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The Invisible Ones

3.63 of 5 stars 3.63  ·  rating details  ·  2,295 ratings  ·  519 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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BrokenTune
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
Kathy
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
Laura Stone Johnson
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
Nigel
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
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
Andrea Galbusieri
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
Vivienne
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
“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
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
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
"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
Beth
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
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
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
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
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
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
Sandie
Ray Jarrell doesn't do missing person cases. Early in his private detective days, he managed to find a girl who the police couldn't locate after months of trying. He felt like the best detective in the world. At least until the girl was killed by the family she had been trying to escape all along.

But something about this missing girl, Rose Janko, touches him and tests his resolve. Her father appeals to Ray's background and he knows that only someone with his background has a chance of finding R
...more
Erin
British psychological thrillers are always so much fun. I happen to be obsessed with Minette Walters, and Stef Penny is definitely in her league.

In this world of the Roma living in Britain, we are introduced (and I say introduced, because I'm pretty sure most of us know nothing about them) to a world of caravans, tinkering, and a culture that is slowly dying through assimilation. Though the story is ostensibly a mystery, like all good mysteries, it is really about something larger - how we can
...more
Aunty Janet
Interesting mystery set in a travelling community.
''Rose Janko is missing. It has been seven years since she disappeared, and nobody said a word. When Rose married the attractive Ivo Janko, she became part of travelling Gypsy family. But many wondered at the time, were they really suited? Rose is quiet and shy; Ivo - taciturn, yet charismatic. Rumour had it she ran off when her baby boy was born with the family's genetic disability. But her father Leon is not so sure. He wants to know the truth
...more
Katie
I don't usually read "murder mystery" type books, but this one sounded different. It makes for very easy reading, and it's definitely interesting. About halfway through, I sort of had the thought of, "How much more plot could there possibly be to justify another 150+ pages in this book?" Well, as it turns out -- quite a lot. I wasn't exactly trying to figure out the mystery, but I did think I had it figured out at one point, and was wildly wrong.

MINOR SPOILERS BELOW:

I thought the most interestin
...more
Alger
I am not certain if the best way to describe this book is to say that it is a work of misdirection, or if it requires that you as a reader be very careful not to notice the one factual detail that is at the heart of the book and can leave you shouting at the page when the characters fail to notice this one glaring FACT that explains everything even as they stand right on top of it and talk about it*.

In either event the purpose of the book is not a mystery or thriller at all, it is a story of rel
...more
S,
This was definitely a surprising and... well, imaginative book. I actually couldn't put it down after I hit a certain point - and now it's about four o'clock in the morning and I still got up to start my computer and write this review, which tells it all, doesn't it?

This review will be a short one since this book is definitely one of those that you do not want to be spoiled about beforehand. I just want to say that my hat is high off to Penney for her imagination and the way she told and planned
...more
Roberto
A riveting novel about a gipsy family enveloped in mistery. A misterious disease, the finding of a skeleton, a woman misteriously vanished and the coming-of-age of a gipsy boy are the threads in which the plot is woven. A very compelling novel full of twists by the author of the equally good " The Tenderness of Wolves"
Claudia
I like books with worlds I've never known...Gypsies in England, ones who still travel, ones who live in brick. Pure black blood that is deeply tainted with diseases, pure black blood that hides generations of secrets.

Told in two voices, Ray, the son of a Gypsy man who left the life, and JJ, a sweet teen trying to balance his Gypsy life with the lives he sees around him...

At the heart is the mystery of Rose Wood Janko's disappearance...six years ago. Her father just now has chosen to pursue, and
...more
Marj
Actually more like Three and a half stars. Stef Penney likes to take us to strange and different places. In her first novel, The Tenderness of Wolves, she took us to the wilds of Canada, a place she has never seen except in the libraries of England and Scotland. In The Invisible Ones, she takes us into the world of gypsies, a world few outsiders have ever penetrated. It has the feel of reality but who knows what that world is really like. Private investigator, Ray Lovell, part gypsy himself, is ...more
Felicity
Like many people I read Penney's first novel The Tenderness of Wolves and was really excited to read The Invisible Ones. Once I'd read the first few pages and had worked out who all the characters are I couldn't put it down.

Ray Lovell is a private investigator and Leon Wood gives him a job to find his daughter Rose Janko who disappeared 7 years ago. She was married to Ivo Janko who is part of an old gypsy family so Ray has to deal with them being evasive when he asks them questions as well as ly
...more
Alumine Andrew
Stef Penney's first novel "The Tenderness of Wolves" is by far one of my favorite books. I was eagerly awaiting her second novel. It doesn't have the same zing to it that she managed in the first novel but it is still a great story.

Set in a Gypsy community in the UK, one of women of the Janko family has gone missing. They go to a Romani private investigator and ask him to find Rose. A lot of the Gypsy culture is explored and described, which I found interesting. It's not a traditional detective
...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
More about Stef Penney...
The Tenderness of Wolves

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