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The Invisible Ones

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  4,127 ratings  ·  743 reviews
Rose Janko is missing. It has been seven years since she disappeared, and nobody said a word. Now, following the death of his wife, her father Leon feels compelled to find her. Rumour had it she ran off when her baby boy was born with the family's genetic disorder. Leon is not so sure. He wants to know the truth and he hires a private investigator to discover it - Ray Love ...more
Hardcover, 399 pages
Published January 5th 2012 by Putnam Adult (first published January 1st 2011)
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Deb Dear Mary, this is a mystery book. To find out the answer to this question and many others you'll need to read the book, or ask it somewhere where ans…moreDear Mary, this is a mystery book. To find out the answer to this question and many others you'll need to read the book, or ask it somewhere where answering it wouldn't spoil everyone who hasn't read it coming to this webpage. Spoilers can ruin books for many people. This particular book was ruined for me by your question and by the answer given to it by another user. I do not wish to repeat the experience and am now wary of using this site for other books I want to read because I fear being spoiled before I even get to the reviews.(less)
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Average rating 3.66  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,127 ratings  ·  743 reviews

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Dec 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I loved The Tenderness of Wolves, so I had high hopes for this novel. This is a different book from that, but no less impressive. It centres on the gypsy community, its folklore, customs and rituals. The focus is on the Janko family and the disappearance of Rose, the wife of Ivo, nearly seven years ago. She apparently left after the birth of Christo who had inherited the family disease. She could not cope and ran of with a gorgio (non gypsy).

Ray Lovell is a half gypsy, private investigator hired
Jun 30, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime, dark
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
Mar 01, 2012 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
Sep 21, 2014 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 differe
T. Greenwood
Jan 02, 2012 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
Jul 16, 2015 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
Feb 04, 2012 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
Diane S ☔
Oct 17, 2011 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
Aug 06, 2013 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
Andrea Galbusieri
May 23, 2012 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
H.A. Leuschel
Feb 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is an epic novel about how secrets, deception and cultural intricacies can cause a lot of pain and long lasting anguish to people. A private investigator is hired to find a woman who disappeared six years ago from a Gypsy site. The story very much unfolds through his questioning and observations of the people who knew her best before she vanished, intertwined with the very moving sections told from the perspective of a fourteen-year old teenager, nephew of the missing woman's husband. The b ...more
Apr 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Here's the thing, first of all. The story is told from two different sets of "eyes". Both are males of 1/2 Gypsy inheritance. One is 14 and the other close to 40. They are not related but both have life situations and cultural fall outs of a self-identity that is half in/ half out of the Gypsy worldview.

Characterization for these two- J.J. who is the teen, and Ray who is the investigator presently experiencing mental and health issues at this juncture (some tied to the case, some not) is
reading is my hustle
i enjoyed this mystery surrounding the disappearance of a young romany wife & the half romany detective who is hired to investigate. the details about the romany people were interesting & added unexpected depth to this tragic novel. my only quibble is that it was too long & read repetitive in parts. the writing & voice were very good. hats off to Stef Penney in her ability to write from the perspective of a teenage boy. ...more
May 05, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great, tense read with a pretty incredible twist. I love Penney process of writing, it completely immerses you in the world she's created and this one is no exception. Really really enjoyable. ...more
Jennifer (JC-S)
Jul 12, 2012 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
Joe Stamber
Jan 29, 2015 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
Tom Burke
Mar 21, 2012 rated it liked it
When I first started The Invisible Ones I thought, "Oh no, this is going to be tedious." The story follows two arcs that predictably come together: an investigator looking for a missing woman and a gypsy family living on the "road". The gypsy life is so strange and different that I thought I would tire of it and give up.

But as is so often the case, I persisted and slowly got enveloped in a strange and interesting story. There is quite a big reveal at the end and I don't want to spoil it, but th
Mar 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, listened-to
For a listen, I enjoyed this quite a lot. Would it have kept me as riveted if I were just reading? I don't know, but the pacing was very good and I think the dual narrators/perspectives helped, too, in keeping the plot moving forward. Dan Stevens does an incredible job in giving every character, even females, a distinct voice and feel. The basic plot is about a young gypsy woman who went missing some years ago and the private detective hired to find her. As he questions various family members an ...more
Aug 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
Ray Lovell, a private investigator, is hired to find Rose Janko by her father. Rose, a "Traveler" or Gypsy, disappeared seven years ago, and her husband's family isn't talking. A good mystery, well written and a fascinating look into the lives of these often unseen people. ...more
Oct 04, 2012 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. ...more
Liza Perrat
Dec 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
A riveting mystery from a great storyteller!
Aug 09, 2017 rated it liked it
A very interesting story about the Romanies who are better known as gypsies. The book is about a missing woman. Her father hires a private investigator to find out why she went missing six years before. The story is told from two perspectives: the PI and JJ, the nephew of the missing woman. It is a very exciting book, and the mystery isn't solved until the very end. I was definitely fooled by it, too. ...more
Nicole Cenkova
Apr 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: best-of-the-best
Wow, that ending was really.. well, unexpected. So dark, so desperate. A decision that changed and ruined so many lives.
This story kept me up all night, as I was unable to put the book down until I reached the conclusion of the mystery. I loved every part of it - the setting, the pace, the characters and how it all ended well even though everyone had changed by the end of it.

I really recommend this read!
3.5 stars
Nov 05, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This was really disappointing. I really enjoyed the Tenderness of Wolves but the Invisible Ones didn't live up to the earlier book for me. ...more
Luanne Ollivier
Jan 26, 2012 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
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
Nicole | The Readerly Report
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
Jan 10, 2012 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
May 28, 2012 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
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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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