The Cass Neary Crime NOvels


Hard Light (cASS NEARY #3)

As her passionately devoted fans know, Elizabeth Hand is a uniquely gifted storyteller. Her iconoclastic series of crime novels which features offbeat photographer Cass Neary, began with the underground classic Generation Loss, and that was followed by the brilliant Available Dark. Katherine Dunne, author of Geek Love, describes Cass as “one of literature’s great noir antiheroes,” and comparisons to Stieg Larsson’s Lisbeth Salander abound.

As the story opens, Cass arrives in London where she meets and is reunited with her long-lost lover, Quinn O’Boyle, who is wanted by both Interpol and the Russian mob. When Quinn then fails to show at their rendezvous point, Cass is fearful she’ll be the next to disappear, and she goes on the run.


Like the chilling female characters of Tana French or Gillian Flynn, Elizabeth Hand’s smart Cassandra Neary will freeze your blood and set your imagination ablaze. I dare you to close your eyes on Hard Light.
— James Grady
Brilliant! A punk-scene runaway train. Welcome to Liz Hand. Buy this book.
— Sarah Langan
Hand’s supernaturally inflected Cass Neary crime novels make mincemeat out of the assumption—still held by many an unwary reader—that mysteries are mere diversions, designed to pass an empty hour and then be forgotten. No way that’s true of “Hard Light”: This third novel in the Cass Neary series fades away as stubbornly as a bloodstain.
— Maureen Corrigan, The Washington Post
London’s calling Cass Neary in this addictive novel that brings the sordid glories of the Seventies arts scene into the hard light of today. Whip smart and pitch perfect, it jangled my bones.
— Keith Donahue
Cass conveys an expert’s knowledge of the 1970s East Village punk scene, Iron Age rituals, Paleolithic icons, and the intricacies of photography and film noir … Gripping.
— Publisher's Weekly

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Available Dark (cASS nEARY #2)

As this riveting tour-de-force opens, the police already want to talk to Cass about a mysterious death she was involved with previously, but before they can bring her in, Cass accepts a job offer from overseas and hops on a plane.

In Helsinki, she authenticates a series of disturbing but stunning images taken by a famous fashion photographer who has cut himself off from the violent Nordic music scene where he first made his reputation. Paid off by her shady employer, she buys a one-way ticket to Reykjavik, in search of a lover from her own dark past.

But when the fashion photographer’s mutilated corpse is discovered back in Finland, Cass finds herself sucked into a vortex of ancient myth and betrayal, vengeance and serial murder, set against a bone-splintering soundtrack of black metal and the terrifying beauty of the sunless Icelandic wilderness. In Available Dark, the eagerly awaited sequel to the award-winning Generation Loss, Cass Neary finds her own worst fears confirmed: it’s always darkest before it turns completely black.


Elizabeth Hand’s prose is a wiry, intelligent force that ranges from blunt athleticism to fluid luminosity... Ferocious, aching with compassion and cruelly brilliant, Available Dark is a sinful pleasure.
— Katherine Dunn
Implacable beauty amid carnage and decay, waste and loss: that’s the potent allure of the Cass Neary novels and their aching, persistent heroine.
— Paul Di Filippo,
Available Dark works well as a thriller, but it’s Cass who makes the book extraordinary. It’s rare to find a strong female character—especially a middle-aged one—who likes sex and drinking and drugs and doesn’t feel the need to apologize about it.
— Lev Grossman, Time Magazine

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Generation Loss (cASS nEARY #1)

Cass Neary made her name in the seventies as a photographer embedded in the burgeoning punk movement in New York City. Her pictures of the musicians and the hangers-on, the infamous, the damned, and the dead, earned her a brief moment of fame. Thirty years later she is adrift, on her way down, and almost out when an old acquaintance sends her on a mercy gig to interview a famously reclusive photographer who lives on an island in Maine. When she arrives Down East, Cass stumbles across a decades-old mystery that is still claiming victims, and she finds one final shot at redemption. Patricia Highsmith meets Patti Smith in this mesmerizing literary thriller.


Brilliantly written and completely original, Hand’s novel is an achievement with a capital A.
— David Pitt, Booklist
Intense and atmospheric, Generation Loss is an inventive brew of postpunk attitude and dark mystery. Elizabeth Hand writes with craftsmanship and passion.”
— George Pelecanos
Although Generation Loss moves like a thriller, it detonates with greater resound. It’s a dark and beautiful novel.
— The Washington Post Book Review

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Interviews & Reviews