Tom Rob Smith’s Child 44 adds to the evidence

A couple of Euroreaders of Stacked took exception to my suggestion that Eastern Europe and the old Evil Empire work better than anyplace as a crime scene in fiction. They were wrong, of course. How I wish this old brain had remembered to drag up as evidence on my side Tim Rob Smith’s superb Child 44, featuring a cop learning about honesty in the last terrifying days of Joe Stalin. Only Nazi Germany comes close to inducing the panicky reader sweat that an opening crime novel scene in the USSR does. I remember being as scared of Stalin as I was of the neighborhood child murderers so lovingly detailed in the gory Chicago Sun-Times of the early fifties. You think I’m kidding? Stalin gets credited with 30 million deaths. 30 million. I’m happy to see that the Booker Prize people have short or longlisted Smith for 2008. I will continue to tell you that the best of the crime fiction is way better than all but a handful of literary novels until they pry the laptop from my cold cramped…

-Nemo Wolfe

Published in: on August 5, 2008 at 2:04 pm  Leave a Comment  

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