Summary

Among my absolutely favorite novels (let alone debuts) of the last few years is Penney's The Tenderness of Wolves, an edge-of-civilization epic as magisterial, tender, and bristling as they come. (The Costa folks agreed, giving it the Book of the Year award in 2007.) So I'm already hitting up the publisher for this book. Admirably, Penney does something different here, departing from the 19th-century Canadian setting of Wolves for 1980s rural England, as small-potatoes private investigator Ray Lovell wrestles with a troublesome case. He's been asked to find Rose Janko, daughter-in-law in a Gypsy family and missing for seven years. But the Jankos stonewall him fiercely-are they resigned or hiding something?-and he ends up in hospital. Get this one; I promise that it will be good.


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. . . .