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Posts Tagged ‘Soviet Union

Child 44 – Tom Rob Smith

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As a Criminologist myself, I have subconsciously kept away from thriller and crime books.  Being in a book club however has meant that I have had to read books that I would otherwise side-line.  So it was with reluctance that I read Child 44.  I also studied and later taught world history so this book brought together many of my interests.  It is a book about a serial killer in Stalin’s Soviet Union, a time and a place where the mere idea of crimes existing was taboo and unaccepted, being deemed existing only in Capitalist systems.  The plot weaves from one character to the next and I did warm to the disgraced MGB policeman who tries desperately to get to the truth.  His marriage is a failure, based on his wife’s fear of him and in the end, he is very much an ‘ordinary man’ caught up in a political ideology that was the basis of the Soviet Union at that time.  There is enough suspense in the plot to keep the pages turning although for me, the gruesome murders of young children was disturbing, even though this is a book based on a true serial killer.  In the end, the book took me right back to one of the first essay’s I had to write for my undergraduate course, and one which I have endlessly debated over the years in my different classes since: ‘what makes someone a serial killer?’