Sunday, February 9, 2014

"Hang Wire"

Adam Christopher is a New Zealand-born writer, now living in the UK.

His new books are Hang Wire and, coming soon, The Burning Dark.

Christopher applied the Page 69 Test to Hang Wire and reported the following:
Page 69 of the US edition:
half asleep he couldn’t reconcile them. There was a TV, and the table next to him was low and long, red maple, scattered with magazines and remote controls.

He lifted himself up on the couch on one elbow. How had he gotten there? His phone continued to ring, its vibrate setting making it dance on the coffee table. He grabbed it, didn’t check who was calling, and collapsed back onto the couch, his eyes firmly shut.


“This is some sleeping in.” It was Alison. The line was clear and lacking in the usual muffled quality of her cell. There was noise on the other end, too. Someone else talking.

Ted thought about Alison’s statement, pondering it for a few seconds. She could have spoken in Chinese for all he knew.


Eyes open, heart pounding.

“Shit,” he said. He was awake now, lying on the couch. His head wasn’t sore but his body was, like he’d just finished a workout. Sleeping on the couch would do that.

Alison laughed in his ear. “Don’t worry. I told Mazzy about last night.”

“What did she say?”

“She asked me to ask you how you were. So?”

Ted frowned, rubbed his forehead. “Mm?”

Alison sighed. “How are you? You sleep OK?”

“Um,” said Ted. Then he paused. He concentrated, hard. “Yeah, I guess. I think I overslept though.” He scrambled for the TV remote and waved it at the set. The screen flickered and Ted’s eyes searched the screen, looking for the ever-present clock displayed against the breakfast news.

“I think you needed it,” said Alison.

On the TV, someone in blue spandex was trying to sell Ted an exercise bike in fifty-two easy payments. There was no clock on display. He was lost, deep in infomercial territory.
Page 69 of Hang Wire is actually a really great snapshot of the core plot – at his birthday party in a Chinatown restaurant, Ted’s fortune cookie (impossibly) explodes, showering the entire place with thousands of fortunes, all reading the same thing:


After this, Ted starts experiencing blackouts and lost time. He feels awful, like he’s not getting any sleep. He wakes up at odd times, his daily routine is destroyed, and he starts missing work. Everyone is worried – most of all Alison, his girlfriend and fellow news blogger.

As seen on page 69, Ted is awoken by Alison’s call – he’s late for work again (although at least Alison has the situation covered with the blog’s editor-in-chief, Mazzy, mentioned briefly on this page) and he feels totally disoriented, even thinking, offhand, that Alison may as well have been speaking Chinese. He’s lost time again and, as we discover a little later, he doesn’t even remember coming home.

Ted’s blackouts and nocturnal wanderings also coincide with the murders perpetrated by the Hang Wire Killer, a particularly nasty serial killer who has begun to stalk San Francisco. Could Ted and the killer have some kind of connection…?

(Spoiler-free answer: yes!)
Visit Adam Christopher's website, blog, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

--Marshal Zeringue