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 Elliott Smith book His Name is John, is such a treasure.
I hope that some of what I've said, and I'm usually much more succinct in my reviews, tempts you to give both the author and the book a chance; I don't think that you will be disappointed.