There’s a lot going in this genre-bender. Let’s start with the title, Hang Wire, which refers to a serial killer terrorizing San Francisco. Not to be confused with Highwire, the brilliant new circus performer who keeps disappearing from his place of work. There are some ancient gods in human form who are very concerned about making sure other ancient gods don’t find the mysterious Thing Beneath, and there’s the book’s nominal hero, Ted, who appears to be a regular guy who’s going through a seriously rough patch: he just can’t seem to get enough sleep, no matter how often or how long he closes his eyes. It’s only natural to approach a new novel by the author of Empire State (2011), Seven Wonders (2012), and The Age Atomic (2013) with wide-eyed enthusiasm and a childlike sense of eager anticipation, and Christopher fulfills our expectations and more: just when we think the story couldn’t get any weirder, he adds a whole new layer of weird, bouncing from one unexpected moment of goofiness to another, keeping us stuck to our chairs until we think it’ll take an industrial-strength solvent to pry us loose. Days after finishing the book, you’ll still have a grin on your face.
This review originally appeared in Booklist, January 2014.