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The Invisible Ones

3.62 of 5 stars 3.62  ·  rating details  ·  2,667 ratings  ·  556 reviews
In a hospital bed, small-time private investigator Ray Lovell veers between paralysis and delirium. Before the accident that landed him there, he’d been hired to find Rose Janko, the wife of a charismatic son of a travelling gypsy family, who went missing seven years earlier.

Half Romany himself, Ray is well aware he’s been hired more for his blood than his investigative sk
Hardcover, 416 pages
Published January 10th 2012 by Viking (first published January 1st 2011)
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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
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
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
Joe Stamber
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)
‘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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 short, annoying adults, tot ...more
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.
Diane S.✨
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
Douglas Lord
Two characters alternate narrating chapters in this great read: JJ, a 14-year-old full-blooded gypsy, and Ray, a half gypsy, half gorijo (nongypsy) private investigator. JJ is unlike any teenager I know. Sweet and selfless, he loves his flawed family, especially his disabled six-year-old cousin. He is diligent about doing his chores and dreams of someday moving to France. Ray is a bit of a puzzle. Because he’s short on cash, he takes on a hopelessly cold missing-persons case looking for Rose; tu ...more
Ana Luisa
This book was such a good surprise! I went in thinking it was just another mystery - which it is - but it's also so much more than that. There was a point in which everything changed and the book took a turn I wasn't expecting, which was very refreshing to read. I liked the dual POV and both the narrators were very interesting to follow around. The characters were very fleshed out, and the mystery aspect kept me wanting to continue reading. Overall, it was a very enjoyable read and I highly reco ...more
Meine Meinung:

Ray, ein Privatdetektiv, soll eine junge Frau finden, doch wie? Keiner ihrer Angehörigen ist bereit ihm etwas zu erzählen. Sie alle schweigen und er tappt im Dunkeln. Nur sehr langsam und unglaublich beschwerlich arbeitet er sich vor und kämpft gegen das Schweigen der Familie Janko.

Was mit Rose geschah ist ein sehr spannendes Buch. Man hat wirklich unglaublich lange keine Ahnung und das Ende ist sehr überraschend. Ich habe es als Leseexemplar bekommen und mich sehr darauf gefreut.
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
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
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
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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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