- Robert C. Kukla
A Juicy and Addicting Thriller: "Bath Haus" by PJ Vernon
I was only a few chapters in when I realized that Bath Haus by PJ Vernon would be my first favorite book of 2022 and it did not disappoint.
The novel tells the story of Oliver, who at the start of the book enters a gay bath house to hook up with a stranger, revealing to the reader that he is cheating on his long term boyfriend Nathan. The affair quickly spirals out of control when the stranger, Cristian, attempts to murder Oliver and he narrowly escapes with his life. From there, Vernon propels the reader on a story that is equal parts psychological thriller and juicy scandal.
What makes this book work so well is the way that Vernon structures the novel. He relies heavily on Oliver being an unreliable narrator, therefore as the story is unfolding, you as the reader are not sure what to believe as reality vs what Oliver is making up in his head. The use of this trope resulted in me being unable to put the book down until I made it to the chaotic ending.
The entire time I was reading, I felt like I was trying to piece all these pieces of the puzzle together and I would quickly form theories about the end result, and that too made this a really addicting read.
What also makes this novel successful is that it is without a doubt unapologetically gay. As a gay man, I could easily relate to many of the references regarding hook up culture and other elements that gay men experience throughout their adult lives.
Along with being unapologetically queer, the novel doesn't take itself too seriously and Vernon is very aware of the type of story he wants to tell with his use of a fast paced writing style. It isn’t trying to be this super deep and thought provoking story, instead it sets out to be a thriller with a lot of mystery involved and to be honest, that’s all that I needed it to be.
Overall, I enjoyed this book so much and flew through it. If you are a fan of psychological thrillers and want a story with a mind blowing ending, I highly recommend giving Bath Haus a read and I ended up giving this a 5 out of 5 stars on Goodreads.
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