parents, and for his wife, Raisa—Leo has spent his career guarding against threats to the State. Ideological crimes—crimes of thought, crimes of disloyalty, crimes against the revolution—are forcefully suppressed, without question.

And then the impossible happens. A different kind of criminal—a murderer—is on the loose, killing at will. At the same time, Leo finds himself demoted and denounced by his enemies, all but sentenced to death. The only way to salvage what remains of his life is to uncover this criminal. But in a society that is officially paradise, it’s a crime against the state to suggest that a murderer—much less a serial killer—is in their midst. To save his life and the lives of his family, Leo must confront the vast resources and reach of the security forces with only Raisa remaining at his side, to find and stop a criminal that the State won’t admit even exists.

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Quotes & Awards

  • Child 44 is a remarkable debut novel—inventive, edgy, and relentlessly gripping from the first page to the last.”

    Scott Turow, New York Times bestselling author of Ordinary Heroes

  • Child 44 not only is one of the best mysteries of this year, but it is one of the most remarkable and original debuts in recent years. Set in post WWII Stalinist Russia, Child 44 works equally well as a hard-boiled novel, a political thriller, a regional mystery and an emotional, even romantic story about a couple rediscovering each other. It is at once gritty, chilling, depressing, hopeful and, above all, fascinating...Dennis Boutsikaris is the perfect reader for this story. Boutsikaris, who frequently shows up on Law & Order, captures the story's angst, nuances and accents. Sun Sentinel
  • Sensational...crackling...Smith's prose is propulsive...his real genius is his careful potting...an elaborate mystery. Entertainment Weekly
  • One of the rare pleasures of the book-reviewing trade is first hearing all sorts of advance hype about a novel and then finding out that every word was true. Chicago Tribune
  • Child 44 telegraphs the talent and class of its writer from its opening pages, transporting you back to the darkest days of postwar Soviet Russia with assured efficiency and ruthlessly drawing you into its richly atmospheric and engrossing tale.”

    Raymond Khoury, New York Times bestselling author of The Last Templar and Sanctuary

  • “A rare blend of great insight, excellent writing, and a refreshingly original story…Child 44 is in a class of its own.”

    Nelson DeMille, New York Times bestselling author of Wild Fire

  • “Few novels…have touched so eloquently on the complex moral climate of life in the Soviet Union while delivering all the pleasures of a brilliant airport read.”

    Guardian (London)

  • “One of the rare pleasures of the book-reviewing trade is first hearing all sorts of advance hype about a novel and then finding out that every word was true.”

    Chicago Tribune

  • “Sensational…Smith captures the rhythm of day-to-day paranoia in Stalinist Russia and the ways that personal jealousies can balloon into ruthless vendettas…His real genius is his careful plotting. Like a matryoshka, the clues to his elaborate mystery are unveiled in sudden bursts, with another doll-like surprise nesting just beneath the surface of the latest revelation.”

    Entertainment Weekly

  • “Stellar…The evocation of the deadly cloud-cuckoo-land of Russia during Stalin’s final days will remind many of Gorky Park and Darkness at Noon, but the novel remains Smith’s alone, completely original and absolutely satisfying.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “Dennis Boutsikaris expertly conveys the fear and paranoia that permeates Smith’s outstanding debut novel…Using Russian accents to their full advantage, Boutsikaris infuses his characters’ dialogue with a deep sense of downtrodden melancholia. His staid, deliberate reading captures the soul-numbing oppressiveness of life under a totalitarian regime, as well as one man’s desperate fight against it in order to do what’s right.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred audio review)

  • Winner of the 2009 Audie Award
  • Winner of the 2009 Barry Award for Best First Novel
  • Longlisted for the 2008 Man Booker Prize
  • Winner of the 2008 CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger
  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • A USA Today Bestseller
  • Winner of the 2009 International Thriller Writers Award for Best First Novel
  • A 2008 Los Angeles Times Book Prize Nominee for Mystery/Thriller
  • A 2009 Anthony Award Finalist for Best First Novel
  • A 2009 Dilys Award Finalist

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Eli Heriges | 2/20/2014

    " Thought this book was an awesome read! Couldn't put it down:) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dara Mccarroll harms | 2/14/2014

    " Wow! So many twists and turns throughout the book. It is a page-turner! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alan Winterman | 2/4/2014

    " Great book, really evocative of Soviet times. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rita | 1/31/2014

    " I'm not sure what to say about this book. I found the first half alternating between boring and disturbing. I don't always shy away from books about tragic human conditions but child murders and the brutality of Stalinist USSR were not pleasant evening reading and the characters not likeable. Toward the second half of the book the story becomes a page turner, I found myself rooting for the characters and the plot twists were surprising and exciting. That being said, I'm not really motivated to keep reading the next book in the trilogy...but you never know. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Amanda | 1/30/2014

