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Available Dark (Cass Neary #2)

3.69 of 5 stars 3.69  ·  rating details  ·  584 ratings  ·  128 reviews
"Shimmers with gorgeous writing even as it scares the dickens out of you." —Tess Gerritsen
Photographer Cass Neary is already wanted by the police for questioning when she receives a mysterious job offer that sends her to Helsinki, where an iconic fashion photographer shows her a trove of gorgeous photos depicting ritual killings. After narrowly escaping death herself,
Hardcover, 246 pages
Published February 14th 2012 by Minotaur Books (first published January 1st 2012)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,148)
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Caleb Blake
I've been a fan of Elizabeth Hand for many years, so it's hard to present an unbiased view of any of her novels. Having jumped in with that initial disclaimer let me now gush briefly; I loved Available Dark.

When I read Generation Loss in 2012 I ranked it in the top two novels I read that year. I fell in love with the wildly self-destructive Cass Neary, so this sequel was a carefully crafted exercise in delayed gratification, now finally satisfied.

The novel is set in Finland and Iceland and drew
Cassandra Neary receives a voice message from Investigator Jonathan Wheedler. It is partly due to this voice message that Cassandra accepts an assignment from Anton Bredahl, a guy she just met over email. The other reason being that Anton wants Cassandra to travel to famed photographer Illkka Kaltunnen’s house to assess some art work of his to verify that they are real. Plus, Anton is going to pay Cassandra a lot of money. Cassandra could really use the money and this is a good way to leave town ...more
This pacing of this crime novel is relentless--it's a true "page turner." But as action-packed as it is, what really stands out is the voice of the narrator. Cass Neary is morbid, burned out speed freak, occasional klepto with a dark sense of humor. Would I like to hang out with her in real life? Nope--she's too amoral and has a mean streak. But her narrative voice is additive, full of witty asides. She's a photographer with a dark-adapted eye and a subcultural autodidact, a chronicler of the wa ...more
H. Anne Stoj
I don't know when I became such a fan of Elizabeth Hand. The first book I ever read by her was Glimmering, which sat on my shelf for quite a while. But ever since I read it, I've collected no small number of her work. An amazing wordsmith, it makes her pieces a joy to read. One of the things that I've loved through all her work is the importance of art. Art plays a large role in my own work, so it's not strange for me to make the connection. However, photography is an area I don't know much abou ...more
I absolutely loved this book! Unapologetically grim, Available Dark mines the ripe but overlooked black metal culture of the 80s and 90s to great effect. For anyone for who considers Mayhem a (not-so) guilty pleasure this is a must read. The same goes for readers who appreciate a good anti-hero but would love a female one, as Cass Neary is what you've been waiting for. It has a bit of Chuck Palahnuik vibe (think Diary), and is a great follow up to the excellent Generation Loss.

Although I defini
I didn't enjoy this one as much as "Generation Loss", but it was still a very good book. Those three stars look inadequate, but this is what Goodreads has given us, so . . . Hand is a great writer, and Cass, her creation, is vivid, alive, deeply DEEEEPLY flawed, and that's where the squirmy feeling comes in. She's a watcher, a voyeur. You expect her to be a hero, even though you know she's not capable, all she's capable of is survival. The last twenty pages are thrilling and brutal, the very end ...more
Geoff Hyatt
Is there any metric less suited to evaluating books than a “star” rating? It’s one I rarely mess with at all, but when I do, I always find myself second-guessing however many little icons I have awarded. In this case, it’s because I find myself giving the same rating to both Available Dark and its predecessor, Generation Loss. Both get four stars—but for different reasons, and readers of one might not be as taken with the other. Because star ratings are meaningless. I shouldn’t even bother. Anyw ...more
Perhaps one of the best "Scandinavian" mysteries/crime pieces I've read since "The Inspector and Silence" by Hakan Nesser and "The Snowman" by Jo Nesbo. (Those may have been the last two I read; or, rather, the last two I could finish. I try to read more of those than ever get reported on this site.)

The only difference this title brings is that it is a true "crime" novel, rather than a "mystery." The protagonist is a photographer with a talent that has almost left her, and a woman desperate for
May 03, 2012 Sienna rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2012
I like books about people I like. (I recognize the challenge of making readers root for the unlikeable.) I dislike crime novels. And I love Elizabeth Hand's characters, storytelling, language. When Generation Loss introduced the world to has-been Dead Girls photographer Cass Neary a handful of years ago, I listened to the eerie recording Hand had made of the first chapter in Scary Neary's own voice, preordered the book from the estimable Small Beer Press, and promptly put off reading it. For a y ...more
Catherine Siemann
Gorgeously written. Spiky, burned-out photographer and punk hold-out Cass Neary is back, and she's a well-drawn character. Hand draws vivid, memorable pictures of Finland and Iceland, especially the latter in the midst of its current economic crisis. (As a New Yorker, I appreciated Cass's growing sense of dissonance with the gentrified Lower East Side, as well.)

