Read His Name Is John by Dorien Grey Online


Elliott Smith never considered himself to be anything special, if you didn't count having wealthy parents, whom he largely ignores. His profession is buying, restoring and reselling small apartment buildings around Chicago. Gay and contentedly single at 38, he has, in addition to his globetrotting parents, a devoted sister, a police detective brother-in-law, two nieces andElliott Smith never considered himself to be anything special, if you didn't count having wealthy parents, whom he largely ignores. His profession is buying, restoring and reselling small apartment buildings around Chicago. Gay and contentedly single at 38, he has, in addition to his globetrotting parents, a devoted sister, a police detective brother-in-law, two nieces and a nephew. Everything in his life is going along perfectly fine until he wakes in the hospital after being hit by a car aware of being watched by someone who isn't there. Despite being sure what happens next can be attributed to his injuries from the accident, Elliott is reluctantly, inexorably, drawn into the search to find a name for the unidentified murdered man who died next to him in the Emergency Room-and who killed him. His investigation takes him on a trail that leads from photographs to motor homes, a body hidden behind a wall for more than sixty years, old neighbors and old enemies, and a nun with a secret she does not know she holds. Along the way, Elliott also finds himself on the threshold of a new relationship with potential he never would have imagined. Elliott invites you to join him on his search in this first book of a new series by popular mystery author Dorien Grey, whose Dick Hardesty mystery series has included four finalists for a Lambda Literary Award....

Title : His Name Is John
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781934841044
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 199 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

His Name Is John Reviews

  • Elisa Rolle
    2019-03-27 01:53

    When I started this book I wasn't expecting to find romance in it, since it was presented as an old classic sleuthing novel, and so you can imagine my surprise when the hero, Elliott, not only has a romance, he has THREE romance, two of them at the same time, and he is not even a slut ;-)But I will try to start from the beginning. Elliott is a very wealthy man without attitude, who chose to work not for necessity but for pleasure. He loves the olf fashioned buildings of Chicago (a thing Chicago is famous for and I can say since I wandered for the city centre searching for them when i was there) and he made a work of them: he buys a building at time, gives it new life to then selling it to trusted hands. And sometime he falls in love for a building so much that he doesn't have the heart to sell it, and so Elliott has a strange collection: where other people collect miniatures, he collects real buildings. If you find strange that I spend so much time talking of Elliott's hobby, it is since most of Elliott's passion is reserved to his love for those old buildings, on a personal level he is quite aloof, almost detached. Elliott is a real nice guy, he seems to have no problem to find a guy when he wants it, and all his past lovers are still in nice terms with him... also since Elliott is so good that he is never the one to dump, they dumped him, always pleading forgiveness... mmm, I believe that Elliott is real good to not become involved when he doesn't want it.When the story starts, Elliott is in hospital recovering from an accident and he "feels" that someone else is in the room. Elliott, practical guy he is, soon realizes that the presence is a ghost, and it doesn't take him much to link the ghost, whose first words were, My name is John, to the John Doe who was admitted in the ER at his same time, and who unfortunately died. The ghost is not actually your usual ghost, he is as I said, a presence, he talks in Elliott's mind when said mind is free from any other thought (means when Elliott is asleep), and makes clear his presence giving strange feelings to Elliott regarding objects and pictures. The ghost apparently is suffering from amnesia, and Elliott's quest to find who he is goes pace to pace with his ability to recall little pieces of his past life. So the main mystery, the core of the book, is to find out who was John, and the author is very good in letting the reader catches only little clues here and there. I pretty much soon suspected who John was, but I had an advantage that not many of you will have. Anyway I don't want to say more on it, since as I always say, you can't summarize a mystery without risking to give up the mystery itself.Let us instead talk of Elliott's personal life, that is for me almost as interest as the mystery itself. At the beginning of the book, Elliott is in an on / off relationship with Rick; Rick is a nice guy, but sincerely I don't feel like Elliott was really involved; and so I was not surprise when Elliott manages to be dumped again... Rick also took the guilty on himself, and Elliott told him to not worry. I was not so disappointed that the first romance in the book ended in such a cold way, since I was already planning the romance between Elliott and John, the ghost. But no, even if I'm sure to have read something more between Elliott and John than a simple utilitarian bond aimed to discover John's identity, the author has someone else in mind for Elliott. Enter Steve, a young, hot and nice latin american guy who Elliott meets in a club and the same night takes to bed. The relationship between Elliott and Steve is more interesting than the one with Rick, but still I feel like Elliott is not entirely involved, I always feel as if he is taking back something. It's strange Elliott is quite a "physical" man, he has sex both with Rick than with Steve (but not at the same time!), even if the author adopts the the "behind closed door"'s rule, the reader knows that Elliott is not shy or antisocial, but truth be told, I felt a real emotional involvement only with John, and John is not even corporeal!In the end, maybe I'm wrong but for me the real couple here are Elliott and John; Steve is a really nice guy, even John tells so to Elliott, and the reader can't really resent him, since being John a ghost, and an incorporeal ghost, you can't pretend for Elliott to be a monk. And so here my idea that Elliott has two relationship at the same time, one with Steve involving his mind and body, and one with Elliott involving his heart; till the day mind, heart and body will devoted to the same man, Elliott for me remains an on the edge man, still waiting for something.

