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on August 25, 2004
"I'll just read the first few pages."

Or so I thought as I began Chapter One of INVISIBLE at 11:30 PM on a Tuesday night. But I hadn't figured the heroine-spunky Ivy Malone-or her humor-laced story, into my plans.

Four hours later, I was reading the last lines of the book through gritty, but determined eyes, wishing very much that I could claim Ivy Malone as my grandmother, or at least my next-door neighbor.

To say this book is delightful is hardly sufficient. Written from a first person point of view, which is a different voice from McCourtney's past offerings, INVISIBLE is an absolute triumph. Wit and wisdom, pathos and perseverance, and downright eccentricity flow from Ivy's first vision of Nixon in her tomato patch, to her race with flying bullets, really bad bad guys, and the Hound of the Baskervilles in a grungy auto wrecking yard.

And while the tone of the story is humorous from start to finish, a number of deep questions are also addressed. Questions about the goodness and reality of God in the face of death, loss, and injury. Questions about what's right and what's wrong when justice must be served. Questions about where and how to belong in a world that seems to have forgotten you, or perhaps never noticed you in the first place.

In Ivy Malone, readers will find a combination of wacky humor, endearing stubbornness, and unconventional sincerity. In Ivy's story, readers will slink through torn up gravesites, take a dive inside a murdered woman's closet, and watch the stars with a cute guy named Mac. And that's just the beginning!

INVISIBLE is a wild and highly entertaining ride from the first chapter to the last word.

I can't wait for the release of the sequel, IN PLAIN SIGHT, where I'm sure Ivy, and her big white Thunderbird, will cruise into more mayhem, mischief, and maybe even some good old fashioned romance.

Ivy, you go girl:)
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on March 8, 2011
I picked this up as a kindle freebie, just looking for an easy an entertaining read. The writing is very good, the character (Ivy Malone) is fun and well developed, and the supporting characters are varied and interesting. The plot is pretty good too. It's nice having a main character who is an older woman -- there are thoughts and observations that would not be possible for another type of character. I'm glad I got the book, and I enjoyed it very much.
I was surprised at the Christian slant, as that was not obvious from the kindle search -- although I would have seen that if I'd been shopping on Amazon's website instead. I'm actually glad I didn't know that, because I would have avoided the book. So I'm glad I read it, and I might even read another by this author. I think the Christianity fit very much with the character, and provided some of her motivations for thinking and doing certain things. It was a part of the character. Very credible, and the religion is not preachy but just used to describe the character. Not offensive, even if you're not religious, but by the end of the book I felt it was just a little over-used. Still, I'm definitely not a Christian, and I am easily put off by such, and I was not put off. Don't avoid the book over it. Read it anyway. It's a good read, and very enjoyable.
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on November 10, 2010
As a secular reader who was just looking for a light-hearted mystery, I found the religious content rather distracting and a bit heavy-handed. The writing is breezy and humorous, but this book is very much geared toward a Christian reader. I find it a bit irritating that the description completely omitted this significant aspect, I suspect to attract a wider audience. My reading time is limited and I don't like feeling misled. Please just be honest in the description, as the book seems like a fun read for its intended audience.
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on May 19, 2005
Ivy Malone, a spunky, grey-haired widow, realizes the world is passing her by, leaving her unnoticed and invisible. She, however, has no intention of silently growing old and passing away.

Deciding to put this newfound inconspicuousness to good use, she determines to snare some local vandals, who have been violating the cemetery. Little does she know that there are more forces at work than mere vandalism. Throw in the murder of a neighbor and soon danger is knocking at Ivy's door as well. Will Ivy's snooping land her in trouble too deep for her to handle? Or will the resourceful Ivy Malone be clever and "invisible" enough to not only save herself, but apprehend the bad guys, as well?

There's nothing invisible about McCourtney's irresistible humor, clever story-crafting, or delightful characters. After having read Invisible, one can't help but hope that this new series will be a long one. A romping good mystery.

Craig Hart - CraigHart.net/ChristianLit Magazine
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on February 20, 2006
As a senior citizen most of the time society pays you little attention; to most elderly people this is peaceful, but to some like Ivy Malone, it is a great advantage to get want she wants. In Ms. Malone's case, it's useful for going unnoticed (hence the title "Invisible") during any of her investigations. So when a local cemetery where her aunt and uncle are buried is found vandalized, she plans to avenge her relatives and decides to spring into action.
Thea, the next door neighbor and best friend of Ivy Malone has just died. Before she went she rented part of her home to a young lady by the name of Kendra Alexander. During this time Ivy feels as though everyone in the world is passing by her, or as if she really has no importance in life. However, as soon as she learns of the police deciding not to investigate a local cemetery being vandalized she feels a great breath of inspiration and starts taking action by herself. Soon the investigation seems to get more and more dangerous for Ivy Malone, as shortly after deciding to take the case young Kendra Alexander is reported missing and eventually found murdered in a nearby river. Using her "invisible" status, Ivy Malone does some great sleuthing until she eventually finds the vandals and they are apprehended by the police.
There are many things that make Invisible good book. One of them is the fact that although it's a mystery, it uses a humorous tone all throughout. So not only are you pulled in by the captivating tale of the mystery, but also by the comedy that will keep you even more entertained. In addition to those reasons, the book also discusses deep topics on things such as religion and about where you belong in society. I would recommend Invisible to anyone willing to have a good read.

