Who knew the world of photojournalism was so fraught with peril!?
This book sucked me in, which I did not expect at all. I saw this on a list of suggested books for Veronica Mars fans, perhaps because both protagonists are cynical, blonde women? But while Veronica has her issues, she has nothing on Cass Neary.
I don’t know really how to describe this. Yes it is a murder mystery but it’s really more of a thriller, involving a washed up, drug addled photographer sent from Manhattan to remote Main to track down a famously reclusive photographer. Wouldn’t be my bag, except for the list it was on. I think what I expected was a lot of yearning for a different time: how drugs were revolutionary, culture was better, those times are gone…one of those nostalgia-type novels.
But the 70s, which baptized and indoctrinated Cass, weren’t those times and her character is straight out of them in all the best ways. She’s misanthropic, sure, but never pretentious or obnoxious about her pass. She’s living with no reason to live and doing it how she wants. I don’t find it personally relatable but I respect it. I think that’s what made her appeal to me as a protagonist more than the typical reader would.
Once she gets to Maine, she predictably gets pulled in different directions over a bizarre series of photos whose tastes mirror her own. She traces them to some shady stuff that happened on the island.
The end of the book is a bunch of cliches, but I can live with it because Elizabeth Hand is a freaking writer. She knows how to build and sustain tension, which is difficult to do. Even though I had a good idea of what was going to happen those last 30-50 pages, I was still glued to the edge of my seat.
This book probably has the highest “reality succeeding expectation” ratio of anything I’ve read in 2019. It knocked me over a few times and I will absolutely read the rest of the series.