  • David
    2019-04-16 21:06

    HIS NAME IS JOHN was my introduction to the fictional works of Dorien Grey. Never having read any of his books before, I decided to give it a go based on the recommendations of friends whose opinions I value highly. I opted to start with the smaller of his two series, THE ELLIOTT SMITH MYSTERIES, rather than jumping into his much more prolific DICK HARDESTY MYSTERIES. I made this decision solely because my reading time is very constricted at the current time and I was hesitant to make such a time commitment. From the first page, however, he had me … and by the time I was finished, a hardcore fan I had become. I won’t go into plot details here because so many of the other reviews on this page and other book-related websites do a thorough enough job of that. Rather, I want to focus on the quality of the material. First, and foremost, Dorien Grey is a wonderful writer, not only from the technical knows-his-grammar perspective, but also because he knows how to tell a great story, create suspense, and build a tight plot. His characters are three-dimensional and, therefore, incredibly believable. His dialogue is natural. What I found most compelling, however, is the way he was able to create a mystery, and then walk you through, step-by-step to its resolution, without resorting to clichés and cheap plot devices. Very skillfully, he places clues in front of you without a big, flashing, red arrow screaming at you, “This is a clue!” I also thoroughly enjoyed the blending of three genres: murder mystery, ghost story, and m/m romance. In fact, I was so enthralled with HIS NAME IS JOHN that I immediately set about reading the other books in the Elliott Smith series: AARON’S WAIT and CAESAR’S FALL. I won’t go into detail here about those two wonderful books (I’ll post my comments on the appropriate pages), but suffice it to say the whole series is 5-star worthy. And now, despite the ongoing constraints on my reading time, I plan to move full steam ahead with THE DICK HARDESTY MYSTERIES. I just know I won’t be disappointed.

  • S.J.D. Peterson
    2019-03-22 23:50

    Elliott Smith is hit by a car and rushed to the ER. So already he's having an incredibly bad day. Now they put him in a room and the man on the cart next to him has six bullets in him. So his day isn't going as bad as the other guys. That is until the dead man attaches himself to Elliot. Now he's been hit by a car and he is going completely insane and hearing "dead people"This book is a wonderful mystery with lots of twist and turns and kept me glued to the pages from beginning to end. As the book moved along I found my self completely intrigued by John as Elliot sets out to find out who he is and who murdered him. In this story, Elliot basically has two very strong relationships. One with his artist lover and the other with John. Though it's hard to use the world "real" with a ghost, the relationship Elliot has with John is just that, real. I never put spoilers in my reviews so I'm not going to say anything else about how these two relationships work. What I will say is BUY THIS BOOK. It was fantastic. I can't wait to read more about Elliot, his lover and his ghost. I highly recommend this book!!!

  • Simon
    2019-04-14 02:48

    Loved this story. Loved it. Great plot, great characters, good, strong writing style. Suspense/Thriller/paranormal/who-dunnit.... The main character happens to be gay, no written sex. Fabulous!I admit to guessing the identity of John (Doe) possibly about a third of the way through the novel, probably because I'm used to looking for Agatha Christie's red herrings, and....I have a slight knowledge of written-Italian. Regardless it did not affect my enjoyment of the plot.

