The Invisible Ones by Stef Penney
Quercus (paperback), 2011
BLURB FROM THE COVER
Rose Janko has been missing for seven years. Her family has made no attempt to find her. Why?
Ray Lovell, private investigator, has been hired to discover Rose’s fate. But he must first win the trust of the secretive, deceptive, dangerous Janko family, whose son Ivo became Rose’s husband.
If Ray can get to the Jankos, he knows he can find the truth. If he fails, his life – and Rose’s – hangs in the balance..
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.
I loved The Invisible Ones. Penney’s debut novel, The Tenderness of Wolves is amazing so I couldn’t wait to read what she came up with next. The Invisible Ones is very different in a good way. The Invisible Ones alternates between two first person narrators, Ray, a PI hired to find Rose and JJ, a teenage gypsy boy who is part of Rose’s family. Penny makes this work very well. I like the different perspectives offered. Ray is an outsider who gradually finds out about the Jankos during his investigating. JJ offers an insider’s perspective. I liked this. The Invisible Ones is one of the few novels I’ve read that deals with Gypsy lifestyles. It was strange to read this at the same time as Thinner by Stephen King. I really enjoyed reading about the Jankos and their way of life through JJ’s eyes. I thought it was interesting that Ray was a half gypsy which made the Janko family trust him more than if he had just been a PI with no Romany blood. The characters in The Invisible Ones were all very well-written. I liked Ray a lot. I also liked the Jankos. The Invisible Ones kept me guessing right until the end. I had no clue what was really going on. Did Rose really leave because she was horrified that her son Christo had the mysterious family disease which caused him to be severely underdeveloped? Did she run off with a non-Romany? Did the Jankos kill her? Why did no-one report her missing for seven years? Penny’s revelation about what really happened to Rose surprised me. The Invisible Ones opens with Ray in hospital after being mysteriously poisoned. This event takes place during the course of his investigation and the truth of what happened to him is not revealed until much later. I liked the fact The Invisible Ones doesn’t end when Ray find out what happened to Rose. I found the further revelations about Ivo and the bones found on the site where Rose went missing completely surprising. The Invisible Ones is an intriguing, well-written and interesting mystery. Penney is working on her third novel and I look forward to it.