I received this from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
When he discovers his patients’ lives are threatened, Dr. Paul Reilly can turn to only one person: Simone Black. She will have his back, even if they don’t agree on much else. But as the former lovers work together to track down the evildoers who are tampering with medications, they rediscover unexpected feelings for one another…even as an enemy wants to silence them permanently.
I wanted to like this book so much – a romantic suspense with no guns on the cover, no SEALs, no former military of any kind – a physician and a lawyer trying to take down an evil pharmaceutical company. There is a lot to like in the book, but it is so messy that I ended up feeling frustrated.
I’m breaking this review into The Good, The Messy, and The Bad.
Paul and Simone were good characters. They had a long relationship that had never quite gone where they wanted it to and they broke up for reasons that had nothing to do with either being a bad person. Paul wanted to go on international medical missions and Simone had a career at the Chicago AG office. The conflict over what they wanted from their lives was compounded by communication issues. It made sense to me that Simone would be the person Paul would call when he needed advice about how to proceed, which meant that their being on the run together made sense. I loved that in their time apart they had thought about what they wanted so that when they came back together, they talked about it before falling back into bed.
Most of the characters were great. I loved that Paul and Simone came with family relationships and those relationships were integral to the plot. Both Simone and Paul get heaps of grief from their families about, well, everything, and it is a delight. I would 5 star a book of just siblings heaping grief on Simone and Paul’s heads.
So much plot. So many things happen that I got confused about what was happening now and why. By the end of the book Simone and Paul are together (not a spoiler, it’s a romance, they get an HEA), but so many things had happened that I couldn’t remember if Simone and Paul had really resolved the issues in their relationship or if we are to assume that one of the spoilery plot points was a magical fix. In fact, Simone felt like she had been back-burnered in the last quarter of the book, leaving me feeling less invested in the resolution to the romance.
I personally hate the evil, slutty ex-flame character. In this case I think it was both annoying and harmful to the plot. Vanessa is only in the most technical of terms an ex-flame. Paul kinda sorta went out with her once or twice after Simone left him. The problem with Vanessa is that she is a caricature in a book full of characters and her evil, slutty ways defang the whole evil corporation plot. Instead of an evil company, it becomes one evil woman.
Reunited by the Badge is the third in an ongoing series. I’m going to check out the second book, which focuses on Simone’s brother, Mingus, at some point. I liked him a lot and I likes Fletcher Mello’s writing enough that I want to give her another try.