  • Yvonne
    2019-03-22 20:59

    This is probably more like a 3.5 stars. I liked the premise and the opening chapter seemed to hold a lot of promise. I would like to have seen more interaction between Elliott and his ghost, but this mainly happened when Elliott was asleep or dreaming. The communication they did have were more along the lines of why are you here and the answer would be I don't know. So definitely not scintillating conversations, although some improvement towards the end of the book. During his awake time, we got to spend time with Elliott as real estate developer, dating (this is a mystery not a romance story but Elliot does develop a relationship with someone) and talking to his brother in law or sister & trying to figure out John's identity. Bringing up the energy level of the characters & the mystery would have helped to make this story seem less plodding. A nice mystery (not that hard to figure out) that could have used a little more sparkle.

  • Lena Grey
    2019-04-09 22:54

    As disconcerting as is would be to get hit by a car, end up in the hospital with a head injury and broken arm, Elliott Smith, from Dorien Grey's book 'His Name is John', has a very unique complication—he hears a voice in his sleep who says his name is John. John can't remember anything else which is disconcerting for both Elliot and John, since he has no idea how to help him. Not only does Elliott doubt his own sanity, he also questions who John is and where he came from. Other than knowing he's the man who died beside him in the Emergency Room, Elliot is at a loss as to how, or even if, he can honor John's request of finding his murderer.Elliott is quite talented in renovations of old buildings. For him, it's more of an artistic expression than a job. He takes great pride in his work. His wealthy, stuffy parents hate his choice. They think it is below him. Fortunately, his sister and her family are wonderfully down-to-earth and loving which helps to balance his life. Elliott seems distant at first, but it's partly due to the fact that he was raised so formally, making it difficult for him to relax and be himself. He's afraid to let go and show his feelings because he doesn't want to be hurt; it's easier to seem aloof. This more or less works for him until he meets the wonderful and understanding Steve who steals his heart before Elliott even realizes it. It's interesting to see Elliott change as he begins to bond with Steve. Love will do that to a person; make us open up to the world and to each other. Even though they are slowly but surely getting closer, they are still very cautious about assuming anything.When John passes through to the spirit world, he becomes a new being. In a sense, he is born again like a baby, but he does retain some residual memories from his former life. As he learns more, John is able to recognize people, places, events, and feelings that he's experienced. I have to admire Elliott for his tenacity, not only for tracking down clues for John's murder investigation, but also for sticking with John through his frustrating adjustment from a corporeal to a non-corporeal being. It was interesting to see how that very unusual relationship develops as John's awareness expands and as Elliott gets better at listening.The mystery is written in a formal style which took a bit of getting used to, but Mr. Grey has such a wonderful grasp of words making his narrations and descriptions well worth the effort. His vivid depictions of the buildings Elliott is renovating, help too, not only imagine the style and grace of each, but also help to portray why Elliott loves them so much. His characters, especially Elliot and John, and their connection lays the groundwork for their interactions later in the story. Also, in any new series, the first book is often the wordiest since the environment and all the characters have to be portrayed along with the plot. 'His Name is John' is an interesting mystery with fascinating paranormal elements and unexpected surprises. I would recommend this novel to anyone who wants a story they have to digest a little more than others, one that's different in the fact that one of the main characters is otherworldly, and is full of adventure and intrigue. Thank you, Mr. Grey, for introducing us to Elliott and John's world.NOTE: This book was provided by the publisher for the purpose of a review on Rainbow Book Reviews.

