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A Labyrinth of a Novel

Book Review by Katy Haas.

Adam McOmber’s Jesus and John takes place in the days following Jesus’ crucifixion. Jesus returns from the dead as a shell of himself, unable to speak and seemingly unable to stop walking in a specific direction as if being pulled by a magnet. The man who was his lover, John, is assigned the duty of protecting Jesus as he walks. This brings them to Rome, to a mysterious house called the “Gray Palace.” Once inside the palace, John’s journey becomes much more than he bargained for.

The deeper John travels into the labyrinth of a house, the looser the definition of reality becomes. John has no idea what lies around the next corner, and readers are kept just as unaware, constantly discovering new details. Each question answered unearths another question. I stayed up reading for hours, completely unable to set down this thriller/fantasy/horror/something-else-entirely novel.

McOmber writes John’s inner thoughts and feelings so vividly, a reader can’t help experiencing these feelings along with him: his love, his uncertainties, his growing fear and desperation. It’s been a long time since a novel has kept me so entranced and I welcomed getting lost in this fantastical world and queer storyline.

Jesus and John by Adam McOmber. Lethe Press, June 2020.

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