Hard Light

Hard LightAs 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 Liz 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.


Elizabeth Hand: Hard Light, from the Village Voice »
Cassandra Neary Returns in ‘Hard Light’ by Elizabeth Hand »
Maureen Corrigan’s rave Washington Post review of Hard Light »
Read the first 3 chapters of Hard Light here. »
The other great strength is Cass herself. Addicted to drugs and alcohol, she nevertheless has great street smarts and an even better artistic eye. She will do what she has to do to get by, and she’s seen the worst side of humanity, but she still maintains a sense of compassion that elevates the mystery and increases its resonance. A must for fans of Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy and Robert Galbraith’s Cormoran Strike novels. Read More »Kirkus
Elizabeth Hand’s HARD LIGHT stars one of my favorite hard-living antiheroines, punk photographer Cass Neary. She’s in London this time out (after hair-raising experiences in Iceland and Maine), and she’s waiting for her man. Long-lost lover boy Quinn is MIA; maybe something to do with all the baddies looking for him and all the money he owes around London town? No matter: Cass hooks up with an Amy Winehouse type and attracts all the wrong sorts of people. Cass’s legion of fans will snap up this one for sure. Read More »Library Journal, Spring Pick 2016
The novel is rich with meditation, observation and thematic obsession, not to mention a crackling pace and a well fashioned plot that, for all it’s bracing New Wave qualities, follows the path of the classic English mystery. Like Geoffrey Household’s suspense gem of 1939, Rogue Male, it starts in cosmopolitan London and ends in a hole in the countryside, and, like much of the golden age oeuvre, questions of parentage are paramount. Read More »Aunt Agatha
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.Publishers Weekly
Nerve-jangling and addictive, Elizabeth Hand’s Hard Light offers up a signature Cass Neary tale of moral ambivalence, keen betrayal and a dark lushness that leaps off the page. And with Cass―relentless in her dangerous curiosity, her ruthless art of survival―Hand has created an anti-hero for the ages. We’d follow her anywhere, into any glittery abyss, and do.Megan Abbott
Elizabeth Hand’s Cass Neary novels, rightly praised for their icy tension and remarkable darkness, are threaded, like the best of punk in any medium, on a bloodied yet admirably stubborn humanism.William Gibson
As a huge mystery and noir buff, I love Elizabeth Hand’s Cass Neary novels―they’re tough-minded, beautifully written, and unique. One of the best series out there. In Hard Light, Hand has created another fascinating puzzle―and another instant classic. If you’re a fan of intelligent page-turners, this one’s for you.Jeff Vandermeer
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, author of Last Days of the Condor
Brutal, elegant, rich and strange, Hard Light is noir at it’s very best. This fast paced marvel of a book beats with the exultant energy of Punk rock and hums with the mysterious beauty of a Delphic hymn. Elizabeth Hand is not only one of the great American novelists, her influence on a generation has changed the face of Literature. This novel will haunt your dreams.Cara Hoffman, author of So Much Pretty and Be Safe I Love You
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, author of The Boy Who Drew Monsters
Brilliant! A punk-scene runaway train. Welcome to Liz Hand. Buy this book.Sarah Langan, author of The Missing and The Keeper
Elizabeth Hand is quite simply one of our best living writers. Her Cass Neary books are the ne plus ultra of modern noir, and Hard Light is the best one far: A riveting story that gets going at nosebleed pace and never slows down, anchored by the voice of the iconic Cass Neary, the greatest main character in modern detective fiction. I never knew I had a thing for Scandinavian punk rock noir until Liz Hand showed me what’s up. Now I want more.Nick Antosca, author of The Girlfriend Game and Midnight Picnic
Elizabeth Hand’s HARD LIGHT is a pitch-perfect punk noir that makes a speed-fueled, mad-dash tour through an avant garde underbelly London and the lost landscape of rural England. It’s about the lost, the heartbreakingly ephemeral, and the melancholy timelessness of art and love and murder. It’s a tour de force. It’s a great goddamn book. If you haven’t met Cass Neary yet, do so before you get a well-deserved steel-toe to the knee.Paul Tremblay, author of A Head Full of Ghosts and The Little Sleep
Beloved scrapper, fight-picker, and trouble-finder Cass Neary returns for another installment in Elizabeth Hand’s gorgeous, searing, speed-fueled bender of a series. Both fearless and vulnerable, heroic and haunted, Neary is a heroine like no other: a punk-rock valkyrie whose fierce intelligence and harrowing quests, rendered in Hand’s flawless, ice-clear prose, have redefined a genre. Hard Light is Hand at her best, and I cannot think of any higher praise.Sarah McCarry, author of The Metamorphoses Trilogy
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