Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Tom Robb Smith : Child 44 & The secret speech

These two have been on my shelf for a little while - but really enjoyed both books.

Crime fiction set against a background of Stalinist and post-Stalinist Russia - a fascinating look at the mentality that 'convinced' the Soviet people that they had a 'perfect' society.

Child 44 -
how can there be a serial killer at work when there is no crime in this 'new Russia'? Leo, a Chekha agent grapples with this reality. For his efforts he (and his wife) is exiled to the outer regions of the state. With the assistance of the local militia (who are highly suspicious of an ex-agent) he works to solve the case.

The secret speech deals with Russia after Stalin's death and Kruschev's 'secret speech' denouncing all past actions of the secret police - putting agents like Leo at high risk. The close up look at a Siberian Gulag (prison camp) seems very real.

As an ex-history teacher I found both books kept my interest - both with their storyline and the social commentary - on the communist revolution, the state orphanges and 'welfare' system and the total fear of authority in particular.

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