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Born in 1979 to a Swedish mother and an English father, Tom Rob Smith's bestselling novels in the Child 44 trilogy were international publishing sensations. Among its many honours, Child 44 won the International Thriller Writer Award for Best First Novel, the Galaxy Book Award for Best New Writer, the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award, and was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize and shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award and the inaugural Desmond Elliot Prize. Child 44 is now a major motion picture starring Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace and Gary Oldman.
In his third and final novel featuring Russian policeman Leo Demidov, Smith covers three decades in his protagonist's life, beginning in Stalinist Russia in 1950 when Demidov meets his soon-to-be-wife, Raisa. Then it's on to 1965, when the cold war thaws enough for Raisa and their two adopted daughters to travel to New York and get caught up in a deadly conspiracy. The book operates on several levels, as a spy thriller, a study of obsession, and a harsh criticism of political expediency, and narrator Dennis Boutsikaris finds a splendidly sardonic voice that captures all three. When it comes to dialogue, much of it from the mouths of Smith's carefully crafted Russian characters, Boutsikaris uses a minimal accent and a slightly brusque, typically Slavic manner of speech. Equally commendable is his subtle approach to female voices: a softening and mild shift in pitch. Worthy of special notice is his vocal choice for Jessie Austin, a world famous African-American singer and avowed Communist. It's vaguely Southern, educated, and filled with the wonder of the politically naive. A Grand Central hardcover. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.