Tuesday, August 05, 2008
67. "Child 44" - Tom Rob Smith
This novel has been compared to John le Carre's, "The Spy Who Came in From the Cold." It's not nearly as intriguing, and much more mainstream than I expected from a Man Booker 2008 long lister.
Leo Stepanovich is working for the MGB in 1953 USSR. He has arrested more people than he can remember, and it isn't until a co-worker's son is killed - and Leo must force the family to believe it was an accident - that he begins to question the loyalties of those around him.
Demoted, depressed, he and his wife, Raisa, are sent to a small town. While there, Leo finds the body of another child. The case is similar to his co-worker's, and Leo begins to unravel the mystery of the killer.
Unlike most whodunits, it is obvious from the beginning of the story that the murderer is __________. The red herrings come from the trust and/or lack thereof that was built upon a Stalinist USSR.
While the historical aspect interested me, the overall feel of the book was average: average writing, average characterization, average content. It reads like a movie, and the author has already sold film rights to Ridley Scott. A perfect vacation or beach read, but not a book that should made the Man Booker short list.
3.25 out of 5.0 Russian Turkeys.