Saturday, March 21, 2009


Author: Tom Rob Smith
Genre: Thriller, Series #1
Published: 2008
Personal Rating: 3.5/5
Yearly Count: 35

It's Russia in the 1950s and the deaths of children have been dismissed as accidents or other mishaps, but that doesn't set well with Leo, who is a member of the State Security. Leo doesn't let the issue drop and remains steadfast in his search of a killer, not knowing who he can trust along the way.

The first two-thirds of the book was basically a set up for the last one-third, which was not what I had anticipated. That, along with not enough dialogue, produced some disappointment on my part. However, the clearly described atmosphere of Russia made it easy to envision the doom and gloom of the time period. Even though I ended up enjoying the last third, there was much implausibility that kept this book at "good".


  1. I really enjoyed this one. I'm looking forward to the sequel.

  2. Good to know what this one is about! I won it last summer but haven't even picked it up to read the flap yet. Glad you mostly liked it.

  3. Bermudaonion ~ I had no idea that the beginning was going to be so drawn out. I was waiting and waiting for something to happen. Once I figured out (duh) that it was more about life in Russia, I kept with it. A different approach on my part would have made for a better outcome because the writing was good.

    Trish ~ Like I said above, a different attitude going in would have produced a different attitude in the end. Oh well. It was good, but not anything to go on my Best Reads list. I hope you enjoy it more than I did. Knowing that it's not a straight-out thriller should be helpful to you. :)

  4. Anonymous10:33 AM

    Steve enjoyed this, but said it was depressing material.

  5. J. Kaye ~ Nice to see you. :) The writing was very good in fostering the essence of the time. I didn't feel like it was heavy (like The Road), but it was definitely dismal.

  6. I've got this one on my TBR list but I haven't had a chance to pick it up yet. Thanks for the review!

  7. Samantha.1020 ~ Being that you're aware that it deviates from a traditional police procedural - you should enjoy it more than I did. Also, there's more depth to it than I have let on - I just didn't feel like writing anymore. *grin*

  8. I really love all things Russia. I'm going to add this to my reading list. Thanks for the recommendation!! :o)

  9. Thanks for the review, Joy! I've been wondering about this one since it first came out, but hadn't seen anyone talk about it. I still think I would probably like it, but it does sort of bum me out to hear that it doesn't have enough dialogue. That really slows down a book for me.

  10. Cassie ~ Oh! You should really like this then. I think the second one is coming out soon with the same main character, so I guess it's going to be a series???

    Debi ~ LOL Thanks for being my spell check! (dialog = dialogue) Now why didn't that get picked up, I wonder. Anyway, I prefer more of that "talking stuff", too. :) And, sorry for the lack of details in my thoughts. I really don't give much, but it's enough to jog my memory regarding the basic plot and my feelings and for recommendation purposes. I don't want or like to spend time writing deep, personal reviews - it takes the fun out of keeping track of my reading. Whatever I think at the time of a book's conclusion is what gets posted. :)

    BTW - Thank you for always commenting Debi. I know you have a lot on your plate and you continue to bless me with your visits. I appreciate you.

  11. I really enjoyed this last year. I liked how the Soviet system made it so difficult to solve crimes, since there shouldn't have been any crime to begin with according to the leaders.
    It was a bit too much of a coincidence but he pulled it together nicely. It was longlisted for the Man Booker last year.

  12. Raidergirl3 ~ I hate when my expectations get in the way. I am glad I read it though. My knowledge of anything Russian is limited, so this was good for me.


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