  • Jon
    2019-04-10 23:49

    His Name Is John – Audio Version Written by Dorien Grey – Narration by Jim Hickey In His Name Is John, prolific author Dorien Grey has achieved the rarity few writers enjoy, which is developing a solid first novel in another series daringly different than Grey’s wildly popular Dick Hardesty private investor mysteries.Once again, Grey has created a colorful cast of characters we love and despise, beginning with the introduction of a middle-age Elliott Smith, a rather mild-mannered man whose vocation is real estate development in the Chicago area. Elliott and his rather motherly sister are siblings of wealthy parents who appear more interested in traveling the world and keeping up appearances than in spending time with their children and grandchildren. Although he is from wealth and privilege, Elliott has achieved wealth of his own by investing in historical, architecturally significant buildings to rehab and sell for profit. A great backstory that provides a solid foundation for the novel that quickly bursts to the forefront when a decades old skeleton is discovered behind a brick wall in the basement of Elliott’s latest project. But, I am getting ahead of myself as the novel begins with Elliott waking up in the ER with a serious head injury…and quickly learns he is not alone. Another man in emergency the same time as Elliott has died and his spirit (which Elliott cannot see) but knows is there has locked onto Elliott for reasons unknown. Once on the mend, Elliott feels a sense of obligation to help the “spirit”, who knows only that his name is “John”, learn who the man was and how he had died.Dorien Grey has written an extraordinarily, inventive, highly imaginative mystery within a mystery, complete with well-developed characters and tightly plotted prose. The incredible talent of narrator, Jim Hickey, makes this already terrific novel an even more enjoyable listen. Those listening to the audio version of His Name Is John will quickly slip into a comfortable zone hearing Hickey’s words, the perfect choice of narrator for this novel, not to mention lending the right voice to Elliott Smith’s character. I am looking forward to reading more Elliott Smith mysteries and hope Grey continues with Jim Hickey as narrator for future audio releases.

  • Diana
    2019-04-05 20:58

    This was a great well-written rollercoaster ride, that had me guessing right to the end. It was a very enjoyable read that had a way of putting you right in the story and able to picture the actions as the author was writing them. I'm looking forward to reading more of Elliot Smith's adventures and life.

  • Ami
    2019-04-09 03:00

    I think the story is good - building up to the conclusion in the end. However, I kinda expected the relationship part to be a little "meaty" and that's what makes this book not as warmth as I want it to be.

  • Sunne
    2019-03-23 02:12

    Audiobook, narrator is good, story is a bit slow paced but not boring. Idea is well executed, sure going to buy the next book, too.

  • Lee Brazil
    2019-03-29 02:46

    An interesting and intricate mystery. I was torn between rushing ahead to see how the situation was resolved and rereading passages simply because I enjoyed the writing style so much.

  • Meggie
    2019-04-06 23:11

    I loved everything in Elliott Smith first book, His Name is John. Elliott was a wonderful character. He was realistic, focused about his own life and his family. I really enjoyed how Elliott acted with John and tried to help him till the end. I have to admit John murder case was full of layers. When Elliott helped the police to uncovered one part he has a new mystery on his hands. I have to say, WOW Dorien Grey done an excellent job with this book! I loved it and will continue on!Highly recommended fist book!

  • Kristy Maitz
    2019-03-29 23:45

    What to say? Hmm..Story plot was pulling. Main character Elliott Smith has a great work that he likes. The whole murder case was nicely written so following Elliott true the whole book was fun. Still, the writing stile is little bit non personal.

  • Goesta
    2019-04-12 00:09

    My first by Dorien Grey, read alongside other more fantasy- and romance-oriented fare.* (Review in progress ... not happy with it, but here is a first response:)Enjoyed:+ Premise of amnesiac ghost latching onto (as it turns out, not so) random, ordinary guy for help. + Unlikely amateur investigator with "real" job, family, interests. Secretly wealthy hero who work for a living in spite; architectural conservationist.+ Swarthy Hispanic love-interest; passionate, good-hearted, talented painter.+ The facts of the mystery.+ More than competently written.Didn't enjoy:- More emotional connection with (and more vivid sense of) every character other than the protagonist.- Overwhelming sense of blandness, both of protagonist and of the way the story is told.- Awkward, expository and verbose dialogue at times.- Slow, frequently repetitive plot development, feels like padding (protagonist remains stubbornly clueless despite being intelligent and a self-declared man of action)- Reader not allowed to share in the developing romance (frequently told lover is beautiful and sex hot, but no depictions, no sparks)- Overall, Elliott Smith comes across as a cold fish, deader than his unbidden guest, rather than intentionally emotionally stoic.- Reader can guess major plot developments too soon. Might be fine if this were primarily a romance, but it isn't. There was so much potential here to involve the reader more, both in terms of emotional engagement and suspense, which ended up being denied by what I experienced as a lack of authorial follow-through, or commitment. Why didn't Elliott react more strongly when he found out that (...) ? At the same time, Smith is not unsympathetic, just unformed beyond not being very reflective by nature. There are fictional characters that benefit from an exaggerated, deliberate aloofness; Smith is not one. His evident passion (for his work, his lover) and the emotions he must have felt when events in his distant past and present collide (can't say more without spoilers) need to be present on the page for this to pay off for the reader.I'm going to need to put this book in context by reading something else in the genre, or by the same author, then maybe I can return to this review more objectively.A final image which sums it up for me: Grey depicts in fair detail the sensory experience of an adult visiting a grade school, reminiscent of his own. An evocative experience for most of us. And the most visceral sense-memories tend to be olfactory. Grey describes not a single odor characteristic of schools (disinfectant, wet linoleum, chalkboards, the unique bouquet of children clumped in front of lockers ...). This book was like that ... absolutely no smell.******(Context, expectations, familiarity, first impression or not -- I think those do matter and tint our reading glasses, so FYI)

