Stalin's Russia, 1953. In a time when the only crimes acknowledged are those against the state, one man is determined to uncover the truth behind a series of murders the government denies. Inspired by real-life serial killer Andrei Chikatilo, nicknamed the Butcher of Rostov, Child 44 is a thrillingly dark literary debut by 29 year-old Cambridge graduate Tom Rob Smith. Drawing from elements of Chikatilo's life, including his traumatising childhood growing up during the famine caused by Stalin's agricultural policies, and his luring of victims from train stations into nearby woods before killing and mutilating them, this debut literary thriller will keep you on the edge of your seat while enveloping you in the claustrophobic and paranoid Russia that existed under Stalin's rule. When Leo Demidov, one of the country's most loyal Security Ministry officers starts to question the State cover-up of crimes, his comfortable life takes a dramatic turn. Forced by senior officials to dismiss the horrific murder of a young boy and witnessing the torture of an alleged spy Leo knows is innocent, he chooses to give up his protected life to save his marriage, already on the brink of collapse. His decision leads them to a town deep in the Ural Mountains where he uncovers the murder of another child, a murder which bares a frightening resemblance to a child murder he was forced to deny. With a killer on the loose, murdering children and dumping their bodies near train tracks all over the country, Leo and his wife set off on a wild hunt across Russia, risking disgrace, torture and death to hunt down the killer. Capturing to incredible poverty and the terrifying world the Russian people endured under Stalin's rule, Child 44 is thrilling and horrifying, an intense detective story that will haunt you long after you've read the last page.