About the Book:
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.
I have admired this book cover and synopsis the whole summer so I grabbed it when I had an Audible credit. This is a juicy, dark-ish, fast-paced thriller that has some overwrought moments in my opinion but overall is an edgy story that will definitely hold your interest.
The narration was actually not my favorite – I felt like Oliver sounded more frightened and distraught than he really was – but the story was just my cup of tea. Oliver has fought his way up from the hard life he led in Indiana, to being the partner of a trauma surgeon living in Georgetown.
He has always felt like somewhat of a fraud since he is a recovering addict, who comes from poverty and a dysfunctional family, who now moves among the upper class in Washington D.C.
The opening scene is really the only one that takes place in the Bath Haus of the title, but it is the catalyst for the rest of the book. Oliver goes there for anonymous encounter but ends up the victim of a violent assault. He reports the attack to the police but also lies to the detective because he is afraid of telling the truth to his partner Nathan.
Oliver begins to spin a web of lies – even though they are unintentional – to save his relationship with Nathan. Told in alternating points of view, Nathan is also insecure in his relationship with Oliver, and both have secrets to hide. I love watching other people make bad decisions and this book is full of them! If you could call a book a gay Gothic thriller, this would be it.
P.J. Vernon has a very sly sense of humor and a very vivid and colorful imagination. Credit to the author for creating a likeable main character even though Oliver makes extremely poor choices over and over. This is a very fast paced and suspenseful thriller that will keep you engaged from the beginning to end. Nothing too deep, but a fabulous escape for a few hours. What could be bad?