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Saturday, 29 August 2015

Dan Smith - the Child Thief

Book review by showhost august 2015
This book really immersed me, a powerful thriller but it leaves me with a problem - what do I read now!
Back to Ukraine in 1930, back to the harsh times. Luka was a war veteran but now lives a quiet life with his family, in a very small village, eeking an existence from farming.  So far they have not been ransacked by Russian soldiers, but this potential is a daily fear they live with. 
Their lives are changed for ever when a stranger arrives pulling a sledge. The stranger is near death with cold, hunger and exhaustion. But what lies under the tarp on the sledge sickens them.   The villagers turn into an angry mob demanding justice. But in their fervour they don't notice the disappearance of a little girl.  Luka joins the hunt for the little girl, along with his sons and the girls father his brother in law.  They track him across frozen lands, filled with danger whilst trying to avoid the added threat of Russian soldiers. But this man, this child thief, is a very skilled hunter and marksman and uses his captive as bait. Luka can't give up as he has promised his own 8yr old daughter he will not come back without her cousin, her best friend.
 It isn't like early James Patterson or Simon Kernick, rip roaringly fast tension & action but more atmospherically tense, with the scene of the Ukraine tundra described so well you could see the snow and feel the cold.  I found myself skimming one paragraph just to make sure he wasn't shot (oh no don't get shot, don't go in that room!) then I went back and read it slowly savouring the moment.  This is an exciting, cat and mouse thriller, one I definitely recommend as a very good read.

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