Tom Rob Smith’s Child 44 was, for its time, an unusual Booker Prize choice. Based on the true case of a Soviet child murderer, readers could treat the book as a thriller or as something more ambitious.
Child 44 was the first part of a trilogy, followed by The Secret Speech (2009) and Agent 6 (2011). The novel was turned into a big-budget film by Ridley Scott, with a cast featuring Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman and Noomi Rapace. Before writing fiction, Smith - who is half English, half-Swedish - had a job in Phnom Penh working for the BBC, scripting storylines for Cambodia’s first soap opera. Smith’s more recent work has also been for the screen rather than the page: he was series creator for both the BBC’s London Spy and MotherFatherSon.