Good Reading : April 2009
author profile undermining his very sense of what he has become? These are the conjectures which fascinate Tom Rob Smith, whose two novels have already established him as a leader in action/crime fiction. Only 30 years of age, Smith has already achieved what most professional writers only dream about: he has successfully written for television, the stage and movies; his first book won the prestigious Ian Fleming Steel Dagger for best thriller; and he has virtually created his own category of crime fiction. He is disarmingly modest, but Smith’s first two novels in a trilogy about W dark times in 20th-century Russia, Child 44 and The Secret Speech, are both being compared by critics with the very best works of Martin Cruz Smith and John le Carré. Both books have as their central character a policeman who we first meet as a supporter and archetype of Stalinism, an authoritarian apparatchik, one of the pillars of the closed and nightmare society which was post-war Russia. As the trilogy unfolds, the main character evolves as a man questioning the very society that created him. 22 goodreading i APRIL 2009 hat happens when idealism comes face-to-face with the harshness of reality, when the principles by which a person lives prove to be wanting, ALAN GOLD talks to TOM ROB SMITH about his Soviet thrillers Child 44 and The Secret Speech.