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  • Hard Light: A Cass Neary Crime Novel: Elizabeth Hand.
  • Hard Light A Cass Neary Crime Novel By Elizabeth Hand 2016.



Punk photographer Cass Neary, "one of noir's great anti-heroes" (Katherine Dunn, author of Geek Love ), rages back in the series that began with the award-winning novels Generation Loss and Available Dark . Fleeing Reykjavik and a cluster of cult murders, Cass lands in London to rendezvous with her longtime lover Quinn, a person of interest to both Interpol and the Russian mob.

Only Quinn doesn't show up. Alone in London and fearing the worst, Cass hooks up with a singer-songwriter with her own dark past, who brings her to the wrong party. Cass becomes entangled with the party's host, Mallo Tierney, an eccentric gangster with a penchant for cigar cutters and neatly-wrapped packages, and a trio of dissolute groupies connected to a notorious underground filmmaker.

Forced to run Mallo's contraband, Cass is suddenly enmeshed in a web of murder, betrayal, and artistic and sexual obsession that extends from London to the stark beauty of England's Land's End Peninsula, where she uncovers an archeological enigma that could change our view of human history--if she survives.

"Too Tough to Die." Those words are tattooed on Cass Neary, the antihero of Elizabeth Hand's crime-novel series that began with Generation Loss and continued with Available Dark and the new Hard Light . Where those words are inked — and why Cass chose to put them there — is one of the many jagged, tragic details that make the series so compelling: In the early '80s, at the age of 23, Cass was stabbed and raped. Her tattoo covers the scar she incurred that night — and in a perverse way, it also proudly tags it. (Not that she dwells on it.)

Now a washed-up punk rocker in her late forties living in a rent-controlled apartment in New York City, "Scary Neary" spends more time struggling to survive on her bookstore-clerk wages while battling various addictions: Meth, speed, booze, prescription drugs, you name it — but not battling too hard. Cass has other skeletons rattling around in her closet. During a brief time in the '70s, when punk was all the rage in New York, she was a semi-famous photographer. Her book of morbidly elegant photos, Dead Girls , opened the door to a career, but she squandered that opportunity in what became a pattern of self-destructive behavior.

Now she's a cult figure to a handful of photo aficionados around the world — those whose tastes run toward the transgressive — which doesn't help her much as she scrabbles for the occasional freelance assignment. It all changes one day when she's offered a journalism gig in the wilds of Maine: interviewing a reclusive, legendary photographer who lives in a small town where people have begun to mysteriously disappear.

Punk photographer Cass Neary, "one of noir's great anti-heroes" (Katherine Dunn, author of Geek Love ), rages back in the series that began with the award-winning novels Generation Loss and Available Dark . Fleeing Reykjavik and a cluster of cult murders, Cass lands in London to rendezvous with her longtime lover Quinn, a person of interest to both Interpol and the Russian mob.

Only Quinn doesn't show up. Alone in London and fearing the worst, Cass hooks up with a singer-songwriter with her own dark past, who brings her to the wrong party. Cass becomes entangled with the party's host, Mallo Tierney, an eccentric gangster with a penchant for cigar cutters and neatly-wrapped packages, and a trio of dissolute groupies connected to a notorious underground filmmaker.

Forced to run Mallo's contraband, Cass is suddenly enmeshed in a web of murder, betrayal, and artistic and sexual obsession that extends from London to the stark beauty of England's Land's End Peninsula, where she uncovers an archeological enigma that could change our view of human history--if she survives.



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