The Invisible Ones by Stef Penney

If Ray Lovell has learned anything as a private investigator, it’s that sometimes it’s better not to know.  Or as he muses after informing yet another hapless husband that yes, his wife is cheating on him, “Ignorance is bliss.  Knowledge is power.  Which would you prefer?”

Knowledge can also be dangerous, as Ray finds out first hand in this quirky mystery.  He’s been approached by Leon Wood, who wants to hire him to find out what happened to his daughter, Rose.  She disappeared years ago, after marrying into the Janko family and giving birth to a son.  Ray isn’t sure he wants to take this case.  He’s shied away from missing persons cases ever since he worked on the Georgia Millington case—which ended badly.

But Leon insists that no one else will do.  You see, Leon Wood is a Gypsy and so is Ray Lovell.  Or at least Ray is half Gypsy, on his father’s side.  And Leon would never hire a gorjio, or non-Romany.  A gorjio would never be able to get the Janko family to answer questions about Rose.  But a private investigator who’s also a Gypsy?  He might, just might, stand a chance.   So Ray takes the case and enters the world of English Gypsies in order to solve the riddle of what happened to Rose.

The story is told from two points of view—Ray’s and that of J.J. Janko, a teenage member of the clan Rose married into—which I found very effective.  The story has a great plot.  But what I found most fascinating was Penney’s portrait of the world of the Romany, a world invisible to most.  But just because it’s invisible doesn’t mean it’s harmless.  Ray Lovell is a man prodding at the secrets of a family and a people he doesn’t fully understand, and uncovering them will have shocking consequences. The author also has an interesting interview about this book available online.

Find and reserve this new book in our catalog.


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