Taking place in a post-Stalin Soviet Union, The Secret Speech tells the story of Leo Demidov, former Secret Police officer and current homicide investigator. In his previous career, Leo was responsible for sending hundreds, if not thousands, to be interrogated and imprisoned. Remorseful about his complicity in condemning innocents, he now works to bring justice for the victims of homicides.Then a speech by Nikita Krushchev is sent to the nation, and Leo’s past comes a-roaring back with a vengeance. Now that Stalin’s been exposed as a madman, murderer, and tyrant, those who did his dirty deeds are targets for recrimination. Including, it seems, Leo.The story itself is intriguing. Guy who follows orders (or suffer the consequences) of a madman, winds up paying for surviving his job. Makes you think a little — for those in Leo’s shoes, how unfair life can be. Do, and you’re enabling the mistreatment of your own people. Don’t, and you die. Of course, some would enjoy the rush that power gives them, and they’ll not carry a guilty conscience around, not like Leo. And as he travels down his path toward hopeful redemption, he wonders if he even deserves it.The plot is worthy enough, I guess. There’s more to it than the seemingly random pieces thrown together into a pot, but I honestly didn’t care that much. For me, The Secret Speech was about the characters and their motivations, and here Tom Rob Smith kept my attention the whole way through.drey’s rating: Pick it up!