The Invisible Ones by Stef Penney
Published by: Penguin
Published on: January 5, 2012
Page Count: 416
My Reading Format: Audiobook purchased through Audible.com using a monthly credit.
Audiobook Published by: Penguin Audio
Narrator: Dan Stevens
Audiobook Length: 11 hours 23 minutes
Available Formats: Hardcover, eBook, and Audiobook
Synopsis from the Publisher
Small-time private investigator 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 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-whose discovery Ray can’t help suspecting is connected to Rose’s disappearance. . . .
Review from My Bookshelf
Did you ever begin a book and then suddenly notice that themes from the book started to appear everywhere? I had that type of situation with The Invisible Ones. Suddenly, gypsies were surrounding me, and I don’t just mean My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding, either. They were mentioned in other books, like “From a View to a Kill,” the first short story on the Quantum of Solace audiobook and in conversation overheard. It’s probably just a matter of my brain being more keyed into gypsies that made this happen, but it felt rather spooky.
This book nearly stalked me via Twitter. It was no where on my radar when out of the blue Ellison (@egwreads) asked me if I had read it. She quite literally demanded that I read it. Jen (@devourerofbooks) jumped in to let me know that the audiobook was superb. My arm only twists so much before I give in and, as it happened, I had an extra Audible credit so I picked it up. I started it soon after and became lost in the world of Ray and the Jankos.
The novel is told from the perspective of both Ray, the man investigating the long term disappearance of a gypsy woman, and J.J., a teenage member of the Janko family trying to find his way in the world. Ray’s story isn’t told in chronological order, which adds an additional layer to the mystery. What made Ray’s story so interesting was his foot in/foot out connection to the gypsy world. He was perhaps trusted more than a complete outsider, but he was not completely one of them, either. The same is true on the other side. Although he owns the business, it is his partner, who is often assumed to be the man in control. He, too, seemed torn about where he belonged. That was the aspect of his character that I found the most interesting. J.J., however, is the most interesting character in the novel. Coming of age is confusing in and of itself, but to live in a family full of secrets and with a cousin dying of a family affliction makes doing so that much more difficult. Yet, he is full of insight. Ray’s questions coincide and in many ways exacerbate the questions J.J. has himself. Being next to him as he learns his limits was quite an experience.
The Invisible Ones is narrated by Dan Stevens. As I am a late adopter of Downton Abbey, he was unfamiliar to me at the time I listened to this audiobook. In fact, I just started the series as I began writing this review. In many ways, I’m very happy about that. I had no expectations of him or for him to color the experience. He well distinguished each of the major characters and I just loved what he did with J.J. I hope that he continues to narrate audiobooks. He delights both on screen and off.
Reading The Invisible Ones made me wonder why I have left The Tenderness of Wolves untouched on my shelves practically since it was published. Steph Penney is a lively and engaging author. I am thankful to have had this audiobook thrust down my throat. Ha! I highly recommend it.