Cover Image: Don't You Want Me?

Don't You Want Me?

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Member Reviews

Don't You Want Me by Richard Easter.
London 1981. There's a Royal wedding on the horizon. There are riots on the streets, and new music in the form of the New Romantics have hit the airwaves.
Oh yes, and there's a serial killer on the loose. An identity-shifting serial killer is operating in plain sight. But no one has realised this except Detective Inspector Anna Leeding.
 
The novel 'Don't You Want Me' is a good, well-thought-out mystery crime thriller.
Leave out the constant references to the music-of-the-period, and this novel could easily have been slightly tweaked and set in present-day Britain.
Yes, the nostalgia is quite fascinating, and the author has done impeccable research, but you get the impression that 1981 had infiltrated itself into a present-day novel. 
Apart from missing Covid-19, we still had riots, dodgy presidents, antagonism between the USA and Russia, terrorists etc.
So I found I was speed reading over sections to get to the nitty-gritty.
I think the story would have been better condensed and without the irrelevant radio one references and such. But that is my opinion, but evidently, others will love it. 
Saying that I thought the character portrayals were brilliant. 
DI Leeding was superb. She was your typical copper as I remember them from the period. She was dogged, thorough, relentless in her pursuit of the criminals.  
The author has written an excellent whodunnit, which will or should keep you guessing till the end.
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My thanks to NetGalley and BooksGo Social for a copy of “ Don’t You Want Me ?” for an honest review.

This was the perfect book for me, a joy of a read !
I feel very nostalgic about the 80’s , in particular 1981.This book evoked so many memories in me .
I love a good ‘Whodunnit’ and this one definitely stood out from the crowd of other titles I’ve read.
Although it’s not a short book I really didn’t want it to end.
Whatever book I read next will have a lot to live up to..
Highly recommended and look forward to reading more by Richard Easter.
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London,1981. As race riots erupt, Prince Charles and Lady Diana prepare to marry & New Romantics dance, an identity-shifting serial killer is operating in plain sight. But no-one has realised except Detective Inspector Anna Leeding, who has secrets of her own…
Amid the cultural and social upheaval of 1981, D.I. Leeding suspects apparent accidents and suicides could be subtle acts of revenge, and strange blue charcoal messages may be the key to something bigger and deadlier. But in this cat-and-mouse story of vengeance, no-one is quite what they seem, and in 1981, when the New Romantics played with image, first appearances can be deceptive.
1981 was not so removed from today, with a highly divisive celebrity President, and race protests filling the streets. A time when gender and sexual identity were openly questioned, and the far right clashed with the far left. There was an existential threat; today, climate change and Covid-19, in 1981, we hoarded food and prepared for when either the U.S or Russian leader pushed the nuclear button.
So, to everyone who was there and those for whom this is their first time, “Don’t You Want Me?’ welcomes you to 1981. It was a hell of a year.
This story was a delight to read, it was steeped in 80s cultural references to films and music which I am old enough to remember. It portrays a different London to today’s London. It wasn’t fast paced but it was nevertheless a compelling read and I was glued to the virtual pages. Flashbacks to earlier years give an insight to the development of the killer’s psychopathy but it wasn’t gory at all. It was a kind of revenge theme taken to extremes.
My brain was doing somersaults trying to figure out the twist at the end and it was deliciously unpredictable. The characters were well written especially the two female police officers and I loved the slow reveal of their secrets. It is not a short book but I powered through it I couldn’t put it down. 4 stars.
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This book got me with the cover and the link to the Human League.
I love the 80’s.

This is a bit of a different book set in 1981.
It’s very very well researched and I loved the nostalgia. 
The detective story is good but it’s the nostalgia that made it for me.
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This is a brilliant read.
Wonderful well written plot and story line that had me engaged from the start.
Love the well fleshed out characters and found them believable.
Great suspense and found myself second guessing every thought I had continuously.
Can't wait to read what the author brings out next.
Recommend reading.

