Friday, March 21, 2014

Eight of the best crime & thriller stories set in the former Soviet Union

J. Kingston Pierce is both the editor of The Rap Sheet and the senior editor of January Magazine. One of eight top former Soviet Union-set crime and thriller novels he tagged at Kirkus Reviews:
Child 44, by Tom Rob Smith (2008)

Leo Demidov is a true believer in the Soviet Union as a Glorious Workers’ Paradise, a place where misdeeds common to the decadent West—such as homicide—don’t exist, and the only criminals are political ones. Yet it’s 1953, and this secret policeman has just been handed the case of a 4-year-old boy whose parents insist he was murdered. As more children turn up dead, mutilated and with their mouths full of dirt, Demidov begins to believe the impossible: that a serial killer is at large, one who’s claiming victims hundreds of miles apart. Of course, this theory is unpopular with his bosses, and it soon leads to Demidov and his beautiful (but suspect) wife being banished from their agreeable Moscow digs to the frozen hinterlands. Still, Demidov maintains the chase, one destined to make him both hunter and target. Smith’s story was inspired by real-life Russian butcher Andrei Chikatilo, aka “the Red Ripper.”
Read about another book on the list.

Child 44 is among Rebecca Armstrong's ten best thrillers.

The Page 69 Test: Child 44.

--Marshal Zeringue