1st US edition
|Author||Tom Rob Smith|
|Media type||Print (hardback and paperback)|
|Followed by||The Secret Speech|
Child 44 (published in 2008) is a thriller novel by British writer Tom Rob Smith. This is the first novel in a trilogy featuring former MGB Agent Leo Demidov, who investigates a series of gruesome child murders in Joseph Stalin's Soviet Union.
This novel, the first in a trilogy, takes inspiration from the crimes of Andrei Chikatilo, also known as the Rostov Ripper, the Butcher of Rostov, and the Red Ripper. Chikatilo was convicted of and executed for committing 52 murders in the Soviet Union, though his crimes occurred after the Stalin era. In addition to highlighting the problem of Soviet-era criminality in a state where "there is no crime", the novel explores the paranoia of the age, the education system, the secret police apparatus, orphanages, homosexuality in the USSR, and mental hospitals.
The second and third books in the trilogy, titled The Secret Speech (April 2009)and Agent 6 (July 2011), respectively, also feature the protagonist Leo Demidov and his wife, Raisa.
Child 44 has been translated into 36 languages. Additionally, it was nominated for 17 international awards and won seven.
In 2008, it was named on the long list for the Man Booker Prize, nominated for the 2008 Costa First Novel Award (former Whitbread), and received the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger award for best thriller of the year from the Crime Writers' Association.It was also shortlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize for a first novel in 2008, and Smith was awarded the 2008 Galaxy Book Award for Best New Writer.
In July 2009, he won the Waverton Good Read Award for first noveland the Galaxy Book Award for Best Newcomer.
In January 2011, Richard Madeley and Judy Finnegan listed it in their Book Club 100 Books of the Decade.
The New York Times called Child 44 a "tightly woven", "ingeniously plotted", "high-voltage story".The Sunday Telegraph praised it as a "memorable debut": "the atmosphere of paranoia and paralysing fear is brilliantly portrayed and unremittingly grim". Kirkus Reviews gave it a starred review, calling it "smashing"; "nerve-wracking pace and atmosphere camouflage wild coincidences". In an Observer review, Peter Guttridge praised it as a "thrilling, intense piece of fiction".
Another New York Times reviewer called it "an adequate police procedural",and a review of the paperback edition in The Guardian said "the story is exciting, but the characters and dialogue are underdeveloped, and the prose studiously bland". This view was mirrored by a further review for The Guardian, by Angus Macqueen, who stated that while "this is a compelling detective story", "the desire for the plot to encompass every element of Soviet history eventually overrides any sense of artistic seriousness". Macqueen did state that the novel "remains a real achievement" and that it delivers "all the pleasures of a brilliant airport read".
In April 2007, it was announced that Ridley Scott had optioned the film rights.Fox 2000 bought the project, and in 2009, a film based on the novel was announced, with Scott originally attached as director and producer. Ultimately the film Child 44 (2015) was produced by Scott and Michael Costigan and directed by Daniel Espinosa. Child 44 stars Gary Oldman, Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace, Charles Dance, and Joel Kinnaman.
Sir Ridley Scott is an English film director and producer. He has directed the science fiction horror film Alien (1979), the neo-noir dystopian film Blade Runner (1982), the road adventure film Thelma & Louise (1991), the historical drama film Gladiator (2000), the war film Black Hawk Down (2001), and the science fiction film The Martian (2015).
Citizen X is a 1995 American television film which covers the efforts of detectives in the Soviet Union to capture an unknown serial killer of women and children in the 1980s, and the successive bureaucratic obstacles they consistently encounter. The film is based upon the true story of Soviet serial killer Andrei Chikatilo, who was convicted in 1992 of the murder of 52 women and children committed between 1978 and 1990. It stars Stephen Rea, Donald Sutherland, and Max Von Sydow.
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The Theakston's Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award is one of the UK's top crime-fiction awards, sponsored by Theakston's Old Peculier. It is awarded annually at Harrogate Crime Writing Festival in the UK, held every July, as part of the Harrogate International Festivals. The winner receives £3000 and a small hand-carved oak beer cask carved by one of Britain's last coopers. Novels eligible are those crime novels published in paperback any time during the previous year, thus making the shortlists seem more out-of-date than for most prizes. Voting is by the public with decisions of a jury-panel also taken into account, a fact not-much publicised by the award organisers, who are keen to emphasize the public-voting aspect of the award.
Tom Rob Smith is an English author, screenwriter and producer.
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The Secret Speech is the second novel in a trilogy by British author Tom Rob Smith; it was released in April 2009. The book features a repeat appearance of Leo Stepanovich Demidov, the protagonist of Smith's first book, Child 44 (2008). The Secret Speech is a further exploration of the Soviet Union Joseph Stalin created. The third novel in the trilogy, Agent 6, was published in 2011.
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The Barry Award is a crime literary prize awarded annually since 1997 by the editors of Deadly Pleasures, an American quarterly publication for crime fiction readers. From 2007 to 2009 the award was jointly presented with the publication Mystery News. The prize is named after Barry Gardner, an American critic.
The Desmond Elliott Prize is an annual award for the best debut novel written in English and published in the UK. The winning novel can be from any genre of fiction and must exhibit depth and breadth with a compelling narrative. The winner receives £10,000. The prize is named in honour of the distinguished late publisher and literary agent, Desmond Elliott.
Desmond Elliott was a distinguished publisher and literary agent. Having started his career at the publishing house Macmillan, he later went on to found his own publishing company, Arlington Books. In a career of over almost 60 years he was responsible for discovering a number of writers who went on to be bestsellers, including Penny Vincenzi and Jilly Cooper.
Child 44 is a 2015 mystery thriller film directed by Daniel Espinosa, written by Richard Price, and based on Tom Rob Smith's 2008 novel of the same name. The film stars an ensemble cast featuring Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman, Noomi Rapace, Joel Kinnaman, Paddy Considine, Jason Clarke, and Vincent Cassel. It was released on 17 April 2015. Both the novel and the film are very loosely based on the case of Soviet serial killer Andrei Chikatilo. The film was a box office bomb, grossing just $13 million against its $50 million budget.
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