Cass Neary

Created by Elizabeth Hand

CASS NEARY was a great photographer.

“For a fraction of a second,” she ruefully confesses, in her acclaimed debut, Generation Loss (2007).

But back in the day (the seventies, in her case), she was the “it” girl of photography, gleefully snapping gritty, iconic shots of New York’s burgeoning punk rock scene, capturing some of their most squalid sex and drugs and rock’n’roll moments.

But she blew it.

Now she’s just a mess; an aging drunk living in the past, fingering old memories like a bruise, a forgotten loser addicted to booze, pills and speed.

“Fucked,” as she puts it, for the rest of her life.

Originally from New York State’s Hudson Valley (about sixty miles north of the Big Apple), Cass makes her home now on the steamy, seamy Lower East Side of Manhattan, getting by on occasional photographic scraps, and scrounging the occasional side gig tracking down people and valuable objects that may have disappeared. But mostly she just wanders into shit, and ends up making like a half-ass P.I. simply to stay alive. Interviewing a once legendary photographer on a remote island off the coast of Maine. Acting as a courier for for deranged British gangster in London. Losing herself in the Nordic speed metal scene while trying to locate a notorious fashion lens jockey in northern Europe. Whatever. Cass definitely gets around, making bad choices all the way.

Not exactly likable, Cass is selfish, obnoxious and self-destructive, yet somehow too compellingly human — and, despite her worst impulses, too good a detective — to easily ignore. Yet she keeps keeping on, in a series of dark, raw novels that dive into the maelstrom of artistic obsession, celebrity, betrayal, corruption and violence. And art for art’s sake


Elizabeth is an award-winning author whose science fiction and fantasy novels include the Winterlong series, Waking the MoonLast Summer at Mars Hill, and Glimmering. Her works have won the Nebula, World Fantasy, and Shirley Jackson Awards, among others. Although born in California, she was raised in Yonkers and Pound Ridge, New York. In 1975 she moved to Washington, DC, to study playwriting at Catholic University, but after seeing Patti Smith perform, Hand flunked out (sure, blame Patti!) and became involved in the DC and New York City punk scenes. From 1979 to 1986 she worked at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum; she returned to university to study cultural anthropology, and received her BA in 1985.  She now divides her time between London and the coast of Maine. Over the years she has been a regular contributor to the Washington Post, the Village Voice, the Los Angeles Times, the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction,  and the Village Voice Literary Supplement. She and her two children divide their time between the coast of Maine and North London.



Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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