I was provided an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher.  This is my own honest voluntary review.
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This novel drools nostalgia and for an 80s kid like me, with the original Human League album on vinyl I had to read this.  Thank you to the publisher and to Netgalley for the advance ARC.  Although my first comment is, as an original 80s teenager the eyesight is not what it used to be and the font on the version, I got was very small and feint that made reading this a bit of a challenge for the eyesight!

Formatting issues aside though this is a very enjoyable crime story.  Set against the news events of the day, the background has been meticulously researched even getting the Radio 1 schedule correct.  The story pins around the investigation of an apparent suicide of a model, but other seemingly unconnected bodies that keep piling up.  

For me whilst it was obvious to the reader the bodies where connected, why the Police wouldn’t connect them seemed implausible but didn’t stop the nostalgic trip that this novel is.

Can wait for second part 1995 was a landmark year for me.
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Firstly the title of this book caught my eye, those familiar with 1980s pop music will immediately recognise it as the hit by the same name by The Human League. Being a lover of the 1980s and after reading the synopsis, I was keen to read this title.

It’s set in 1981, where we follow DI Anna Leeding as she investigates several suicide deaths that transpire to be the work of a serial killer.

This was a very well-written book, especially the detail of 1980s Britain – The Royal Wedding of Charles & Diane, race riots in Brixton, troubles in Northern Ireland, and the capture of The Yorkshire Ripper. The storyline was gripping and had me engaged throughout, with a thrilling climax that I didn’t see coming.

Thanks to BooksGoSocial and NetGalley UK for the review copy.
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Don't You Want Me? is a thriller/police procedural set in London in 1981 about a deranged (is there any other sort?) serial killer and the small police team trying to identify the killer.

I read a lot of independently published books and I think it's a great way for new authors to get their works into the hands of the reading public. As a reader, you have to tolerate the lack of editing. And boy, does this book need editing. So be prepared: it's littered with errors on every page and the story is not  particularly well told. It's a  pretty flat narrative; this happened then this then that... A good developmental editor and a good line editor would make a world of difference.

With that said, this is fairly standard for the genre with a fairly standard messed-up-serial-killer-on-the-loose. It has some interesting and unusual story elements. For example, a key character dies in the first pages, which creates an intriguing perspective as you read the rest of the book.

[SPOILER ALERT! - Skip this paragraph if you don't want story info.]
The story stretches credibility to the very limit. Yes, I imagine that - despite what you see on TV - police are generally reluctant to connect apparently unrelated deaths unless they have good reason to connect them. And indeed in this story the police are wary of connecting deaths that appear to be unrelated. However, and it's a big however, the connection between them is so blatant that it's extremely difficult to see the police as other than stubborn idiots. I think you're supposed to see the one police officer who is 'unofficially' connecting the deaths as a clever maverick, seeing things others are too blinkered to see. Instead they all appear stupid and blinkered. I may be making too much of this, but that reflects the fact that the book has too much emphasis on this thread of 'Could they be connected? No of course not! But wait, I think they may be! But what if I'm reading too much into it?' Yada yada yada.

[END OF SPOILER]

Still, there's a lot to like in this novel. The main investigator, D.I. Anna Leeding, is an interesting character, as are her sidekicks Wallace and Fisher. And despite the editing issues, the book  It held my interest to the end (though I wasn't on the edge of my seat) and kept me guessing about who the killer might be.

