Published by Entangled: Amara on 25th May 2020
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People are dying in Dr. Joshua Salvador’s ER. His medical assistant, only weeks from delivering her baby, hangs on to life by a thread. The symptoms seem horrifyingly familiar, and he begins to suspect the deaths are targeted at him. But, before he can figure things out, top TV investigator Rachel Wright is standing in the middle of his ER, convinced an outbreak, an epidemic, or even a botched flu vaccine could be the cause, and she’s going to tell the world.
To read about a contagion that’s spreading amongst some people—though it’s early days yet—is uncanny for this specific time, even though there’s so much that we can collectively relate to right now. Linda Bond’s ‘Flatline’ however, isn’t a medical thriller per se despite the science-y cover, but it’s a story that straddles the romance genre here, built as it is around 2 former lovers whose turbulent past came to a head 5 years ago.
In this second-chance trope, Dr. Joshua Salvador and Rachel Wright come face to face again during a medical emergency and the lines of their conflict are reiterated in this case of history repeating itself: both their reputations are on the line, keeping their pride in their unshakable work foundations, combined with a time-sensitive medical issue that could potentially explode into something bigger and some grey areas where both learn that compromising and trust could be the hardest things they need to do.
‘Flatline’ is predictable in that sense, as well-written as it is, driven forward speedily by the developing case and Joshua/Rachel’s constant revisitation of each other along with their numerous reminiscences of what they used to do in the past. If the starting of the book is a one of possibilities, the second half sort of ‘contracts’, bringing the case closer to one of personal grudges/revenge-plot more than a spiralling, out-of-control pandemic. Still, Linda Bond writes decisively and competently but my complaint however, is the very abrupt end that had me doing a double-take—movie-ish in a way just as the credits roll—even as I was hoping for something more conclusive.