Ah, Tom Rob Smith – the man with two first names – you are a creepy bastard. Word on the street is this is your first novel, and believe you me, I am impressed. More oooked that impressed, but whatever.
So, what’s more disturbing than a serial killer? A communist serial killer. In Soviet Russia, where killer serials you! What…no one? Alright.
Leo SomethingRussianov is a member of the MGB in Stalin’s Soviet Union, and is a master at believing whole-heartedly that all the people he rounds up so that confessions can be tortured out of them are actually guilty! ALL of them. It’s very 1984. Almost by accident, he comes across the gruesome
murder accidental death of a four-year-old boy.
This and that and the other thing happens, and blah blah blah he ends up in a small village where *gasp* a remarkably similar accidental death has occurred! Except this one they’re calling murder and blaming on the village idiot, because apparently the crimes of the idiots reflect in no way upon the Communist Party.
With a bit of highly dangerous investigating, Leo discovers that there have been (wait for it) 44 murders of this type, and so he goes on a hunt for the killer. It is, unfortunately, a crime against the state to even suggest that crimes are being committed (except for the crime you have just committed by insisting that crimes are committed – you see how communism effs with you?), and so Leo and his wife are soon pursued by other fellows with incredibly long last names.
You will probably see all the plot twists and the ending coming a mile away, but I didn’t because I’m willfully stupid. You hear that, comrade? I know nothing about nothing! Any story set anywhere where evidence is deliberately ignored and justice deliberately perverted, all for the ‘greater good,’ is bound to make you feel uneasy. That general sense of malaise was unfortunately disrupted for me because I can never hear the phrase ‘the greater good’ without thinking of Hot Fuzz, and you shouldn’t either.
So bravo, Tom Rob Smith. I am thrilled and horrified and all kinds of excited for whatever you have up for us next.