The story is set in 1981 and the parallels with life in 2020 are interesting. No, there isn't a global pandemic, but there are riots and unrest, and deep social division. And if you were actually around in 1981, it's fun to be reminded of the day-to-day of what was in the news, what music people were listening to, what TV they were watching, and so on.
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1981 What a year that was ! I had just left school in that year and this excellent book brought back happy memories even it was the hated Thatcher years.1981 was the year of Charles and Di getting wed,riots and a music scene that was the best,and with a killer on the loose D I Anna Leeding is puzzled when all the victims are made to look like suicide she is up against it,along with new WPC Lisa Fisher and her friend and colleague D I David Walker they try and find out just who is doing this and why ? Set against the backdrop of 1981 the story is expertly told with all the events told accurately and it was a great trip down memory lane for me.The plot was also a winner with an ending i didn't see coming and it kept me guessing until the murderer was revealed.I have read some negative reviews on Netgalley and each to their own i suppose but maybe because i lived through events in this book i found it a superb 5 star read from Richard Easter.
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There were elements of this book that were well-done: the murders themselves are original and intriguing and the alternating chapters between the childhood POV of the killer and the present-day POV of the law enforcement officers work pretty well.  However, the word that first came to mind when starting to compose this review was “clumsy”.   Writing styles are always a matter of taste, of course but much of what I hoped to enjoy in the book was missing. 

The pacing in the first part of the book is good - the mystery unfolds, clues are planted and leads are pursued.  Midway through it all starts to drag (as in move slowly …though there are nods to that other type of drag too.) Leeding, the lead detective, suspects a serial killer is at work but doesn’t want to openly voice her suspicion because, theoretically, if she is wrong someone innocent could die.  The author offers a flimsy psychological justification for her lack of action even as the evidence of a serial killer mounts.  The assertion that if she is RIGHT and DOES NOTHING, someone else is FOR SURE going to die is never presented as a counterpoint.  Instead, the bodies keep piling up and the detective keeps banging her head on her desk claiming there’s not enough substantial evidence to really do anything.  I don’t know enough about the reality of police work in the U.K. in 1981 to know if this was true to life or not, but I do know that the literal repetition of the facts over and over with the same result got old.  Yes, in real life we all get into mind loops where something weighs heavily on us and we replay it repeatedly.  That doesn’t make for great reading in a mystery novel.

Easter is clearly knowledgeable about popular culture, trends and current events.  He pegged all of that for 1981 with references like “…it’s Soft Cell with ‘Tainted Love’ on 275-285, National Radio One” or “A band called ‘Dexy’s Midnight Runners” were playing tonight.”  But Leeding, our protagonist and the primary POV from which the story is told, is disconnected from current music trends and popular culture. It’s simply the background noise of her life. They evoke no emotion; she doesn’t identify with the trending New Romantic culture and describes herself as too old for even the Bay City Rollers.  She’s more of a “Beatles’ girl.”  Same with her boss, whose POV we’re also privy to.  He’s a “Stones and Beatles” fan.

Even the lead singer of one of the up and coming bands comes across as cynically jumping on the bandwagon of a new musical trend..
 
“Two years before, Nigel had been lead singer of an Essex mod group called ‘Vespa’ who’d go no-where.  But a change of wardrobe and name led him and his band here to one of the most famous studios in London.”

What about the music? Or is it all just “an Elizabeth Arden make up box” and “suitably pretentious name”?  Is that the point the author was trying to make, some sort of message about ‘80s music?  Being in my early teens in 1981, the references brought to mind pleasant memories but otherwise the references were just historical space-fillers serving a Wikipedia-like, utilitarian function.

Mostly the prominence of “clumsy” in my assessment comes from Easter’s treatment of the queer identity of several characters.  I veer into spoiler territory here.  Refer to my goodreads review behind the cut-tag if interested in reading those impressions.

To end on a positive note, the women in Don’t You Want Me? are quite heroic.
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Yep, the title will stay in your head every time you see it but that’s no bad thing 😁
So, most definitely a book for anyone who was there or has interest in the early 80’s specifically 1981, there is so much about this year in the book ie music, fashion, food, TV, just about everything 1981 related and it is great to be back there, part of the book is set on the day of Charles and Di’s wedding, it couldn’t be more 80’s if it tried, I loved it
But there is more to this than an 80’s lookback, this is a book about revenge killings by someone who is on a mission to ‘right the wrongs’ done to her previously and in vicious ways
The investigation is led by a feisty D.I.Anna Leeding and is complex and many other detectives probably would have ‘given up’, not Anna though who once she has ‘that feeling’ is going to see it through
Anna also has rather a big secret herself
Cleverly narrated by different characters via past and present chapters you could be fooled into thinking quite early on you ‘have this worked out’, dont be complacent as I was.....there are many surprises to come
A really good read, helped of course as was set in the 80’s, helped even more that is was written really well if not to some tastes maybe in a quirky fashion 

