The Invisible Ones

The Invisible Ones

3.7 26
by Stef Penney
     
 

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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

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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.

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.)
From the Publisher
 “Utterly new and utterly enthralling.”—New York Times bestselling author Tana French

“Fascinating.”—The New York Times

“Penney gives her plot plenty of twists and saves the best for the end, with a truly unforeseen and unpredictable conclusion.”—Kirkus Reviews

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:
9781410445285
Publisher:
Cengage Gale
Publication date:
02/01/2012
Edition description:
Large Print
Pages:
621
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.60(h) x 0.60(d)

What People are saying about this

Tana French
This is a murder mystery unpicked at the seams, turned inside out, and stitched together with threads of myth, old griefs, twisted forms of love and complex family ties into something utterly new and utterly enthralling. Warning: you will not get anything else done till you finish the last page of this book. (Tana French, author of The Likeness and In The Woods)
From the Publisher
“Utterly new and utterly enthralling.”—New York Times bestselling author Tana French “Fascinating.”—The New York Times

“Penney gives her plot plenty of twists and saves the best for the end, with a truly unforeseen and unpredictable conclusion.”—Kirkus Reviews

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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