    " Did not think I was going to like this book. It took me about 75 pages to really get in to it and I loved it! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Bkarley | 1/24/2014

    " I think I would give this a solid 3.5 stars if I could. It was interesting to learn about the happenings and politics inside Communist Russia. It was a bit predicable. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Miriam | 1/23/2014

    " I really enjoyed the story and was immersed in the paranoid, "trust no-one" soviet era. Part thriller, part mystery - the story moved along without much introspection from the narrator. I did a tiny eye-roll at the ending. Fun, quick read, though. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jon | 1/4/2014

    " If you're going to bore the reader, you have to pay him off. The more you bore him, the higher the payment needs to be. This book paid pretty well, but no matter how many times I counted my change, I was still short eleven cents. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 J | 12/25/2013

    " Edge of my seat. Complicated characters. Enjoyed reading it so much! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Bethj | 12/16/2013

    " Great, great book. I quite liked the characters and the twists and turns in the story. Looking forward to ready the next installment. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Pattij | 11/24/2013

    " I am currently reading this first novel by tom rob smith and thoroughly enjoying it. Interesting plot and good characters. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rbyothers | 9/27/2013

    " Learned of the book from Brian Yothers. Never had heard of the author. It was a real page turner. Although it is fiction, it gives an idea of how many people had to live their lives in years past. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Celeste | 9/15/2013

    " I don't normally enjoy Soviet Union milieued books but Child 44 is well written and captivating. Very good "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Alana | 8/25/2013

    " Would have been a 4 but for the last couple of chapters. I found the murderer's identity and motive weakened the entire book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sheetal | 6/3/2013

    " Great read! This book was very different from the books that I normally read, it was a nice surprise. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Carol Barrett | 1/15/2013

    " Mysteries are not on top of my to-be-read list, but this author has changed my mind. He has also made me a bit paranoid in the process. I do not know why I picked this read, but I am glad I did. Now I must read the other two in this series! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 The Reading Cove Book Club ❧ | 9/9/2012

    " Bonus Book - March 2012 "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Niki | 8/2/2012

    " I liked this book and the story coming from the Stalin Soviet Union not something I have read much of. It was interesting from the start to try and figure out who were the real good guys and the real bad guys and who was really responsible for the mass murders. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Pawan Gadia | 6/4/2012

    " Amazing book and the plot gets revealed only after half the book is over and is stunning. It also teaches a lesson not to loose faith in adversity and face it and you will win. Highly recommended... Thank you Raghu for recommending this.. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bayneeta | 4/10/2012

    " Re-reading for book discussion. Okay, on re-reading I find some of the plot far-fetched, but the action is riveting and the sense of time and place (1950s Russia) is exceptional. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sara | 3/13/2012

    " Very dark and depressing, however subject I.e cold war Russia was a dark, depressing time. Have read all books in the series and 'enjoyed' them all. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kim Weinbach | 2/25/2012

    " I found this book in my grandmothers closet when we were packing up her things after she died. No one knew where it came from but I realllllly liked it. The description doesn't even begin to tell you what this story is really about. I hope he has more books bc I look forward to reading them. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 D. | 5/21/2011

    " Outstanding. A great story and a slice of life in the former USSR. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lladroluv | 5/17/2011

    " I enjoyed it. Russia at the end of Stallin reign. If something is written down on official paper--its true no matter what!!! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sarah | 5/10/2011

    " Not my usual thing, but with nothing else available on holiday, this was remarkably entertaining and not badly written. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Carol | 4/28/2011

    " Yes the book is fast-paced and intriguing, even suspenseful most of the way. And it's believable. Until the end. The end to me was just a little too pat, too convenient, too happy. This is not a warm-fuzzy book, why did the author gives us a warm-fuzzy ending? "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 alana | 4/26/2011

    " The plot of this book starts out interesting -- a state security officer finds himself being investigated and questioned, and rethinks his loyalties -- and it drew a vivid picture of 50s Russia, but the plot gets so ridiculous by the end that it's hard to stay with it. "

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About the Author
Author Tom Rob Smith

Tom Rob Smith graduated from Cambridge University in 2001 and lives in London. His first novel, Child 44, was a New York Times bestseller and an international success. Among its many honors, Child 44 won the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award and was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize. He wrote the follow up to Child 44, The Secret Speech, in 2009, and the third installment in the series, Agent 6, was released in 2011. Smith lives in Central London.

About the Narrator

Dennis Boutsikaris has won two Obie Awards, one for his performance in Sight Unseen, and played Mozart in Amadeus on Broadway. Among his films are W.Batteries Not Included, The Dream Team, and Boys on the Side. He is a recipient of both Audie and Earphones Awards and has read over 140 audiobooks.