About the “Child”

New York Times reviewer Janet Maslin doesn’t have a problem with commercially successful authors (she reviewed the latest by John Grisham, Stephen King and Anne Rice very positively). But she is not enthusiastic about Child 44, a book she says is “looking like this summer’s most hotly promoted thriller.”

Earlier coverage has been very strong. On Sunday, NYT Book Review‘s crime columnist, Marilyn Stasio, found the opening scenes “static and wordy,” but after that, “the narrative whips into action…The language becomes leaner, the style more fluid and cinematic…” Newsweek‘s critic saw no slow down, saying simply “The thriller plot moves briskly along from start to finish.”

Critic Sarah Weinman (who writes the blog, “Confessions of an Idiosyncratic Mind”) is a fan and reviews it on B&N’s Review site this week (she is quick to point out that she wrote the review two months ago, before the chain picked it for the Barnes and Noble Recommends program). Prophetically, Weinman suggested in her Tuesday blog post that the current strong critical coverage “means a contrarian take will show up soon enough.” In any case, she says, “I still think about the book six months after my first read.”

It’s currently at #126 on Amazon, but at #13 on B&N.com, likely a result of their promotion efforts for the title.

My money is on Sarah’s take. Library orders seem low on this one — reserves are already running 5 to 1 in some places. It looks poised for good word of mouth; consider adding copies.

Child 44
by Tom Rob Smith

  • Hardcover: $24.99
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (April 29, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 0446402389
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446402385
  • Audio CD: Unabridged, $39.98
  • Reader: Dennis Boutsikaris
  • Publisher: Hachette Audio (April 29, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 160024159X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1600241598
  • Large Type: $26.99
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (April 29, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 0446509256
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446509251

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