Child 44, by Tom Rob Smith

Set in 1950s Russia, this has an secret-service agent turned police detective trying to solve a set of child murders.

I think this has been pretty well reviewed, but I found it a bit of a slog. I was irritated by the way that the author repeatedly referred to methamphetamine (which the characters use to give themselves a kick of energy) as "narcotic". In one instance someone is said to be "buzzing with narcotic energy".

The whole thing felt quite gloomy, in a Nineteen Eighty Four-ish way, with little trust and constant worry of being betrayed. Most of the attention was on the detective, who was in serious danger of being denounced as an enemy spy for most of the book: the serial-killer thing wasn't very interesting, and if I remember correctly just turned out to be your typical loony with a weird childhood trauma that made him want to re-enact some bizarre ritual.

I see this is the first of a trilogy, but I'm not particularly motivated to read the others. I guess I would be interested to see the film.

Completed : 9-February-2017 (audiobook)

[nickoh] [2017 books] [books homepage]