The Invisible Ones

( 24 )

Overview

In a hospital bed, small-time private detective Ray Lovell veers between paralysis and delirium. But before the accident that landed him there, he?d been hired to find Rose Janko, the estranged daughter of a traveling Gypsy family, who went missing seven years earlier.
 
Half Romany himself, Ray is well aware that he?s been chosen more for his blood than for his investigative skills. Still, he?s surprised by the intense hostility he ...

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The Invisible Ones

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Overview

In a hospital bed, small-time private detective Ray Lovell veers between paralysis and delirium. But before the accident that landed him there, he’d been hired to find Rose Janko, the estranged daughter of a traveling Gypsy family, who went missing seven years earlier.
 
Half Romany himself, Ray is well aware that he’s been chosen more for his blood than for his investigative skills. Still, he’s surprised by the intense hostility he encounters from the Jankos, who haven’t had an easy past. Touched by tragedy, they’re either cursed or hiding a terrible secret—the discovery of which Ray can’t help suspecting is connected to Rose’s disappearance…
 
Seamlessly toggling between Ray’s past and present, and the perspective of the missing woman’s young nephew JJ, Stef Penney builds a gripping page-turner that doesn’t let go until its shocking end.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In her mesmerizing sophomore outing, Penney wraps a riddle in a mystery inside an enigma that intrigues from the very first page. As the tale—set in the ’80s—begins, private eye Ray Lovell wakes up in an English hospital with little memory and partial paralysis. While he recovers, other problems present. Lovell Price Investigations is broke and most of its cases involve adultery, about which Ray says: “These sorts of cases... can depress you if you let them.” Then Ray, who is half-Gypsy himself, is offered a job by a fellow Gypsy, Leon Wood, who wants Ray to find his daughter, Rose, who he hasn’t seen or spoken to in seven years, ever since she married Ivo Janko, another Gypsy (or traveler, as the British often call them). Why Leon wants to find Rose after so much time begins the mystery. He tells Ray it’s because her mother has died and she should know, but Leon suspects foul play even though Rose’s husband claims she ran off with a “gorjio” right after having a child, but Leon suspects foul play. Given his Gypsy heritage, Ray is able to insert himself into the itinerant lifestyle of that world—exactly the reason why Leon has hired him. But even with his knowledge of the traveling life, Ray is surprised by the stonewalling and half-truths he encounters while trying to learn the Janko family’s secrets. The narrative slides seamlessly between Ray’s point of view and that of J.J., Ivo’s cousin’s son, giving the reader a balanced perspective—and serving up two truly shocking twists at the story’s end. Fast-paced, with characters who will live in full color inside the reader’s head, Penney delivers an impressive follow-up to her debut bestseller, The Tenderness of Wolves. (Jan.)
VOYA - Marilyn Brien
Ray Lovell, a private investigator of Gypsy heritage, has been engaged by a Gypsy father to determine the fate of his daughter who has had no contact with the family since her arranged marriage six years ago. He believes she has been murdered. The story begins as Ray regains consciousness after an accident suffered while trying to interrogate her secretive in-laws who maintain that she left her husband and son. The crime investigation provides the framework for a fascinating story of a marginalized family as related from the alternating perspectives of the investigator and fourteen-year-old JJ, the son of the husband's cousin. The story is set in the 1980s England, but culturally, it is a parallel world that remains virtually unknown to most outsiders, or gorjios. Steeped in the traditions and folklore of the Romany, this is a family struggling with the dynamics of cohesion while plagued with health problems and fragmentation, as well as fear of contact with the outside world. Ray's personal demons also follow him throughout this investigation. JJ tries to sort out his place within the family and in the outside society he experiences at school. The ending is totally beyond expectations. This book is most suitable for older youth and young adults. Students who want to venture into the intimacy of a developing youth and a family from a mostly unknown culture will relish this outstanding journey. Those whose primary interest is in a crime mystery may want faster paced action. Reviewer: Marilyn Brien
Library Journal
Penney's Costa Award-winning debut, The Tenderness of Wolves, offers edge-of-civilization suspense in Canada's Northern Territory in the 1860s. Set in 1980s England, her new novel might seem like a departure, but it's not; here Penney probes the edge-of-civilization otherness of England's Romany (or Gypsies) while presenting a mystery rooted in the stranglehold of family. As the novel opens, Det. Ray Lovell gets a visit from Leon Wood, a Gypsy whose daughter, Rose, went missing years ago after marrying into the Janko family. Since Lovell has Gypsy roots, he's the only investigator Wood trusts. Trying to breach the silence surrounding Rose's disappearance, Lovell goes up against the entire Janko clan, including patriarch Tener; Tener's son Ivo, husband to Rose and father to Christo, who's languishing from an inherited disease that has killed off much of the family; Sandra, Ivo's cousin and the mother of JJ; and JJ himself, who's 14, smart, and the family's bridge to the outer world. Told alternately from Lovell's and JJ's perspectives, the story ends with a bone-rattling surprise that conveys how much the Jankos have endured. VERDICT Another stunner from Penney; highly recommended. [See Prepub Alert, 7/5/11.]—Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal
Kirkus Reviews
Perhaps one of the first novels involving a half-Gypsy as a detective. Penney uses the missing-person plot rather than the whodunit to provide a thread for her narrative. One day Romany Leon Wood shows up at Ray Lovell's failing detective agency to hire him to find his missing daughter, Rose. Lovell has some immediate concerns about the case, primarily because Rose has been missing for seven years. Leon has a Gypsy's reluctance to go to the police about the case but trusts Lovell because he's half Romany—his father was born in a field in Kent while his mother was gorjio, or non-Romany. The novel starts with Lovell in a hospital, partially paralyzed and vaguely remembering a recent sexual encounter, though he's unsure whether this was memory or hallucination. As he gets well, he takes us back to his initial steps in tracing Rose's disappearance. Besides Lovell, Penney uses JJ Janko, a Romany teenager, as her other narrator. JJ is concerned about Ivo, his uncle, but especially about Ivo's son Christo, who's suffering from a rare and seemingly incurable disease, one that Ivo himself had had as a child and "miraculously" recovered from. (Ivo had made a pilgrimage to Lourdes, where they also take Christo in a desperate attempt to cure him.) Fortunately, Lovell has a pediatrician friend who's able to give insight into the nature of Christo's illness and how it's genetically transmitted from generation to generation...and it turns out that it's impossible for Ivo to be Christo's father. Penney gives her plot plenty of twists and saves the best for the end, with a truly unforeseen and unpredictable conclusion.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780425253212
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 12/4/2012
  • Pages: 432
  • Sales rank: 615,646
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Stef Penney’s debut novel, The Tenderness of Wolves, was a national bestseller and the recipient of the prestigious Costa Book Award in 2006. Penney, who was born and raised in Edinburgh, Scotland, is also a screenwriter.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 24 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(10)