8/10
4.5 Stars
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London in the spring and summer of 1981. Detective Inspector Anna Leeding of the London Metropolitan Police,  investigates the suicide of the 1960s model Jeanette West. There are some inconsistencies and oddities about the case which concern Leeding and indicate that it may not be just be a simple case of suicide. Another death on the streets in Primrose Hill has an element of similarity to West’s death, again posing questions.  During the narrative, chapters also deal with an unidentified murderer, who grows up with a burning desire for revenge in her black heart and starts upon a series of staged murders. These two strands slowly merge as Leeding and her team realise they may have another serial killer on their hands.
The story is immersed in the popular culture of 1981 – the New Romantic music, the riots, the nuptials of Charles and Diana.  For anyone who was living in those days, there is a nostalgic appeal as the writer’s detailed research re-creates those feverish days in Thatcher’s London. Anna is an enigma – charismatic, late 30s, undoubtedly attractive and yet a solitary figure, who relies on a finely honed instinct to provide her with leads in her detective work.  The main characters all seem to have secrets and challenging backgrounds which are partially hidden from the reader until the novel draws to its conclusion. It is a well-plotted story that is capably narrated, and engages the reader’s interest throughout. Like all good mysteries, there are surprises along the way and the author cleverly nudges the reader in one direction, thinking that you have the mystery solved before springing a bit of a shock. 
A sequel is on the way, which is pleasing as I would very much like to read more of Anna Leeding and her police career in the Met.
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Genre: Crime Thriller/Murder Mystery

The Gist: Following the death of a well known supermodel and 60s “It” girl the London Police force soon realise that they have a serial killer on their hands. It is a race against time to figure out who the murderer is. All they have to go one are the words left as clues in blue chalk.

Short Review: A run-of-the-mill whodunnit with a quirky main character and a villain whose motives seem insufficient. Easter delves into the criminal world with an 80s London backdrop using the era as an additional character.

Long Review: When Detective Inspector Anne Leeding turns up at crime scene she expects it to be a run-of-the-mill suicide. Yet clues begin to lead the inspector to consider different options. Could she have a serial killer on here hands?

Okay, as far as crime thrillers go Don’t You Want Me? is pretty good. The clues are dished out incrementally and you are generally playing guess who with who the killer could be. If I have to be honest, I did find the whole story a bit too long. I felt that certain parts could have been left out and the story would have flowed better. Furthermore, I did think that Easter really wanted the reader to know that the book was set in 1981. He overused references to the point of exhaustion. 

However, his smaller plot lines made the story much more full. The secrets waiting to be revealed allowed the characters to feel fully developed and much more interesting beside their lives within the police force. 

Overall, Don’t You Want Me? isn’t amazing but it is an interesting read that will keep you entertained for a few hundred pages. 

Don’t You Want Me? by Richard Easter is available now.
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this was a great mystery novel, I loved the characters and going on this journey with them. The mystery was great and I really enjoyed trying to solve it.
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I loved the nostalgia of this and remember every jingle, every newsworthy event. There is humour peppered through it and the murders, whilst undeniably bonkers and contrived, are hugely entertaining. The closing chapters are a full of leaps of logic that lesser mortals wouldn't've made but as my dad used to say 'it's all in the script'. The cover alone is worthy.
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This is a brilliant book if I could I would give it 10 stars. The story portrays the 80s wonderfully and the murders are ingenious. As someone whose teenage years plus where in this time frame I found myself being nostalgic over C&A, national Radio 1 and the music of the time. 
Every time I thought I had worked out who the murder was I was so wrong it was ridiculous and when the reveal came it made perfect sense.
I can honestly say I loved this book and cannot wait for the next installment involving Anna Leeding.
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