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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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4035526,478 (3.84)115
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, anglophone

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 115 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 55 (next | show all)
This was an unexpected read. I had picked up the book without reading the blurb.

As it turns out, it tells the story of a private investigator who is hired to find out about the disappearance of a woman within the traveller community.

One of the aspects that made the book quite entertaining is that the POV changes between different characters - the PI and a 14 year-old boy. Penney got the tone of voice just right for both of the narrators and this made it quite interesting to see the two different takes on the same plot. In a way it reminded me a lot of The Casual Vacancy (which I liked a lot) - just with less social criticism. The dialogues really managed to portray the characters, more than any long-winded description ever could.

What didn't work so well was that some of the story was dragged out longer than it needed to be. Maybe some of the background could have been left out. However, it does not distract too much from the story.

My one and only real gripe with the story is this one (without adding too much of a spoiler): Why Wales? I was a little knocked side-ways with this.

Anyway, now I can hardly wait to read Stef Penney's first book The Tenderness of Wolves. ( )
  BrokenTune | Aug 21, 2016 |
I was drawn to this book by the gypsies. I wanted to know more about this world and the fact that this book was a mystery story as well was a bonus. I started this book a while ago and could not find myself drawn into the story, the characters or the world. I got to chapter eight and put the book down. Yet, I would come across this book every once in a while. I did regret putting this book down and not trying to give it another chance. So I finally picked up this book again and proceeded to read it.

It kind of read like a dream like state. There was no real substance to the story with just a lot of unnecessary talking. After about six more chapters and having learned nothing new about the case or finding anyone interesting that I could follow along with, I am giving up on this book this time. ( )
  Cherylk | Feb 27, 2016 |
Thanks to Goodreads for sending this First Reads book for free through Goodreads Giveaways.

I'm struggling to decide if this gets 3 or 4 stars. I may have to go with 3.5. It was a page turner for me in many parts, but not all. Some parts seemed to drag on and just didn't pull me in. More than half of it, however, kept me reading past my self-imposed limits. Yet I'm not sure it belongs on my list of books I'd really recommend others read. Not because it's not interesting, but because it's not necessarily "wow, I'm glad I read that" kind of book.

I did love the portrayal of the characters and really enjoyed that the reader is drawn into who they are through dialogues and being privy to private thoughts. I was surprised by some of the plot twists and felt impressed by this as the clues were definitely there for me to have figured it out. I did think about the book at times when I wasn't reading, trying to figure it out.
The atmosphere/culture is quite interesting and I feel I learned about Romanies without being lectured about their lives. That's a huge plus.

So what were the drawbacks? The biggest one I can think of is that the alternating narrators were at times so similar to each other (a grown man and a teenage boy), that it was distracting. I realize part of her point may be how similar they ultimately are in their thoughts and their journey, yet there wasn't enough distinction at some points and I had to go back to the start of the chapter to remember who was "talking." It wasn't so distracting that I couldn't go on with it, but it was still there.

Read it if you are in the mood for a light page turner, but no need to run out and buy it to own your own copy. ( )
  MahanaU | Feb 26, 2016 |
Fascinating people, plots, interactions, and personal histories. I couldn't help but really care about the two narrators and loved how their lives, experiences and questions intertwined. Repeatedly poignant. My review doesn't do it justice, but the five stars do. ( )
  Connie-D | Jan 17, 2016 |
Shucks, what a disappointment. The premise of this novel was intriguing, but it did not live up to my hopes. It was way too long and repetitive. The private detective character, Ray, was dull and the story line of his attempt at a relationship was clumsily written. I found the character of JJ much more interesting and true, but the scenes of his flight to the friend's barn after his anger and injuries just didn't advance the story. Feels like maybe Penney wrote this one a long time ago and dragged it out after the (much-deserved) success of The Tenderness of Wolves. Too bad. ( )
  huntersun9 | Sep 7, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 55 (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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