Penney, Stef. The Invisible Ones

Private investigator Ray Lovell thought he’d left his Gypsy roots far behind him. His father left the travelling life long ago to “live in bricks” with Ray’s gorgie—non-Gypsy—mother and Ray himself has never lived on the road. His main connection to that life was childhood trips to visit his father’s family in their trailers.  But he finds himself pulled back into the often tangled webs of Gypsy family when Leon Wood, a Gypsy man, hires him to locate his missing daughter. No one but a Gypsy would get far, Leon insists, and Ray reluctantly takes the case. Rose Wood—Rose Janko at the time of her disappearance—has been missing for seven years and Ray doesn’t think he’ll get too far. But when he interviews the seemingly cursed Janko family—not only did Rose vanish, but the males of the family are plagued by an always-fatal degenerative disease of mysterious origins—Ray soon finds that nothing is as it seems and that it’s finally time for the Janko family secrets to come to light. When Ray lands in the hospital, poisoned near-fatally and partially paralyzed, his drive to see this case through to the end intensifies.

Narrated alternately by Ray Lovell, a flawed but driven man; and young JJ, a Gypsy boy trying hard to understand his place in both the Janko clan and the greater world, The Invisible Ones is both a compelling mystery and also a fascinating glimpse into an unfamiliar culture and lifestyle. Between this and her debut novel, The Tenderness of Wolves, it is obvious that Stef Penney is an author to watch.

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