read by Dennis Boutsikaris
I’ve never heard of Tom Rob Smith before, but a quick visit to his MySpace informed me that he is an English novelist, and younger than I would have guessed (28). I would have guessed that he was older because the protagonist of this novel (Leo Damidov) seems older, because of his world-weary temperament. Interestingly, however, Damidov is of similar age. Could it be that he seems so exhausted because he lives in Stalinist Russia?
Damidov is well-placed in society. As a member of the State Security Force, he has power and privilege. Life isn’t easy, but it has its benefits. His wife, Raisa, is a schoolteacher, convince the minds of young children regarding their duty to the state and the superiority of the Communist system. Leo understands that everything is not always as it seems, but he’s a true believer. The state has to be right. He’s sold out to it. And then, the state turns on him.
I found Child 44 to be a very creative novel. I didn’t read Gorky Park, but I did see the movie, and I would say that the mood is fairly similar here. Depression. No escape or recourse. Keeping up appearances. **The advantaged minority, and how rapidly they fall. Passing and the terror leading a way to it. In the early piece of the book, starvation is an unmistakable topic. You’ll feel the hopeless …you’ll know their hunger. It’s just material..**
In a larger sense, this is a murder mystery…and fairly grisly at that….**in spite of the fact that to permit that to ward you off would be robin you to quite a ride. For the initial couple of moments, I experienced a touch of difficulty getting my course. From that point forward, it got comfortable and traveled like a luxury car**. This is also a story of significant character development and hidden agendas. It’s quite fascinating watching the secrets unravel. There a ton of intrigue, and even a bit of a love story.
I’m not someone who spending a lot of time guessing where stories are going, so I can’t tell you whether or not this holds up under that kind of scrutiny. However, I can tell you that I didn’t expect most of the twists before they came. And for me, “not predictable” means that my interest holds a lot longer.
As a narrator, Dennis Boutsikaris was a pleasant surprise. At first blush, when he slipped into a Russian accent as the characters spoke, I though it might be off-putting. After a while, I decided that this was because I normally only hear Russian accents in comedy bits. I found his dead, even Russian delivery felt very comfortable in short order. In terms of his straight reading, he was very easy to listen to. Interestingly, Boutsikaris is a very successful character actor. His IMDB profile lists 75 movie and TV appearances. I’ve definitely seen his face before, though I didn’t know him by name.
This was a very solid investment of 12 hours of my time. I’m very interested in hearing more from Tom Rob Smith.
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