Oliver Park, a young recovering addict from Indiana, finally has everything he ever wanted: sobriety and a loving, wealthy partner in Nathan, a prominent DC trauma surgeon. Despite their difference in age and disparate backgrounds, they’ve made a perfect life together. With everything to lose, Oliver shouldn’t be visiting Haus, a gay bathhouse. But through the entrance he goes, and it’s a line crossed. Inside, he follows a man into a private room, and it’s the final line. Whatever happens next, Nathan can never know. But then, everything goes wrong, terribly wrong, and Oliver barely escapes with his life.
He races home in full-blown terror as the hand-shaped bruise grows dark on his neck. The truth will destroy Nathan and everything they have together, so Oliver does the thing he used to do so well: he lies.
What follows is a classic runaway-train narrative, full of the exquisite escalations, edge-of-your-seat thrills, and oh-my-god twists. P. J. Vernon’s Bath Haus is a scintillating thriller with an emotional punch, perfect for readers curious for their next must-read novel.
Title: Bath Haus Author: P.J. Vernon | Publisher: DoubleDay Books | Pub. Date: 15 June 2021 | Pages: 312 | ISBN: 99780385546737 | Genre: Suspense/Thriller | Language: English | Source: Publisher | Starred Review
Bath Haus Review
Bath Haus, by P.J. Vernon, is important, sexy, and dangerous. As readers are put through the paces via different perspectives, Vernon weaves a tale of danger that explores relationships and life itself. As a thriller/suspense book, of course there are twists; these are done well and will keep even the most seasoned thriller reader on their toes.
It is immediately evident that not everything is perfect in the relationship between Oliver and Nathan; it’s even mentioned in the synopsis of the book. Oliver’s decision to visit Haus isn’t the beginning of these issues, rather it is the culmination of a lot of other decisions. Vernon’s starts in medias res in terms of this relationship. It is refreshing to hear not only from Oliver how this happens, but from Nathan as well. The author does this well and the reader is able to seamlessly follow jumps in narrator and in time.
Bath Haus deals with more than just a relationship struggling to hold on. Vernon deftly explores issues of homophobia, drug addiction, sexual assault, and more. It is organic and readers will see it unfold organically; almost too realistic at times. Often, these themes can feel forced or as if they are tacked on and that just isn’t the case in Bath Haus. Oliver is a person that doesn’t make the best choices, who hasn’t had the perfect life. He is not a perfect person and the book is more real and rich for it.
Beyond the expert style of storytelling and the excavation of difficult topics, Vernon also brings the heat when it comes to physical relationships. Much like before, this is also perfectly woven into the story. Sometimes a celebration, sometimes dangerous, the author explores a wide range of sexual relationships and the pleasure or danger (and sometimes a mixture of the two) that can come from the most intimate of moments.
Bath Haus uses imperfect people (to be quite frank, there will be at least two characters readers will utterly despise) to bring to life an excellent book about love and sex, identity and perseverance. Vernon has truly created an addicting novel and a perfect summer (or anytime) read. Be sure to check it out.
You can purchase a copy of this book via your normal retailer, but please consider purchasing it from a local indie bookshop instead. It may be found here at Indiebound or at BookShop. Please note the Bookshop link is an affiliate link and each purchase you make through it helps to support Sci-Fi & Scary and keep the site running.
Tracy joined Sc-Fi and Scary in September 2018. She reviews horror books for the site and bemoans our general lack of grammar, but puts up with us because she loves us anyway. Feel free to reach out on Twitter and Instagram at @tracy_reads79, or on Goodreads as well!
Tracy is also part of the Ladies of Horror Fiction crew.
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