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The Invisible Ones

3.63  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,930 Ratings  ·  589 Reviews
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 investi ...more
Hardcover, 399 pages
Published January 5th 2012 by Putnam Adult (first published January 1st 2011)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Annet
Oct 16, 2015 Annet rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reality-crime
Great mystery/thriller, dark atmosphere, sublime story, a plot that keeps you wondering (well... me), unusual characters. Now this is what a good thriller mystery should be like.

I see this book is not on a lot of lists of my goodreads friends. Kind of surprising. Maybe it hasn't broken through properly yet, because this is a good book published in 2011, and a good writer. I read her first novel The Tenderness of Wolves, enjoyed that one and noted this one down, found it by chance in a bookstore
...more
Kathy
Dec 04, 2013 Kathy rated it it was amazing
I've been waiting and waiting for a new Stef Penney since reading and loving her debut novel, The Tenderness of Wolves. Well, the wait was worth it. Stef Penney has written another great novel that delves into the secret lives of people who are set apart from the mainstream life of the world. In this latest novel, it is the Gypsy life of the Travelers that is the focus of the action and the mystery involving a missing woman of that life. While many Gypsies have left the road and settled in "bric ...more
BrokenTune
Oct 05, 2014 BrokenTune rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
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
...more
Aoife
Jun 24, 2016 Aoife rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rose Janko's family haven't heard from her in seven years. Ray Lovell, a private detective, is hired by Rose's father to look into her disappearance and is trusted because he is half-Gypsy, like Rose and the Jankos. As Ray digs into what happened to Rose, more questions and secrets come to light.

I listened to most of this on audiobook and it was narrated by Dan Stevens (Matthew Crawley on Downton Abbey) and I really loved it. It was my first experience of trying out an audiobook and I was totall
...more
Laura Stone Johnson
Feb 22, 2012 Laura Stone Johnson rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
Another good, solid story with sympathetic characters in an interesting locale.
As with her fantastic debut novel, The Tenderness of Wolves, Penney’s second book, The Invisible Ones, can be categorized as a mystery, but it is really a story of human drama that just happens to have a dead body and a missing person in it.

When the story opens, Private Investigator Ray Lovell opens his eyes in a hospital bed to find that he’s temporarily paralyzed and has no memory of how he got there. He’s currently
...more
Martha
Aug 05, 2015 Martha rated it it was amazing
Any book that makes me look like a lunatic in a corner of a tea shop deserves five stars from me. I wanted to finish the book in the shop but I kept getting annoyed/curious/scared/worried stares from people when I got to the twist and started whispering "what? ... what?!! ... what the f--?!!". I wasn't embarrassed, instead I wanted to look back at them and say "can you believe this?!!" while pointing at a book looking incredulous with one eyebrow raised. But I didn't want to be banned in there. ...more
Nigel
Sep 13, 2013 Nigel rated it liked it
I did like the idea of this book and the ending worked well for me. As for the bit inbetween - I think it was rather slow/overlong for a detective thriller for my liking. I did genuinely enjoy the story of a missing gypsy bride being investigated by a gypsy private investigator and the characters in the story most worked well for me. Other than the issue with pace the other thing that struck me as less than convincing was the "voices" of the two people narrating the story. We have JJ, a 14 year ...more
T. Greenwood
Apr 15, 2012 T. Greenwood rated it it was ok
I picked this book up because I am fascinated by gypsies, and I was excited to have found a novel about this elusive community of people (so much so that I was willing to slog through 400 of the slowest, most repetitive pages for even the slightest insight into this culture). The novel is a standard mystery novel, told from the point of view of Ray, a P.I., and J.J., a teenage gypsy. There is the search for a gypsy woman and a love story of sorts between the P.I. and one of the gypsy family memb ...more
Joe Stamber
Mar 14, 2015 Joe Stamber rated it really liked it
Shelves: paper, read-2015
I read The Tenderness of Wolves when it came out (2007) and found it to be a good story that was marred by Penney's decision to change not only POV (which is fine), but from 1st to third person and also tense. Thankfully, she has abandoned this for The Invisible Ones, which instead switches between 2 POVs, both 1st person, which works fine. Oddly enough, this time I didn't care too much for the story. One main character is a baggage laden private detective (are there any other kind?), who is emp ...more
Jennifer (JC-S)
Dec 28, 2014 Jennifer (JC-S) rated it really liked it
Shelves: librarybooks
‘As it turns out, the memory loss may be the least of my problems.’

