Sunday 28 May 2017

Carole's Sunday Review The secret speech

Author: Tom Rob Smith
Title: The Secret Speech (Leo Demidov #2)
Genre: Historical Fiction. Thriller, Mystery 
Pages: 416
Published: April 2009
Where I Got It: My Shelf (Used Bookstore)

he 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 centre of the Hungarian uprising—and into a hell where redemption is as brittle as glass

This is a sequel and I do believe you need to read the first book or at least had seen the movie adaptation. There is a lot of references and character developments that need to be read and understood to fully grasp this story. 

This book follows Leo and his family three years after the events of the last book. He and his wife, Raisa, are struggling to raise the two girls they had adopted. The youngest has forgiven Leo for the part he played in the deaths of their parents, but the oldest daughter is a dang psychopath. She hates Leo and blames him for her parent's death EVEN though he tried to intervene AND he saved her and her sister from a life of misery in an orphanage. Leo and Raisa have a lot more patience then I would. 

At the same time of Leo trying to hold his little family together and do well in his secret department that no one can know about. The government realized that someone needs to investigate and take care of any homicides that happen, but the public can't know that Stalin's Kingdom is flawed. 

Things happen and Leo's world is thrown upside down. Poor guy cannot catch a break. All he wants his a happy family and a decent job. 

This was enjoyable, but it took awhile for me to be hooked. The beginning was a little confusing and I had NO idea how the new characters would play a role. I feel like the structure of the beginning needed some major work. I GET what the author was doing, but it just made me confused about who was who and how it all played a part in the story. IT DID make sense once the story got to a certain point though. 

I enjoyed the action and the mystery. However, it did feel melodramatic and not realistic. I'm sorry, but Leo should have died 50 times over the course of the book. I love Leo, but even Jason Bourne would've died along the way...too much "lucky" breaks for him. Also, I questioned his sanity and motives. I get WHY, but really? After everything, you are still willing to jump into Hell and save someone who doesn't want to be saved? Mmmm. 

Also, the main baddie confused me at a certain point. I get the want of revenge and all....but really? *SPOILER ALERT* You are going to work for the government to just get revenge on Leo who was ordered to arrest you BY the government? Wouldn't the main aim be to kill as many government officials as possible? Maybe unite with Leo to bring down Stalin? *END OF SPOILER* Doesn't make sense to me. Silly. 

Honestly, the character developments did intrigue me, especially at the end. I am excited to see what the next book holds for Leo and Raisa. 

In the end, this was pretty okay. The first book was WAY better, but I still enjoyed this. There were some confusing parts and character motivations that left me scratching my head. It was more action-y and melodramatic. Overall, though, I do recommend reading the first book and then reading this one. Out of five stars, I'll give it three.  


  1. I agree - I thought the first book was better.

  2. I read the spoiler cos that is how I roll

  3. I'm thinking they have a lot more patience than I would have, too. lol

  4. It is hard to really completely enjoy a book when it becomes too unbelievable. It sounds like this did have some redeeming qualities.

  5. ah too bad it wasn't as good as book 1

  6. I'm glad that you were able to enjoy this, despite having some earlier issues. Again this is another series that I've not heard of before, but I may check out!

  7. Sounds pretty decent. I laughed though at the part about how Jason Bourne wouldn't even have made it. :) Leo sounds like a pretty sympathetic guy put in a tough position...



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