“I think it’s a little trite to define a human by any one thing. But you’d be surprised how much of a person you can capture with two.” – Nathan
Thank you to Doubleday Books for this advance copy!
Synopsis: Oliver Park, a twentysomething recovering drug addict from Indiana, has what appears to be a perfect life now. He has a big house, Nathan, a prominent DC trauma surgeon, a dog, and nearly no worries. But something draws him to make a choice, to go to Haus, a gay bathhouse, a choice that could cost him everything. Inside Haus, Oliver follows a man into a private room where everything goes wrong. Oliver escapes with his life and a hand-shaped bruise on his neck. To save his relationship, Oliver does the only thing he can do, lie. But Oliver isn’t the only lying, and soon he feels trapped by everything and everyone around him.
Review: If there were to ever be a gay thriller adapted for the screen, Bath Haus by P.J. Vernon is it. It has everything needed, suspense, steam, toxic characters, stalking, and that encroaching fear that something is going to go terribly wrong. I loved how Vernon shows gay characters as both victims and as villains in his story, because newsflash, not all gays are great people. What’s interesting is that we get two different kinds of toxic gay characters, one who does obvious toxic things, and one who is toxic in a more subtle way. Vernon also gives us a look at gay culture overall, from the use of hook-up apps to drug use. With all of this, Vernon has crafted a well rounded gay thriller that encompasses so much of what gay life can be about. Bath Haus is definitely a top read of 2021 for me, and it has left me craving more gay thrillers.
Read: 5/25/2021 – 6/3/2021
Release date: June 15tht, 2021; Doubleday Books
Page count: 314
Genre: Gay Thriller
Audience: New Adult