Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Invisible Ones; Stef Penney

Author:  Stef Penney
Publication Year: 2012
Publisher: Putnam
Edition: ARC
Source: Amazon Vine
Setting: England
Date Completed: 1/22/2012
Rating: 4/5
Recommend: yes

Some of you may recall that a few weeks ago I quoted an intro from Stef Penney's new novel, The Invisible Ones.  It was one that really made me curious for more....(here it is again in case you missed it):

St. Luke's Hospital
"When I woke up, I remembered nothing--apart from one thing.  And little enough of that:  I remember that I was lying on my back while the woman was straddling me, grinding her hips against mine,  I have a feeling it was embarrassingly quick; but then, it had been a while.  The thing is, I remember how it felt, but not what anything looked like.  When I try to picture her face, I can't.  When I try to picture the surroundings, I can't.  I can't picture anything at all.  I try; I try really hard, because I'm worried.

After some time, one thing comes back to me: the taste of ashes."

In this unusual mystery, set in the 80s, Ray Lovell is a private investigator who finds himself in the situation quoted above.  Ray, because of his gypsy descent, has been hired by Leon Wood, to help find his daughter Rose, who went missing seven years earlier after marrying Ivo JankoLeon is a gypsy himself, who does not trust the authorities, and thinks Lovell, is the one who can help find Rose. The Janko family is a tight knit family of gypsies who keep to themselves. After Rose disappeared, no one bothered to even notify authorities, so Leon is suspecting that she may have been a victim of foul play. The Jankos think she ran off with someone else, and have hoped to have seen the last of her.

The story alternates between two narratives, Ray, the investigator, and JJ (Jimmy Janko) a 14-year old who is concerned about his uncle Ivo.  JJ is also concerned about little Christo, Ivo's young son who is suffering from a rare disease, that has stricken other male members of theJanko family, including Ivo when he was a young child.

PI Lovell has his work cut out for him, as there is plenty of misinformation which he needs to dissect, and plenty of twists and turns along the way,.  The secrets are plentiful in the story, so even though the plot line moved slowly at times, I was sucked in early and anxious to find out what was actually going on.

I cannot recall ever reading a mystery quite like this one.  It was interesting to find out about the gypsy culture, and the author really did a good job in this respect.  Readers who enjoy a good mystery that will keep you wondering until the end should enjoy this book. I was totally taken by surprise with the ending.


  1. I think this book sounds intriguing. Plus the whole "taken by surprise by the ending". Yes, I'm hooked. LOL

  2. Books that have a surprise ending can be very good!

  3. Diane, this does sound like an unusual mystery, and a good one. Very nice review, as always. I had not heard of this book before.

  4. I love the gypsy angle here! Great review of a worthy book!

  5. I have read very little about gypsys, and their culture fascinates me. I am betting that I would love this one, and will be looking for it when I can. This was a great review and made me so, so curious!

  6. This one sounds really good. I am not all that into mysteries but this one sounds a bit different.

  7. Ooh, a chance to read a mystery and learn about the gypsy culture too. I'm in.

  8. I think this book sounds fascinating since the story-line seems to contain many unusual issues or details. I know only a little bit about the gypsy culture, one thing being that they tend to be very insular, I think. I'd certainly enjoy getting to know more about them. I like good mysteries especially ones that are different rather than run of the mill. And any mystery story that keeps you guessing til the end and then surprises you is totally worth reading!
    I'm so glad you enjoyed this one, Diane!

  9. Oh … sounds good. I love being surprised and kept guessing. I'll have to see if I can still "score" this at Amazon Vine.

  10. Glad to hear it lived up to the promise of that intro!

  11. I love mysteries with surprise endings. SOunds like a winner!

  12. I think I've heard someone else mention this book earlier to me, though for the life of me I can't remember who. This time I wrote it down so I won't forget. Thanks for the wonderful review.

  13. I must have missed this one when you mentioned it earlier, but I have it added to my list now. I'm always on the lookout for something different.

  14. Your thoughts have made me want to move this book closer to the top of my TBR pile.


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