*Booklist: Starred Review* Hand, Elizabeth. Generation Loss. Apr. 2007. 296p. Small Beer, $24.95 (1-931520-31-6).
Hand, mainly known for sf/fantasy stories, veers off in a new and exciting direction, drawing on but going well beyond the crime genre. Three decades ago, Cassandra Neary was an avant-garde photographer whose book, Dead Girls, was published to acclaim. But her hard-driving lifestyle, in concert with the rapid collapse of the counterculture, led to a downward spiral. Salvation appears in the form of an editor who offers her the chance to interview a reclusive photographer, Aphrodite Kamestos. But when Cass arrives at the photographer’s private island, she finds that Kamestos had no idea she was coming. Rather than turn around and go home, Cass decides to use the opportunity to find out what she can about Kamestos, uncovering a few shocking secrets and one old mystery in the process. Hand combines elements of the traditional amateur-sleuth mystery with a visceral story of personal redemption, and her pulsating prose smacks us in the face with frank, fascinating discussions of sex and drugs and with staccato dialogue peppered with expletives. The utterly compelling protagonist, whose self-loathing competes with her hatred of life to see which can beat her into submission first, wins us over almost in spite of herself. Brilliantly written and completely original, Hand’s novel is an achievement with a capital A. —David Pitt