This novel is set in the world of the Romany people, a world in which the Romanies themselves are trying hard to maintain traditional ways of life. A world that Ray Lovell, himself of Romany descent, thought he’d left behind him. Then Ray is asked to trace the missing wife of Ivo Janko, and soon discovers that the Janko clan has many secrets. Rumour has it that the missing wife ran away after it became clear that her child was af
...more
Andrea Galbusieri
Jun 01, 2012 Andrea Galbusieri rated it really liked it
Loved the story! It takes you into a world we know so little about, a world that still exists but has always been shrouded in mystery. At least for me ... I remember when I was a child, there used to be gypsies coming round to our town every year and make camp down by the river for a few days or weeks. It was also my and my friends' playground, but when the gypsies were in town, our mothers did not allow us to go there ... did not even allow us to leave the house by ourselves. Reading the book, ...more
Cheryl
Feb 27, 2016 Cheryl rated it did not like it
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 ...more
Vivienne
Oct 07, 2012 Vivienne rated it did not like it
I didn't finish this book as I wasn't enjoying it, didn't like 'Tenderness of wolves' either so she is obviously not my kind of aurthor.
Paul Pessolano
Jan 10, 2012 Paul Pessolano rated it really liked it
“The Invisible Ones” by Stef Penney, published by G. P. Putnam’s Sons.

Category – Fiction/Literature

I became a Stef Penney fan when reading her first novel, “The Tenderness of Wolves”. I am now a bigger fan since reading her second novel, “The Invisible Ones”. Her novels have an element of mystery and suspense with human drama seeped in life changing decisions.

Ray Lovell, a private investigator, is contacted by Leon Wood to find his daughter Rose who has been missing for over seven years. No effo
...more
Dimity
I won this mystery novel from the First Reads giveaway program. I quite enjoyed it. I couldn’t shake the feeling that something paranormal was at work for the first few chapters thanks to Stef Penney’s deliciously creepy tone-setting. As the book progressed, it became evident that nothing beyond human emotions was driving this mystery but it remained a suspenseful read. The novel switches between two narrators and both are extremely vivid and realistic. One of the characters is a teenager and I ...more
Luanne Ollivier
Jan 26, 2012 Luanne Ollivier rated it really liked it
The Invisible Ones is Stef Penney's second novel, but a first look at this author for me. It won't be my last - I'll be hunting down her first book- The Tenderness of Wolves.

The opening scene is one that will hook you into the story from the first page. Ray awakes in a hospital bed, paralyzed and with no memory of how he came to be there. Penney takes us back to the beginning and on the journey of how Ray ended up where he is.

Ray Lovell is a small time private investigator - he mostly does cheat
...more
Susan
Feb 27, 2012 Susan rated it really liked it
Despite the popularity and good reviews of this author's The Tenderness of Wolves, this is the first Stef Penney novel that I have read. Now, I'm going to have to go back and read The Tenderness of Wolves because I really liked this book.

This mystery taught me more about the Romany people and kept me entertained throughout. An unwilling wife of one of the Romanies disappeared six years earlier, and after all this time, her father decides to hire a detective to search for her.

There is minimal vio
...more
Virginia Campbell
Feb 04, 2012 Virginia Campbell rated it it was amazing
Shelves: romance, mystery, fiction
"The Invisible Ones", by Stef Penney, was such a delightful surprise for me as a reader. It doesn't really fit into one particular category, and the book itself is much, much better than the promos that lead to my interest in obtaining a copy. An intriguing and involving "Gypsy Noir" PI tale, "The Invisible Ones" will hold your interest, and then some! Ray Lovell, half Gypsy or "Romany", is an about-to-be-divorced private investigator who has yet to sign the divorce papers. He broods over his ex ...more
Nicole Bonia
Jan 08, 2012 Nicole Bonia rated it liked it
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 in ...more
Beth
Feb 07, 2012 Beth rated it it was amazing
THE INVISIBLE ONES by Stef Penney is, no exaggeration, a fantastic read. This mystery/suspense book is a keeper; get it in hard cover. And if you’ve read Penney’s other book, THE TENDERNESS OF WOLVES, this book, THE INVISIBLE ONES, is better.

Ray Lovell is a private investigator in England. The book begins with him in the hospital, but he doesn’t remember why he’s there. He’s mostly paralyzed, and he’s delirious. No one knows why. This is the first mystery.