Lorena McCourtney does a good job of implementing comedy into her mystery. This comedy keeps the reader entertained while also making the reader anxious to continue to get a good laugh. Some examples of this humor are when she finds the Hound of the Baskervilles in a junk yard, when she envisions Nixon in a tomato patch, and when she has a race with flying bullets. The humorous tone of the book made me really enjoy it.
Ironically, a humorous tone is not the only thing included in Invisible, but also deep topics that make you think. For example, one deep topic is when Ivy Malone feels as though she is no longer important to society because she is an elderly lady. Is that necessarily true or not? Another is during the book, Ivy Malone still continues to praise God although all these bad things start happening in her life. Some people always speculate if there is a god then why do bad things happen to good people, and this shows another case of that. This attribute of the book makes it more versatile and attracts an even wider audience than the usual mystery and comedy fans.
The main reason I liked this book is because of the story of the mystery itself. I thought it was pretty cool how the author used Ivy Malone's old age as a way to go unnoticed through her investigations. I also liked how the motivation for the protagonist is set up, by having her uncle's and aunt's tombstones vandalized and her feeling inspired and vengeful.

Invisible uses a good mix of humor, mystery, and description that keeps the reader interested. In addition, it discusses deep topics that include religious beliefs and the difference between right and wrong. Overall, Lorena McCourtney's book is a well rounded mystery, while also incorporating in other genres such as comedy and religious writing to make it even more interesting and better.

(...)
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on February 10, 2011
I downloaded this book onto my Kindle because it was free and I love mysteries. I was also glad to see a book featuring an elderly female protaganist, as that doesn't happen often! However, I figured out the mystery part very early on, and anyone who reads mysteries will likely do so as well. The rest of the book was just uncomfortable and sort of boring. About a 1/4 of the way through, I realized Ivy was talking and thinking about God a lot. About 1/2 way through, I realized Ivy been to church and involved in religious discussions with no real substance for a good portion of the story. But it was when Ivy talked about when she "accepted Jesus Christ as [her] personal savior" that I felt truly duped. I don't mind religious characters, particularly if discussion is an essential part of their development, but this was very clearly, and very simply, a Christian book. The summary provided by Amazon gave no indication of this, and the reviews I skimmed didn't highlight it, either.

There's also a generous dose of slut-shaming in the story. (ZOMG! A clingy dress! With a slit!)

I admit I'm not the target audience for this story, but I felt I should share my experience in case others who don't want to spend their reading time on a mediocre mystery with a distinctly Christian bend should find themselves downloading it.
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VINE VOICEon July 17, 2007
As an fan of Mrs. Pollifax and Miss Marple mysteries I found this to be a delightful read. It is not a fast-paced thriller by any means yet it kept my interest throughout the book.

Ivy Malone discovers that her advancing age has brought on an unexpected curse and gift. She feels invisible to the world at large. This depressing thought is quickly found to be a blessing in disguise as it gives her the freedom to look deeper into mysterious events going on in her little town. From staking out a cemeterty at night to investigating two murders Ivy Malone is not your average senior citizen.

Even though the book is a mystery it also has a light-hearted charm about it. It is a fun way to take a break from heart-pumping suspense books that require an hour of cool-down time after completion. It could only have been more perfect if it had been enjoyed with some tea and cookies.
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on December 25, 2010
I have nothing against christian books but they should identify themselves as having a religous slant and not be sold as your regular mystery.
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on December 25, 2010
Ivy is (or could be) a great character -- if a bit dim. (A big fat clue is dropped right on the floor in front of her at the beginning of the book that she doesn't see.) Of course, the sleuths can't be too swift or mystery books would end after 20 pages.
Alas, this book did not end at 20 pages. I thought I could get past the preachiness but the woman does not let up. You know EVERY detail of her religious life before you know very much about her.

I had to give up. (And yes, it's a BIG cheat that the description doesn't mention the most important thing about Ivy: she's more religious than anyone I've met in decades!)
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on September 6, 2011
I got this one as a freebie, and I'm glad I did. I don't mind Christian books at all, but this one felt more proselytizing than any of the others I've read - and I'm a Christian. The plot was believable up to a point, but then it just got ridiculous. I could put all of that aside if the ending was more than a lead in to the next book. I've read plenty of mystery series, and most of them allow each volume to stand alone. This series is nothing like that. Sure, one of the main mysteries is resolved, but it leaves off with a big cliffhanger. Not fun. I won't be looking any further for Ivy Malone.
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