This thriller set in the terror of 1950s Stalinist Russia, wasn’t an easy book to get into but once it got going it was a truly good read up until almost the end (which was silly). However, while at its core the book is about a serial killer murdering children across Russia in an unusual way - the real story is more about how people live or rather survive in that society.
Communist Russia believed that it had created a perfect society, where officially there is no crime and therefore no murder. So, if your child is killed you have to agree with the official story of an accident because to insist that a murder has happened is in itself a crime against the state which will put you and your family in prison. With this social backdrop, when one man, Leo Demidov, a State security agent discovers these similar crimes he has to go outwith the system that can’t acknowledge that such criminals exist.
Now, as I mentioned, I found this a good read. The plot was interesting, the main characters were well drawn and the struggle to survive from day to day interesting. However the final ‘twist’ in reveling who the killer was was just a little to silly, far-fetched and unnecessary for me. So, I’m not sure if I will read any of the others in this series just because I lost a lot of faith in the author at the end.