Available Dark

Elizabeth Hand  - published September 2021

trade paper · 320 pages · $17 · 9781618731906 | ebook · 9781618731913

Second in the Cass Neary series.

Generation Loss · Available Dark · Hard Light

Elizabeth Hand’s writing honors include the Shirley Jackson Award, the James Tiptree Award, the Nebula Award, the World Fantasy Award, the International Horror Guild Award, and many others. Now, this uniquely gifted storyteller brings us a searing and iconoclastic crime novel, in which photographer Cass Neary, introduced in the underground classic Generation Loss, finds herself drawn into the shadowy world of crime in Scandinavia’s coldest corners.

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.

Reviews & Praise

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. Eight pages into the book she’s offered some crystal meth. She takes it. Why the hell not? Neither she nor the narrator blinks. There’s nothing coy or exhibitionistic about it, it’s just who she is.” — Time Magazine

“In this brilliant sequel to Hand’s acclaimed literary thriller, Generation Loss (2007), Cassandra Neary, “a burned out, aging punk with a dead gaze,” who subsists largely on alcohol and speed, confronts darkness nearly beyond her comprehension. . . . A flash of incandescence counters final threats of death, and the all-encompassing darkness is leavened by a glimmer of hope. Stunning.” — Booklist (starred review)

“Norwegian collector Anton Bredahl, an admirer . . . offers Neary a tidy sum to fly to Helsinki to give her opinion on some photos he’s thinking of purchasing. She finds herself blown away by the photographer’s technique, notwithstanding the grim subject matter—corpses. The bloody aftermath of the assignment places Neary in grave danger as she confronts a significant figure from her past. The scenes of violence advance the plot while helping the reader to understand Hand’s uncompromisingly compromised main character.” — Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Buy this book!” — Darcey Steinke, author of Suicide Blonde

“Tense, compelling, and beautiful.” — Christopher Farnsworth, author of Blood Oath

Available Dark is dark stuff indeed. . . . ​This book disturbs and delights.” — Paul Doiron, author of The Poacher’s Son

“I hate modern fiction; it usually sucks. Available Dark is the exception to my rule. It is wonderfully depressing—­the locations, the characters, the mood, the murders. It’s so well written, it reads true. I can think of no higher compliment.” — Legs McNeil, cofound­er of Punk magazine

About the Author

Elizabeth Hand is the bestselling author of fourteen genre-spanning novels and five collections of short fiction and essays. Her work has received multiple Shirley Jackson, World Fantasy and Nebula Awards, among other honors, and several of her books have been New York Times and Washington Post Notable Books.