  • Kathy
    2019-04-18 19:56

    In his first Elliott Smith Mystery, His Name is John, Dorien Grey has combined two elements that I enjoy very much; a mystery and a ghost story... and he does a fantastic job with both. Elliott is a wonderful character; he's down-to-earth, hardworking, dedicated and the kind of person I'd love to know. There's nothing phony about Elliott. I admire and respect his work ethic, his undeniable talent appeals to the hidden artist in me, and, for all intents and purposes, what Elliott does with his buildings is nothing short of magic. He is a true artisan; he might not create, but what he does is the next best thing. Grey's descriptions of the buildings Elliott purchases to restore, of the work that he and his team put into them, leave me hungering for the opportunity to live in any of his restored buildings. It's that real to me. Then there is the painstakingly slow process that Elliott and John go through to discover just what happened to John. And believe you me, the suspense and tension is extremely finely drawn. So much of what Elliott learns comes in dribs and drabs and it is almost too painful; but, surprisingly for me for I am VERY impatient, Grey's timing is impeccable. Actually for Elliott to 'solve' the mystery of John--his life and his death--any more quickly would create an unrealistic scenario... and yes, I became very involved, mentally and emotionally, in the whole thing. In fact, since I got the book last fall I've read it at least twice, and I could easily sit down and read it again. I'd know, though, to have a box of tissues readily available. I absolutely love it when, without knowing an author's work, I buy a print copy and find myself utterly captivated by the his writing, the characters and the story. Dorien Grey, and his first book His Name is John, is such a treasure.I hope that some of what I've said, and I'm usually much more succint in my reviews, tempts you to give both the author and the book a chance; I don't think that you will be disappointed.

  • Chella
    2019-04-17 02:12

    I listened to the audio version of His Name is John. I have to say that I really enjoyed the story a great deal and that I definitely look forward to reading the rest of the series! Not many people can use language as well as Dorien Grey and I found the characters engaging. Dorien Grey has a plays with language in a way that most writers only attempt and usually awkwardly. The remarkable descriptions of physical locations and the characters emotions will definitely have me buying another Eliot Smith mystery.I loved the manner in which Elliot's relationship with Steve developed as it didn't take away from the focus of the story which was figuring out John's actual identity. My only issue was that the narrator took some getting used to. I have listened to hundreds of audiobooks and there have been some that I have not finished because of the narration. That was definitely not the case here, but the rhythm was somewhat unusual. Overall, I really enjoyed the experience and will listen to it again!

  • Byron
    2019-03-28 22:52

    Hmmm Where to start with this book... So it was a slow read.. and even though that sounds like a bad thing - it's NOT... It's just a slow story for relaxing and enjoying not pelting though.. And that's just what I did, I sat, I read, I enjoyed.Characters are really quite good, setting is described clearly and the story just flows with clearly marked, (?not quite the term I want but can't think of the right word), changes to the time line.I like this as a ghost story, it really is quite well thought out. I'm not huge on 'ghosts' and was wary about trying another one. I find concepts with ghost stories a bit hard to come to grips with - despite the fact I love shifter stories. His Name is John didn't make me question anything didn't try to impose a way of thinking on me, nor on the lead character. We are slowly introduced to the other characters with out any assumption of who they are on the readers part.I'll definitely be looking to purchase another book by Dorien Grey in the future.

