Review: Hang Wire by Adam Christopher

Hang Wire
Author: Adam Christopher
Genre: Urban Fantasy
To Be Published: January 28th 2014
Publisher: Angry Robot
Source: ARC via Netgalley
Find: Goodreads
When Ted Hall's birthday dinner in San Francisco's famous Chinatown ends with an explosion, the fire department blames a gas leak, but when Ted finds strange, personalised messages from the restaurant's fortune cookies scattered around his apartment, his suspicions are aroused, particularly as his somnambulant travels appear to coincide with murders by the notorious Hang Wire Killer.

Meanwhile, the circus has come to town, but the Celtic dancers are taking their pagan act a little too seriously and the manager of the Olde Worlde Funfair has started talking to his vintage machines. And while the new acrobat is wowing the crowds, his frequent absences are causing tension among the performers.

Out in the city there are other new arrivals, immortals searching for an ancient power which has been unleashed, awakening something awful buried deep beneath the San Andreas fault... a primal evil which, if not stopped, will destroy the entire world.

The city of San Francisco doesn't know it yet but they're on the verge of total annihilation, and it all starts with an exploding fortune cookie during the birthday of a Bay Area blogger named Ted. It actually almost happened several times before (see: 1906 earthquake), but now with the circus in town, a few gods from long forgotten mythology in the mix, and a serial killer known as the Hang Wire Killer running loose around the city, things are looking a lot more serious.

There's certainly a lot packed into this book with a little bit of everything for everyone, and yet I didn't really like it as much as I thought it would. I was really hooked by the beginning as it (quite literally) started off with a bang, but the plot quickly became convoluted and I slowly started to lose interest.

The use of multiple perspectives was probably the best way to thoroughly explain most of the plot, but it's not one of my favorite things as a reader, especially when it includes one-time chapters of people who aren't the main focus or aren't necessarily important. One particular chapter changed points of views several times without warning which made for an annoying and confusing read.

Even though Ted Hall is touted as the main character in the blurb, there is actually very little from Ted's point of view. That was a bit disappointing because from the little that we do glimpse of him, he was probably my favorite for his personality and sense of humor which a few in the story seemed to lack. I still liked a few of the other characters, particularly Bob the blonde surfer dude who's been teaching ballroom dancing by the beach for last few centuries and Benny, a small Korean girl with an affinity for the word "dude." On the other hand, I found myself wanting to skip Joel's chapters most of the time. As the representative antagonist of the story, Joel is certainly creepy enough, but his chapters are often repetitive and didn't really add anything new to the story after a while.
Ted decided he didn't like Zane after all. He probably didn't like football. Ted didn't like football either, but that was beside the point.
Adam Christopher relies heavily on repetition to build up the tension in the story. It worked to convey an impending sense of doom up to a certain point, but then it just reached a limit where I might just have to throw a book at someone if I ever heard certain phrases again.

Things I never want to hear about again:
  • Something moving / something else / something under...
  • The coin in his pocket being cold.
  • Italicized it, they, and them.
To really illustrate how repetitive the writing could be, I must give a shout out to one part in the story that mentioned that the weather was "hot enough to fry an egg" about three times in the span of three consecutive paragraphs.

Plot wise, I did enjoy the story. It kept me on my toes and kept me wondering who it and they were. I also enjoyed the dash of mythology thrown into it and the sense of the mystical that the circus theme always brings. The writing style, however, left a lot to be desired.


  1. That's what can totally ruin a book for me; when the writer just gets so carried away with these endlessly repetitive descriptions that I end up being taken out of the story because I'm so frustrated.

    I'm reading this book Legend right now and that's one of my big issues with it. The author keeps repeating things and it's so distracting because all I can think is 'yeah ... you said that five seconds ago' lol.

  2. I agree, descriptions are always nice to have, but in this case, I wouldn't mind at all if they picked up a thesaurus or if they went the "less is better" route.