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The Invisible Ones by Stef Penney
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The Invisible Ones (original 2011; edition 2011)

by Stef Penney

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3354932,668 (3.89)107
Member:LizzySiddal
Title:The Invisible Ones
Authors:Stef Penney
Info:Quercus (2011), Kindle Edition, 449 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***
Tags:read 2012, fiction, C21, British

Work details

The Invisible Ones by Stef Penney (2011)

  1. 40
    When Will There Be Good News? by Kate Atkinson (cbl_tn)
    cbl_tn: The novels have a similar tone. Both have private investigators who are hospitalized with memory lapses, and both have bright, engaging teenage characters readers will root for.
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» See also 107 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 49 (next | show all)
This was a great story, but I especially love that I learned a little about Traveling Gypsy culture, as the author refers to the group in her story. Very interesting! ( )
  MargaretArmour | Dec 28, 2013 |
Joy's review: Well, I liked this book more than the rest of the book group. I enjoy Penney's writing style and I thought the mystery was a good one. Could have used more insights into the Romany culture and fewer pages on the detective's personal angst, but I enjoyed reading "The Invisible Ones". ( )
  konastories | Dec 16, 2013 |
Some people really loved this book, and reviewed with 5-stars. Mine's more like a 3 and a half (GR really needs a half-star rating). The ending was supposed to blow me away. I didn't see it coming, but I wasn't blown. ;)

3 and half stars ( )
  richardcjennings | Nov 11, 2013 |
The Invisible Ones is Stef Penney's follow up to her acclaimed debut novel The Tenderness of Wolves. It opens with private investigator Ray Lovell in the hospital recovering from a brush with death via an unidentified poisonous substance. The hospital staff suspects that it may have been self-administered, but as Ray swims through strange, frightening hallucinations and recovers his mobility from partial paralysis, he starts to think that his near death might be connected to his investigation into the disappearance and possible murder of a newly married Romany woman several years back.

The story unfolds as a dual narrative that follows Ray as he is contacted by Leon Wood. Wood chooses him to investigate the disappearance of his daughter because of Ray’s partial Gypsy heritage. The other perspective is JJ's, a 14-year-old Romany boy who is a part of the family that Ray is investigating. The Invisible Ones carefully details the lives and views of modern day Gypsy families, but the story itself is slow moving. Set in 1980's England, Penney's Ray Lovell is an old school investigator, complete with notebooks and knocks on the door to get his man. Subplots dealing with Lovell's emotional state after the dissolution of his marriage, and how he met his partner provide additional perspective on his character. The novel picks up in the last third to reveal a surprising host of secrets whose huge implications are only vaguely hinted at and barely explored. Some of them were more easily guessed than others.

Those interested in the Romany way of life will find Penney's work both thoughtful and fascinating since her portrayal is so crystal clear - details on marriages and retaining "pure" blood, the struggles of the older generations to hold on to the traveling lifestyles and traditions, choosing campsites, and the hierarchies established in home ownership and displays of status provided insight for me in a culture with which I am not familiar. Oftentimes JJ provided the most poignant moments in the novel as his attempts to fit in at school fall short, and as his stress about his cousin sick with the "family" disease and the possible skeletons in the family closet grows. Penney has turned out a solid literary mystery, but better pacing and follow up in the aftermath would have made this a more worthwhile and enjoyable read for me. ( )
  daniellnic | Sep 25, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 49 (next | show all)
Another stunner from Penney; highly recommended.
added by Christa_Josh | editLibrary Journal, Barbara Hoffert (Oct 15, 2011)
 
The Invisible Ones is interesting on the methods and mistakes of a private investigator. "Tangible, rational, explicable: that's how you have to think … The danger is that you get stuck in one hypothesis." But the conventions of detective fiction are laid upon a lengthy non-genre novel without the pace or plotting to support them, and the tension vital to such a tale is too often absent. Like The Tenderness of Wolves, it focuses on a disappearance, a quest and an outsider community, but the spine-tingle of its predecessor is missing until the end, when a bold twist is very skilfully pulled off.
 
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When I woke up, I remembered nothing - apart from one thing.
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Book description
Small-time private investigator Ray Lovell veers between paralysis and delirium in a hospital bed. But before the accident that landed him there, he'd been hired to find Rose Janko, the wife of a charismatic son 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 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-whose discovery Ray can't help suspecting is connected to Rose's disappearance
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Hovering between paralysis and delirium in a hospital bed, half-Romany private investigator Ray Lovell evaluates a case involving the missing wife of a charismatic traveling Gypsy whose hostile family is hiding a tragic secret.

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