The novel's moral ambiguity is fascinating in the genre of mystery/thriller -- some people did Very Bad Things in the past, but moralit
Available Dark by Elizabeth Hand (Minotaur) is the sequel to Generation Loss, and both are excellent, compulsively readable contemporary dark suspense novels about Cassandra Neary, a brilliant photographer who lit up the 70s punk landscape briefly but quickly burned out with liquor and drugs. After escaping home to Manhattan after some real nastiness in Maine (Generation Loss). Neary is offered a great deal of money to fly all expenses paid to Helsinki and authenticate a series of five photograp ...more
Aksel Dadswell
A sequel that manages to outdo its predecessor in terms of grime and darkness and biting black humour. Also it makes me want to take up photography.
Attila Cthulhuson
I figured out a bit into the book that this novel's main character is from a previous work by Hand. However I had zero issues getting to know her and I feel this book could stand alone.

Any reader you recommend this book to should be ok with a slow burn mystery (crime novel?) and be comfy with multiple characters having grim obsession with death. The characters are enamored with brutal photographic art of death scenes and with bands from the early Norwegian black metal scene. Hand ties these two
Riina Ojanen
Tämä kirja kolahti. Cassandra on viisikymppinen punkhenkinen valokuvaaja, joka elää lähinnä pirillä ja alkoholilla. Hän on kerännyt kulttimainetta vanhan valokuvakirjansa ansiosta, sillä hänellä on silmää kauneudelle ja taiteelle erityisesti kuolemaan liittyvissä kuvissa. Kirjan alussa Cass saa hämäräperäisen työtarjouksen, jonka seurauksena hän päätyy Helsinkiin ja lopulta Islannin jäisille aroille asti. Kaiken yllä leijuu epämääräinen vainoharha, joka syntyy niin huumeista kuin uhkaavista tapa ...more
Andy Weston
Thoroughly refreshing read which breaks down to a crime novel, but it would be very wrong to call it that. It fits the 'noir' genre better due chiefly to the nature of the photography that the chief character involves herself in. Cass photographs the dead herself and collects the work of others.

The authoress manages to make almost everything about the book dark - even the title. Reykjavik has never appeared such a desolate place; certainly not in my visits or in the work of other writers.

In two minds as to whether this is a three or four star, but giving it four for its tight prose, fantastic descriptive qualities and, of course, the Scandinavian background (the folklore/legend bit is well done, as well as the landscape and the feel for being at its mercy in winter weather). The gruesomeness, the unlikeliness of the story, and the strange behaviour of the 1st person narrator are all disconcerting however. Whoever would have thought that artistic photography was such a dangerous ...more
Feb 18, 2012 Pinky added it
Shelves: abandoned
The curse of the series: the book opens with condensed pockets of information mined more expansively in GenerationLoss. And then I found the new stuff just too much like the last album. I thought GL was great, and this may be a nice intro to her great character Cass Neary, and fans of series may enjoy the return (and may be more forgiving of repetition). I gave up.
Mike Trial
The second Cass Neary adventure by Elizabeth Hand (the first was Generation Loss.)

Hand has an intriguing narrative voice and a wonderful sense of how to do dialogue. She strings together incidents that keep the action moving and the mystery eventually gets solved, but the characters are generally so unlikeable that it's hard to care about what happens to any of them.

This book is set in Iceland and Finland (and New York City) and Hand gets the feel of the places down perfectly. The action flows a
Lynn Kearney
The author is new to me but if all her books are this dark and gruesome, I think our relationship is doomed.
The second book in the Cass Neary series does not disappoint. Elizabeth Hand's writing grips you, leading down a dark and unexpected trail. Ms. Hand's books contain real people, not always likeable, but as flawed and aching as the rest of us. Mixing music, photography, and sagas, Ms. Hand paints a picture of the darker side of places that tend to be viewed as beautiful. She takes us from the gritty world of New York to Helsinki and Reykjavik. In trying to escape the aftermath of one set of murde ...more
I’ve always said I don’t really like mysteries. Thinking about it recently, I’ve realized this is not true. I don’t like predictable mysteries. A well-plotted mystery, especially when written by a writer I’ve loved for years, will get my attention.

