How do you find and capture a serial killer when your government is also a serial killer? Tom Rob Smith answers this question in Child 44. The story takes place in Moscow in 1953 during Stalin’s purges. Leo Demidov, militia officer and WW-II hero pursues the enemies of the state, which at the time is everyone. The Soviet Union is a totalitarian nightmare, ruled by fear and paranoia. Everyone was guilty, petty jealousies could get you killed with a phone call.
Leo Demidov suspects the existence of a serial killer, but is hamstrung by the state. The existence of such a killer is incompatible with the utopian ideals of the Soviet state. And the Soviet State would find it easier to eliminate Demidov rather than admit such a creature could exist in their utopia. Demidov vows to find and kill the serial killer as an act of personal redemption. It becomes a race between Demidov and the KGB. It’s a great story but the ending is too far fetched and ruins the story for me. The book is part of a trilogy but the story stands by itself.