The Invisible Ones

Stef Penney, Author
Stef Penney. Putnam, $25.95 (416p) ISBN 978-0-399-15771-4
Open Ebook - 416 pages - 978-1-101-55416-6
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Hardcover - 407 pages - 978-0-14-318593-2
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In her mesmerizing sophomore outing, Penney wraps a riddle in a mystery inside an enigma that intrigues from the very first page. As the tale—set in the ’80s—begins, private eye Ray Lovell wakes up in an English hospital with little memory and partial paralysis. While he recovers, other problems present. Lovell Price Investigations is broke and most of its cases involve adultery, about which Ray says: “These sorts of cases... can depress you if you let them.” Then Ray, who is half-Gypsy himself, is offered a job by a fellow Gypsy, Leon Wood, who wants Ray to find his daughter, Rose, who he hasn’t seen or spoken to in seven years, ever since she married Ivo Janko, another Gypsy (or traveler, as the British often call them). Why Leon wants to find Rose after so much time begins the mystery. He tells Ray it’s because her mother has died and she should know, but Leon suspects foul play even though Rose’s husband claims she ran off with a “gorjio” right after having a child, but Leon suspects foul play. Given his Gypsy heritage, Ray is able to insert himself into the itinerant lifestyle of that world—exactly the reason why Leon has hired him. But even with his knowledge of the traveling life, Ray is surprised by the stonewalling and half-truths he encounters while trying to learn the Janko family’s secrets. The narrative slides seamlessly between Ray’s point of view and that of J.J., Ivo’s cousin’s son, giving the reader a balanced perspective—and serving up two truly shocking twists at the story’s end. 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, The Tenderness of Wolves. (Jan.)
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