  • Helene
    2019-03-20 22:54

    A nice mystery - not that there was any doubt who the bad guy was....Elliot is a very nice, down to earth man who wakes up in hospital after an accident, only to find himself with a new ghostly constant companion.The ghost - John - suffers from amnesia and Elliot has to help him remember his identity and the reason he was murdered.It turns out John is connected to Elliot's past and in a roundabout way also to his present.Elliot is a nice guy but he seems a bit distant/cold in his relationship to his boyfriend. Maybe because there is absolutely no description of any kind of passion - not even a kiss. I liked Elliot and the supporting characters but I would have liked to be allowed a little closer.

  • Maame
    2019-03-21 20:10

    Finally finished a book by Dorien Grey and it was very, very, good. I am really starting to love these mysteries with ghosts in them. I think it's probably because l wish they were real. Anyway the book was long, and l enjoyed the mystery very much. I was able to figure out who John was before it was revealed but it took nothing away from the story. The voice of the audio narrator sounded like that of someone older which had me constantly reminding myself the age of the characters and the year of the story but l switched between the eBook and audio so it didn't matter. Anyway 5 starts for me and highly recommended. Onto book two or maybe l will move onto Dick Hardesty book 1. Can't decide.

  • Min
    2019-04-14 22:01

    The story started out a little slow for me...or so I thought. Before I knew it, I was pretty well in and anxious to see what else was happening. Though I figured out the who and why fairly early on, the twisty-ness of the story entertained me well enough to keep me reading. There is something a bit old-fashioned about this story, too; the writing, maybe, or the fact that it is a bit wordy (in a good way, I thought). Elliott does a lot of thinking and movement is often described instead of done (if that makes sense), which might not work for everyone. Still, I liked Elliott and John both and liked the minor characters, too. I'm definitely reading the next book.

  • Alexander Inglis
    2019-04-18 20:13

    This was fun but fluffy. Elliot Smith is a gay house renovator who encounters vibrations -- a ghost? -- and ends up pursuing details of the history of a home he is restoring. There are echos of Geraldo's famous Al Capone stunt ... what's been buried in behind the walls of the basement?The ghost's name is, of course, John ... but the tale of his demise leads to some very much alive (and some elderly) folks who are bent on Elliott not finding out the truth, unveiling a murky history. If you are happy with the premise -- romancing a ghost -- it all hangs together.

  • Susan
    2019-03-26 23:55

    I was already a fan of this author so I was excited to start a new series and intrigued by the fact that this one had a paranormal aspect to it. This was a very satisfying read. I took to Elliott straight away and enjoyed his attitude to life. My heart broke for John and I was desperate to learn more about him. I'm glad to say I've found another great series and I am looking forward to more stories about Elliott.

  • Lori S.
    2019-03-23 04:04

    3-1/2 starsThough a good read in the end, this one is a bit of a slog with a slow build/set up, but the characters are realistic and solid people. Unfortunately, I didn't find the main characters, Elliot and his companion ghost, John, compelling enough to keep my attention for long, which is why it took so long to read. I am, however, willing to read another Dorien Grey book in the future.

  • Maria
    2019-04-16 22:56

    EspectacularThis is one of the best books I've read ,also with the Dick Hardesty Mistery books too.Mr Dorien Grey I am so happy I find you. I am not good at writing so just let me say you are one of the best writers I have the pleasure of reading. Muy bueno ..buenisimo.

  • Alina
    2019-03-24 02:00

    This book was so intriguing and had so much promise, but I could not get past the author's over-explanatory and clunky writing... I wanted to finish it, was sooooo invested in the story, but the annoyment factor was too high...

  • Alli
    2019-03-30 02:00

    Good story. The writing lacks emotion in a lot of places & dialogue seems a bit stiff, but it was still an enjoyable read.

  • Stephanie
    2019-03-29 01:45

    An absolutely fantastic mystery read! I was riveted until the very end. I am most definitely reading the next book in this series.

  • Kerrysullivan
    2019-04-06 21:12

    Sorry but I just could get into this. I found the writing style boring it felt like a text book stuffy and lifeless.

  • Alan
    2019-04-12 20:53

    Fine writing, but I never clicked with the characters or the plot.

  • Angel Pedroza
    2019-04-08 00:47

    I enjoyed this book and this series.