Available Dark is the sequel to Generation Loss, Hand’s excellent novel that introduced photographer, junkie, and aging punk rocker Cassandra Neary. In that first book, Neary was left with a new scar and police wanting to ask her about an unexplained d
This is the sequel to "Generation Loss" and the story follows almost immediately after. Cass has returned to New York and is confronted with numerous messages from the police, wanting to know about the occurrences in the prior book. Avoiding them, she meets with a friend who offers her a possible job to view and authenticate some photographs. The sample photo she sees reminds her of her prior work, and it will be her job to prove the photos are real and by the artist. Before she leaves for Helsi ...more
I really should have given this book more like 2.5 stars. Elizabeth Hand is an extremely skilled writer, and one of my all-time favorite books was written by her Waking the Moon is a complex, incredibly fascinating exploration of the animistic, dark side of the Goddess.

But this is a "crime book." (At least she's honest!) I will say that the characters were incredibly fascinating, and I wanted very, very much to continue with the exploration of the connection between the action of the characters
Gloria Feit
This novel isn’t one that defies description, exactly, but it does make it difficult. Its tone is bleak throughout, perhaps in keeping with the geographical landscape, made palpable by the author’s gorgeous writing. The plot is not complex, but that is not the crux of the book, which is the haunting quality of its beautiful prose.

Cass Neary is a photographer with a moribund career, a woman prone to night terrors, who still indulges in her long-time near-addiction to alcohol and drugs of various
Cass Neary has led a very exciting life to date as a photographer but it is about to get a lot scarier. She receives an email from one Anton Bredahl, who is interested in purchasing a strange collection of photographs by a famous photographer named Ilkka Kaltunnen. He wants Cass to authenticate the pictures before he purchases them. He arranges for Cass to fly to Finland and meet with Ilkka and view the prints.
Cass' reputation as a photographer herself had gotten Bredahl's attention . The one s
I really enjoyed Hand’s first book featuring middle-aged, burned out, New Yorker, ex-punk, drug-addled photographer Cass Neary – Generation Loss – but mainly because of the claustrophobic, nightmare-like atmosphere Hand described when setting that first book in out-of-season Maine.

Cass Neary is an unlikely and unlovable heroine. She’s not really a heroine at all. Stuff just happens to her and she reacts numbly. But this could be overlooked in the first book.

The second book takes up right after t
M Griffin
Available Dark follows Cassandra Neary, a damaged, self-destructive and somewhat washed-up art photographer, who first appeared in Hand's 2007 novel, Generation Loss. A novel with Neary as a protagonist is bound to be a wild ride. She's prone to sudden changes in direction, abruptly taking off for an isolated island off of Maine (in Generation Loss), or to meet a shady Finnish collector of death-obsessed photographs, or chase a long-lost friend/lover who might be in Iceland. Along the way she en ...more
Ken H.
Following the events of Generation Loss Cassandra Neary finds herself in Northern Europe and caught up in a murder mystery involving the area's old Black Metal scene, an ex boyfriend and a series of disturbing photographs.

I absolutely adored Generation Loss and was anticipating this sequel with more than a little excitement. While I wasn't disappointed I wasn't exactly blown away either. Available Dark is certainly an entertaining read and Cassandra Neary continues to be one of the most compell
Superb Literary Thriller from Elizabeth Hand

Elizabeth Hand’s “Available Dark” is a brilliant, engrossing work of crime fiction that is among this year’s finest novels, courtesy of one of our finest prose stylists in contemporary American fiction. In beautifully rendered, quite descriptive, prose, Hand has fashioned a most compelling anti-hero, photographer Cass Neary, who was introduced in the cult favorite “Generation Loss” (which I have not read yet); however, readers don’t have to have read t
A cold, bloodless, soulless description of events does not a story make.

My first 1-star book in a month. Since I have such strong feelings about this book, it’s best to split this review into the aspects of the writing that most stood out:

a) Character differentiation: I think a writer has succeeded with character differentiation when a reader hears a line of dialogue and can immediately imagine which of the characters in the book might have uttered it. A hundred pages into this book, I realized
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A New York Times notable and multiple award– winning author, Elizabeth Hand has written seven novels, including the cult classic Waking the Moon, and short-story collections. She is a longtime contributor to numerous publications, including the Washington Post Book World and the Village Voice Literary Supplement. She and her two children divide their time between the coast of Maine and North Londo ...more
More about Elizabeth Hand...

Other Books in the Series

Cass Neary (3 books)
  • Generation Loss (Cass Neary, #1)
  • Hard Light: A Cass Neary Crime Novel
Waking the Moon Generation Loss (Cass Neary, #1) Illyria Mortal Love Saffron and Brimstone: Strange Stories

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