4 Star

(5)

3 Star

(4)

2 Star

(3)

1 Star

(2)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 24 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 12, 2012

    Wonderful book!

    This is a book with the richest of characters, gypsies and private eyes. The setting is beautifully crafted and the character are three dimensional. I learned a lot about the Roma. The characters were endearing one moment, seemingly guilty the next. The plot is intertwined, deeply detailed. It's a great book. I'm only disappointed her other novel, The Tenderness of Wolves is not on Nook. It should be!! I finished this book today and I cannot wait to read her other. She's that good.

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 22, 2012

    I Also Recommend:

    The main character is Ray, a private investigator, takes us into

    The main character is Ray, a private investigator, takes us into the strange world of the travelers and their distrust of anyone who is not “one of them”. The fact that the investigator is part traveler, and therefore only partially suspect, is the only reason he gets as close to the truth as he does. It paints an interesting picture of Gypsy life, though flawed, as the background to an intriguing mystery and kind-of-a-love story. There are lots of twists and turns as a body is found in a building excavation, possible poisoning, another disappearance, and a death by fire. This is quite interesting and the ending was quite a surprise and revealing.


    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 16, 2012

    I Also Recommend:

    great

    Beautiful written. Great plot. I LOVED this book.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 11, 2012

    Waste Of Your Money And Time

    The plot did not make sense. Situations were introduced with no explanation for them. Characters and their situations were not believable. The only reason that I read it to the end, was to see if any conclusion to the characters, or plot, would finally make sense. It didn't.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2012

    Great

    Fantastic twists and turns. Kept my interest thru out. Need more

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 3, 2013

    Disappointed

    I loved Stef Penney's first novel and I wanted to like this one. Sadly I gave up a little better than half way through the novel. It was just too slow for me and the suspense died early.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 24, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Simple mystery story that has a creative twist in the end. Very

    Simple mystery story that has a creative twist in the end. Very colorful writing but just didn't feel much empathy for the characters.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 9, 2012

    Fascinating read!

    I loved this book! Just when you think you've got things figured out..it takes another twist. Such a fascinating glimpse into the world of gypsies. Just wish there were more to read about these characters...i didn't want the book to end.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 7, 2012

    An interesting mystery with a look into the secret lives of modern day Gypsies

    I enjoyed this book and the mystery it solved. The chapters told from the point of view of a teenaged Gypsy alternating with the once-Gypsy detective are well-written with a great sense of point-of-view. The big disappointment was the final revelation of the mystery behind the tale at the end of the book. It was too unbelievable and I felt cheated. However, if the journey is as important as the arrival for you, then this book will still deliver a great tale with superbly-drawn, unusual characters.

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  • Posted February 20, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Mysterious Page Turner

    Reads quickly and with ease, so nicely written that the story flows. A great look into the life and beliefs of the gypsies. Surprising twist at the end.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 17, 2012

    cannot put it down!

    I like Hennig Mankell so thought I would try some more cold country author books. This does not disappoint.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2012

    Not Impressed

    Okay, so I'm not exactly a detective novel person, I'll admit that upfront, but I thought I'd try a new genre for a change of pace. I found this book to be mediocre at best.

    After reading thru 399 pages and have the book conclude with conjecture? I don't need to have everything tidied up in all my stories, but this book was pretty much laughable, in my opinion. Sorry I wasted my time and money on it.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted March 13, 2012

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    Posted January 27, 2012

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    Posted January 15, 2012

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    Posted January 5, 2012

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    Posted February 4, 2012

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    Posted June 15, 2013

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