Want a fast-paced chilling historical thriller? Than this is your book. Tom Rob Smith has recreated the world of Stalinist Russia, right down to the smothering paranoia and hypocrisy. All of the details feel creepily real. Theoretically all of the Russian people’s needs are met; They’re fed, clothed, sheltered and employed. Under Communist logic then there is no real crime except for crimes against the state. Leo Demidov is a solid citizen, a member of the State service who ferrets out these supposed spies. Even the seemingly innocent confess to something, even if only that they had bad thoughts about Stain.
When Demidov is pulled off of a case in order to look into a child’s death, his faith in the system in shaken. There’s a serial killer murdering children on the loose. To admit that this is true is a crime against the state. Leo must solve the murders even though he’s disgraced after refusing to denounce his wife. Forced to flee, he rushes to stop the killer before more victims accumulate.
The writing feels fresh and the plot imaginative. Stalinist Russia never seemed so real.