Chapters with this hospitalized Ray alte
...more
Judith
May 28, 2012 Judith rated it liked it
And now for something completely different: a gypsy father hires a part gypsy private investigator to find his adult daughter who disappeared some 6 years ago after she married and had a child. Lots of intrigue and exotic lifestyle scenery with the "travelers". The book alternates between 2 narrators: Ray, the private investigator, and JJ, a teenage nephew of the missing bride's husband, and thus, main suspect. Both Ray and JJ are delightful characters and I enjoyed their company so much that I ...more
Stephanie
Feb 12, 2012 Stephanie rated it it was ok
Admittedly, I am not a fan of the mystery, but I was intrigued that this book involved Britain's insular Romany Gypsy community. The novel opens unimaginatively, with a man waking in a hospital bed, struggling to recall certain facts. The man is Ray Lovell, a small-time private eye, who has been engaged to undertake a search for a young Gypsy girl, Rose Wood, who disappeared seven years ago. Ray's business is failing, his wife, with whom he is still besotted, is anxious for him to sign divorce p ...more
Barbm1020
Feb 08, 2012 Barbm1020 rated it it was amazing
This is a wonderfully well-plotted, well-written book with unforgettable characters. The life of an English Traveler boy and his troubled family turns on the slender hope that on the one hand somebody will say something true to the detective who is trying to reunite two long-lost family members, and on the other hand, that the in-law family she had fled will live on. Nothing is what it seems here. Stef Penney's detective is not a product of the mystery genre where the hero must be larger than li ...more
Daffy
Feb 28, 2013 Daffy rated it it was amazing
What a marvellous book, beautifully plotted, beautifully written with very human and believable characters. Ray Lovell, half gipsy, is a private detective hired to find the daughter of another gipsy who, since her marriage, has disappeared. Ray has many flaws and, as another reviewer has said, is reminiscent of Kate Atkinson's Jackson Brodie, but this in no way detracts from the uniqueness of Ms Penney's creation. There is a darkness that permeates the narrative and it's interesting to learn tha ...more
PopcornReads
Book Giveaway & Review:
When I received The Invisible Ones by bestselling author Stef Penney from the publisher, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I’ve always been intrigued by Romany (Gypsy) culture, so a mystery involving a Romany detective in 1980’s England sounded like it might be an interesting read. What I didn’t bargain for was a novel I couldn’t bear to put down during the Christmas holidays when I had an out of town guest and tons of activities on my schedule. I should have known it woul
...more
Carol
Jul 07, 2012 Carol rated it really liked it
Shelves: large-print
Unusual and well written mystery novel centered around the Romany culture. I haven't read a great deal about gypsies; and even though this was fiction, their beliefs and their way of life rang true for me. It's not really much of a mystery but the book still held me in suspense as it unfolded. There are two narrators and one of them is a 13 year old boy named JJ. I usually avoid novels with child protagonists because they always seem to come off as too precocious...as short, annoying adults, tot ...more
Мариша
Apr 06, 2015 Мариша rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Приятна и наситена с душевни противоречия и израстване на героите кримка. Не съм сигурна, че има много такива роми измежду ромите. Моят образ за тази общност е по-различен, но както се казва - свят шарен.... Краят е неочакван и удовлетворяващ.
Lois
Jan 14, 2016 Lois rated it liked it
Penny's mystery centers around the Romany people and alternates between the two voices of Ray Lovell, P.I. and a Romany young man, J.J. The intrigue starts when a father asks Ray to search for Rose, his daughter, who disappeared shortly after her arranged marriage six years earlier. I was interested in learning about these "outsiders", "the Travelers"- their daily lives and values and sense of family. I surprised myself by figuring out the mystery 5 pages before the 'reveal' in the last chapter. ...more
Diane S ☔
Dec 18, 2011 Diane S ☔ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This isn't a book that can be rushed through, but a book to slowly savor. Told in alternate chapters by two different narrators, one is a gypsy private detective hired to look for a missing person and the other is a thirteen year old boy who lives with the traveling gypsy family the girl had married in to.
As the book progresses layers are slowly peeled away and more is revealed about the girl, the gypsy culture and family and the narrators personalities and lives. The ending is a stunning reveal
...more
Anjiya Royal
A private investigator by the name of Ray Lovell has a flashback and soon after an intense introduction of the conflict he's in now, Ray tells us all about his life before he ended up where he is now which happens to be the hospital. He starts off the exposition of his story by explaining his job and how it works. Before Ray had been hospitalized, he was asked by Leon Wood to find out what happen to Leon's daughter, Rose Janko. Rose had disappeared seven years prior after her parents split up. H ...more
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Stef Penney grew up in the Scottish capital and turned to film-making after a degree in Philosophy and Theology from Bristol University. She made three short films before studying Film and TV at Bournemouth College of Art, and on graduation was selected for the Carlton Television New Writers Scheme. She has also written and directed two short films; a BBC 10 x 10 starring Anna Friel and a Film Cou ...more
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