Book Review: HANG WIRE by Adam Christopher

Hang Wire CoverIn Hang Wire by Adam Christopher, Bay area blogger, Ted Hall, is celebrating his thirty-seventh birthday with friends at a Chinese restaurant when his fortune cookie explodes. What seems like a minor head injury later turns into a series of sleep-walking episodes, leaving Ted with no memory of what he’s been doing in the middle of the night. His blackout periods become more frequent and in his conscious moments, he keeps seeing the strange repeating message that exploded from his fortune cookie: “You are the master of every situation.”

Ted’s problems are only the surface of what is coming to San Francisco  A serial killer, known as the Hang Wire Killer, is on the loose, lynching his victims with a trapeze wire. Highwire, a trapeze artist with supernatural tightroping abilities (among others) is intent on capturing this killer. After all, the weapon is the very same equipment that he uses in his performances.

Meanwhile, a darkness from below has grown thirsty. Thirsty for death. Immortal beings have secretly lived on Earth for centuries — some with a desire to resurrect this darkness and destroy the world and others who wish to keep humanity alive. Blending horror and urban fantasy, Adam Christopher’s latest novel, Hang Wire, delivers a light, but thrilling story that progressively reveals that the Earth is much more unusual and dangerous than once suspected.

When reading this novel, I couldn’t help but compare the plot to those of horror author, Bentley Little. Novels like The Store (recommended) and The Association (not so much) are told as if we live in ordinary, modern times; however, there is an antagonist that appears human, but is really a supernatural being. This is the case with Hang Wire. The reader knows early that there is an element of fantastika, but Ted and his girlfriend, Alison, live their lives without any knowledge of the supernatural. It is not until their lives are in limbo that they discover that the humans they know are not mere mortals.

Adam Christopher does a nice job of writing various characters with different voices. Beach comber/dance instructor, Bob, is one of these characters. At first I was annoyed with his hippie dialog, but when I later understood his character more, it seemed to fit him well. Christopher also brings us through different eras and different viewpoints (even different tenses — Highwire is written in the present tense). In some respects, I felt this to be over-ambitious. The story itself is simple and it reads quick like many urban fantasy novels. Perhaps some of the backstory of the immortal’s mythology could have been left ambiguous in favor of building greater suspense with the reader’s gradual discovery that things aren’t what they seem.

Despite this quibble, Christopher continually hits the right beats. The prose flows well and the chapters and viewpoint shifts are on mark, which kept me reading just one more chapter. While Hang Wire has many horror elements, it is more thrilling than scary. The novel felt fresh, was a quick page turner, and overall, a thrilling read.

Read our recent interview with Adam about Hang Wire. —————————————————————————————————————————————————

peter 100x100Peter Snede – AISFP Contributor

Peter is a husband, father of twin boys, and an engineer, who has long-had a deep interest in the creative process. His interest in Fantasy and SF literature stems from his middle grade years where he maintained a steady diet of Narnia and Dragonlance books. After a decade of mistakenly navigating the real world, he returned to reading and writing in a genre that is limitless in communicating the greatest truths and our deepest emotions. When he’s not working or wrestling his toddlers, he often can be found blogging about books and life. He also can be found on Twitter.

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