I had never heard of this series until I got an ARC of Agent 6, the most recent book in the series. Because I'm a little neurotic about reading books in order I decided to check out the first two books before I read Agent 6 so I would know what was going on.
In Child 44 we first meet Leo Demidov. Leo is the ideal MGB agent for the State Secret Police. He's a war hero, he has a beautiful wife and because of his fierce loyalty to the country he is able to life a life of luxury. The book takes place in like 1950s Russia so it's an interesting backdrop for a crime drama. According to The State crime does not exist. There is no murder, because in the perfect socialist society there would be no reason to murder anyone. When Leo uncovers a string of child murders his perfectly constructed life starts to fall apart.
I really enjoyed Child 44. It was a really different sort of serial killer/murder mystery. In addition to the whole whodunit question was the fact that the government was denying it ever occurred and all the witnesses were to scared to admit that it ever happened.
The Secret Speech is the second book in the series. I didn't care for this book as much as the first one. It was more about speaking out against the Russian government and the repercussions for it. The only thing that kept me reading this book was the story between Leo and his wife Raisa and their adopted daughters.
I think I would read more from Tom Rob Smith, but I don't think I'll bother with the rest of this series. I think I've gotten enough out of it.