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His Name Is John (Elliott Smith #1)

3.8  ·  Rating Details ·  211 Ratings  ·  40 Reviews
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 and ...more
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Published 2008 by Zumaya Publications
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Elisa Rolle
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
...more
David
Jan 05, 2012 David rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 tim ...more
S.J.D. Peterson
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 bo
...more
Simon
Dec 14, 2014 Simon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Ulysses Dietz
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
Feb 19, 2011 Yvonne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Lena Grey
Jul 01, 2013 Lena Grey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Jon
Jun 19, 2013 Jon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 vocat
...more
Diana
Mar 08, 2012 Diana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Oct 24, 2013 Sunne rated it really liked it
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
Feb 27, 2011 Lee Brazil rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Goesta
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.
+ T
...more
Kathy
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 bu
...more
Chella
Jun 15, 2013 Chella rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime, series
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 S
...more
Byron
Jun 23, 2011 Byron rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: m-m-read
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 thou
...more
Helene
Jan 11, 2013 Helene rated it really liked it
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
...more
Maame
Jul 13, 2012 Maame rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 o ...more
Min
Apr 21, 2012 Min rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library, 2013
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 (
...more
Alexander Inglis
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 ha
...more
Susan
Oct 13, 2011 Susan rated it really liked it
Shelves: mm-read, z-2015
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.
3-1/2 stars
Though 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
Jun 11, 2014 Maria rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Espectacular

This 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
Jun 23, 2010 Alina rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 06, 2009 Alli rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mm-read
Good story. The writing lacks emotion in a lot of places & dialogue seems a bit stiff, but it was still an enjoyable read.
Stephanie
Apr 09, 2012 Stephanie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ongoing-series, 2008
An absolutely fantastic mystery read! I was riveted until the very end. I am most definitely reading the next book in this series.
Kerry  sullivan
Sorry but I just could get into this. I found the writing style boring it felt like a text book stuffy and lifeless.
Alan
Jan 03, 2009 Alan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Fine writing, but I never clicked with the characters or the plot.
Angel Pedroza
Mar 14, 2015 Angel Pedroza rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book and this series.
OkayKim
Jun 28, 2010 OkayKim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a really, really good mystery, ghost story.
Linda-Grace
Sep 22, 2013 Linda-Grace rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Still as good second read in fact still as great.
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The Backlot Gay B...: His Name Is John by Dorien Grey 1 13 Jul 28, 2013 05:46PM  
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If it is possible to have a split personality without being schizophrenic, Dorien Grey qualifies. When long-time book and magazine editor Roger Margason chose the pseudonym “Dorien Grey” for his first book, it set off a chain of circumstances which has led to the comfortable division of labor and responsibility. Roger has charge of day-to-day existence, freeing Dorien—with the help of Roger’s fing ...more
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Elliott Smith (4 books)
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