Oliver has it all: recovery from his addiction and Nathan, a loving and wealthy physician husband (boyfriend), that monitors and takes care of Oliver. There is no reason for Oliver to be visiting Haus, a gay bathhouse, looking for sex.
At Haus, Oliver meets Kristian, a blue eyed Norwegian, and the two rent a private room. What happens next turns Oliver’s life upside down: Kristian assaults him, almost killing him. As Oliver tries to make up a lie to explain to Nathan why there are handprints around his throat, Kristian begins to invade into Oliver’s daily life, showing up when he’s least wanted.
Bath Haus is an inclusive thriller that finally puts diverse characters in the forefront of the thriller genre. Not only is the LGBT representation highly visible here, but the characters are not caricatures of the gay community. The narrative and characters feel true to life and real experiences. They are not overly simplified but still retain personalities that ring true to everyday experiences.
The thriller aspect of the novel is riveting. Oliver races to keep Nathan in the dark and keep his distance from the ever present Kristian. Will the consequence of his own actions catch up to Oliver? You’ll be engrossed in the pages trying to find out.
I really enjoyed the dual narration from Oliver and Nathan, as we get to watch the cat and mouse back and forth of Oliver’s secrets and Nathan’s reactions. P.J. Vernon is one to watch in the thriller genre and I would gladly pick up another of their novels. The cost of secrets is high and Vernon delivers just that.(5 / 5)