The Invisible Ones by Stef PenneyThe Invisible Ones by Stef Penney

The Invisible Ones

byStef Penney

Paperback | December 4, 2012

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Small-time private investor 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 for 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—the discovery of which Ray can’t help suspecting is connected to Rose’s disappearance.

Stef Penney was born and raised in Edinburgh, Scotland . Her debut novel, The Tenderness of Wolves, was an international bestseller and received the prestigious Costa Award. She is also a screenwriter.
Title:The Invisible OnesFormat:PaperbackDimensions:424 pages, 8.23 × 5.3 × 1.23 inPublished:December 4, 2012Publisher:Penguin CanadaLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0143185934

ISBN - 13:9780143185932

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Rated 4 out of 5 by from Fantastic Read That Keeps You Guessing Till the End (More like 4.5 stars) My initial thought on Penney's book was that it was just another detective mystery, but almost right off the bat it proves to be so much more. All the characters are so well developed, allowing you to really get a feel for who these people are. The altering viewpoints allow for additional insight, yet maintaining the mystery as both Ray and JJ try to find some answers to their questions. While the "main" character may be Ray, JJ really shines through and shows some growth and depth in his character. While the timing in Part 2 felt a bit confusing, the overall pacing & layout of the story is well done. Just when you think you have the story all figured out, the ending will leave your jaw hanging open. As one character mentions to "let sleeping dogs lie", this old adage seems to be a very appropriate theme for the entire novel. Once you start pulling and pulling at that string, digging deeper and deeper, you better be prepared for what you uncover. A fantastic read that keeps you guessing and on the edge of your seat till the very end! This and other reviews can be found at
Date published: 2012-01-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Original and different 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 cheating spouse cases and avoids missing persons after a case went really wrong.. But when Leon Wood comes into the office asking Ray to hunt down his daughter Rose, he hesitates. Wood is a traveller - a Romany - a gypsy. Leon has approached Ray as he knows that he is half gypsy himself. The case seems impossible. Wood has not seen his daughter in 7 years - since the day of her wedding in 1978 to Ivo Janko, the last in a line of 'black blood' travellers. But - he agrees. As Ray delves back into a world he knows, but isn't a part of any longer, he is met with resistance, lies, indifference and hostility. No one is overly concerned where Rose is. "Suddenly I am absolutely determined to find her, because no one else seems really bothered". The Invisible Ones is told from two parallel viewpoints - that of Ray and of JJ - a fourteen year old boy who is part of the Janko family - in alternating chapters. This was guaranteed to keep me up late - I simply had to keep reading to find out what was happening with the other character. The narrative with Ray flips from present to past as his memory slowly returns. Ray and JJ are both on journeys, although they may not realize it. Ray rediscovers what it means to be gypsy and at the same time he tries to put his disastrous personal life back on track. Finding Rose becomes a quest long after others would have quit. JJ is an interesting character. He has never 'lived in bricks', having grown up in caravans. He is gypsy, but finds himself sometimes yearning for some 'gorgio' ways.(non Romany) But his ultimate loyalty is to his family. JJ is innocent, yet worldly - he was my favourite character. I enjoyed the slow building pace of the book as the story slowly unfolded. The characters themselves were just as much of a mystery. I was fascinated with the descriptions of Romany life and culture. (The book is set in England) The whole premise of the book was unique and not your run of the mill mystery. I had paid enough attention to subtle clues dropped during the last half of the book that I had a good idea wheat the ending was going to be. But this didn't detract from my enjoyment - and I was only partially correct. Definitely recommended - especially for those looking for something a little different.
Date published: 2012-01-26

Editorial Reviews

“Penney’s produced another standout effort … The Invisible Ones exceeds what we expect from a good mystery novel by delivering weighty themes with the light touch of one immersed in creating suspense: the result is a delight, with a kicker that shocks and satisfies, to boot.” - Maclean's“Penney … keeps her mystery on a nice, slow boil while offering fascinating glimpses of Gypsies.” - The New York Times“Penney’s produced another standout effort … The Invisible Ones exceeds what we expect from a good mystery novel by delivering weighty themes with the light touch of one immersed in creating suspense: the result is a delight, with a kicker that shocks and satisfies, to boot.” - Maclean’s“This novel pulses with film-noir-esque suspense … A moving meditation on belonging and acceptance.” - People“Penney is a good storyteller. She unfurls various mysterious plot possibilities and unearths the insecurities that lurk in families and relationships. She imagines the Romany world carefully, avoiding cliché or judgement or anything too negative … there are moments of transcendence here, moments where Penney’s writing really excels.” - Sunday Times (U.K.)“If her debut was a literary Western, then her new tale is something of a bookish version of a Bogart puzzler. As a film graduate, Penney’s approach to prose is cinematic and inclusive.” - Independent on Sunday (U.K.)“The mystery element of the story is adroitly handled, as clues and subtle inconsistencies in the Janko story are dropped in. Yet its destination is a total surprise … The Invisible Ones is a book about love, deception, growing up, belonging, being an outsider and about how all our presents are haunted by our pasts. Its author is a supreme story-teller on top form.” - The Times (U.K.)“Penney … keeps her mystery on a nice, slow boil while offering fascinating glimpses of Gypsies.” - The New York Times“It would take far longer than my allotted space to explain the dense plot of this highly impressive thriller … A terrific novel with much disturbing wisdom amid the thrills.” - Reader’s Digest (U.K.)“[A] haunting tale … This is a beautifully crafted novel with skilful characterisation and a plot which twists and turns … This story of loss, deceit and family tragedy lingers long after you’ve finished the book.” - Daily Express (U.K.)“Penney’s portrayal of the gypsy way of life is sympathetic. Seemingly bizarre customs are given a context; strong love is set against deadening control … A marvellously atmospheric piece of writing.” - Financial Times (U.K.)“This is a murder mystery unpicked at the seams, turned inside out, and stitched together with threads of myth, old griefs, twisted forms of love and complex family ties into something utterly new and utterly enthralling. Warning: you will not get anything else done till you finish the last page of this book.” - Tana French, author of The Likeness and In the Woods“Penney takes her time building suspense and drawing us into the heads of her characters, but never lets up on intriguing and mysterious situations … She knows how to tell a story, how to reach her readers and hold them from start to finish. Indeed, she may be one of the best storytellers we have at the moment.” - The Scotsman“The insular Romany world is a fascinating setting for a novel … [Penney] manages to weave the culture’s rich history throughout the fabric of the book and is adept at contrasting the worlds of tradition with the modern … A compelling mystery and Penney is a talented storyteller” - The Irish Independent“What readers will remember is the way of life that Penney describes so evocatively and the myth-exploding details about travelling families … I still found it hard to put down.” - Literary Review (U.K.)“The story ends with a bone-rattling surprise … Another stunner from Penney; highly recommended.” - Library Journal (starred review)“In her mesmerizing sophomore outing, Penney wraps a riddle in a mystery inside an enigma that intrigues from the very first page … Fast-paced, with characters who will live in full color inside the reader’s head, Penney delivers an impressive follow-up to her debut bestseller.” - Publishers Weekly (starred review)“Penney gives her plot plenty of twists and saves the best for the end, with a truly unforeseen and unpredictable conclusion.” - Kirkus Reviews