Neil Stafford is a set designer who, in the five years since he graduated from college, could never settle on one guy because they failed to live up to his infatuation-tinted memories of the first man he had ever been with, Zeke Hale. Although Neil wants to attend his college reunion, he’s worried that his lingering feelings will make him prey to Zeke’s wandering eye, even though Zeke is married. When his best friend, Kev Deering, volunteers to come as his boyfriend to provide moral support, Neil is cautiously grateful.
Although Kev volunteers to help Neil, he also has less than altruistic motives for wanting to keep Neil away from Zeke. In the two years they have been friends, Kev has developed feelings for Neil, but is reluctant to share them because Neil does not know he’s bisexual and Kev’s afraid Neil will be angry for not telling him. Kev’s also worried that Neil’s unresolved feelings for Zeke will leave Neil vulnerable should Zeke choose to pursue him. It’s a worry that is fully valid as Zeke is looking forward to attending the reunion, more specifically, ditching his wife and reuniting with Neil’s body. Unfortunately for him, his attempts are cut short when he winds up dead. While Neil and Kev’s subterfuge blossoms into a real relationship, Zeke’s murder is a cloud over their newfound happiness, especially when Kev becomes the prime suspect.
Books like The Reunion are always hard for me to review. There’s nothing terrible or really problematic about it, but there’s also nothing great about it either. It’s a solidly middling story. Kev and Neil are likeable and cute together. They go on cute dates, rescue a cute puppy, and attempt to solve the murder by… making a list of suspects and speculating while being cute. There is a bit of sleuthing on Kev’s part, but it’s minor, so the book doesn’t slip into the intrepid novice investigator/cozy mystery genre. The story is told in 1st person with alternating POVs and includes Zeke’s POV once as well. Zeke is supposed to be smug and unlikable, but that is conveyed more by other characters’ dialogue about his college Casanova ways than his present-day actions. While he isn’t the nicest guy, he doesn’t come off as the smarmy, whoring villain I think he’s supposed to be to make the murder have an impact for the reader.
There just isn’t much to say about The Reunion. It’s a short, quickly paced, friends-to-lovers romance with a murder mystery thrown in. I don’t like giving books that aren’t plagued with grammatical errors, troubling content, or bad writing less than four stars, but for me, the story is not a standout. However, the pleasure of reading is all about personal taste and what doesn’t work for one reader may work for another, and The Reunion is not a bad book. It’s a light and breezy read that is good if you’re looking for something to pass the time or a before bedtime read that you can easily put down.