Saturday, March 16, 2013

The Secret Speech (Leo Demidov #2), by Tom Rob Smith

The Soviet Union 1956: after Stalin's death, a violent regime is beginning to fracture. It leaves behind a society where the police are the criminals, and the criminals are innocent. Stalin's successor Khrushchev pledges reform. But there are forces at work that are unable to forgive or forget the past.

Leo Demidov, former MGB officer, is facing his own turmoil. The two young girls he and his wife Raisa adopted have yet to forgive him for his part in the brutal murder of their parents. 

They are not alone. 

Leo, Raisa, and their family are in grave danger from someone with a grudge against Leo. Someone transformed beyond recognition into the perfect model of vengeance. Leo's desperate, personal mission to save his family will take him from the harsh Siberian Gulags, to the depths of the criminal underworld, to the center of the Hungarian uprising—and into a hell where redemption is as brittle as glass.

Well, thank you Tom Rob Smith for not being afraid of killing off your characters.  Though I was aghast at first, I have to give you props: it made the book that much more authentic.

Leo is such a kick-ass hero, and I want to be friends with Raisa.  Their adopted daughters need some serious (tough) love.  I wanted to smack Zoya for her attitude and actions.  And poor Elena.  She just needed love, in general. 

I can't wait to get started on book #3; hopefully I'll make it through without pulling out my hair.

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