Child 44 - Tom Rob Smith


Child 44 is a book about a serial killer in 1950s Russia and the investigation to uncover his identity.

I enjoyed reading the book and give it a 4 out of 5.

Here are some of my thought’s on the book -

Not a Cat and Mouse Story

My first impression was that this book would be purely about the detective being able to figure out who killed the kids. I didn’t think this book would also explore how the detective gets entangled in the system and, as a result, is exiled to work in a lowly position in the militia.

He’d disregarded a fundamental principle of their work: the presumption of guilt.


It is hard to imagine that most of the accounts in this book are based on real conditions. The fact that society has moved on and evolved in the last 30 years gave the impression that I was reading about some Dystopian society.

All I need is a list of names. —There’s nothing more stubborn than a fact. That is why you hate them so much. They offend you. That is why I can upset you simply by saying that I—Anatoly Tarasovich Brodsky—am a vet. My innocence offends you because you wish me to be guilty. You wish me to be guilty because you’ve arrested me.

The survival of their political system justified anything. The promise of a golden age where none of this brutality would exist, where everything would be in plenty and poverty would be a memory, justified anything


Trust but Check. Stalin’s words had been interpreted as: Check on Those we Trust.

The game of politics is so real and deadly in the Soviet empire of the period of the 50s.

The duty of an investigator was to scratch away at innocence until guilt was uncovered. If no guilt was uncovered then they hadn’t scratched deep enough

Sometimes, that mistrust is personal. Raisa faked a pregnancy and her relationship with Leo because she feared that he was an agent investigating her.

The Protagonist cannot seem to catch a break

Leo and Raisa cannot catch a break. When things seem to be going well, a wrench is always thrown in.

For example, when the Nesterov wife lost her son, her screaming attracted the attention of a woman who decided to investigate. Unfortunately, he was found out and confessed everything. He gave Leo a fighting chance to escape - but unfortunately - Vassily was there waiting for him - when he tried to ram his car into the roadblock (second break)

Leo and his wife would have been murdered on the train ride hadn’t it been for his training.

Even escaping from the train was dangerous for Leo when his arm got snagged in one of the hooks.

The Twist at the end

The twist at the end involves Leo “reuniting” with his brother; therefore, the story comes full circle. Revealing anymore will include giving away spoilers.

This twist in the book did feel silly to me - and the reason I docked a star.