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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

His Name is John by Dorien Grey

     This is the third or fourth time, at least, that I've re-read Dorien Grey's mystery His Name Is John and it's also the first Dorien Grey book I ever read, which lead to me collecting all of this fantastic author's books. When I find a good thing I go all out and get everything I can.
     Anyway, I've just finished the book and I was once again feeling all emotional, all in a good way of course. And while I have no intention of spilling any beans I will say that this is a supremely satisfying story in any and all ways. Firstly, there's the mystery—who is John, and why is he, for want of a better word, haunting Elliott Smith? As the story progresses Elliott, and we as observers, discover a tidbit here, a clue there, a scintilla of a memory that way, all of it coming from John. And then we watch further as Elliott becomes more and more involved; his curiosity is piqued and things—slowly, at least to start—come to light and/or fall into place.
     I love the way Grey ever so gently peels back, layer by layer, the events that lead up to John's presence in Elliott's life.
     Secondly, there's the paranormal, or is that supernatural?, element. There's no doubt at all that John's no longer alive... and yet there's (for me anyways) no sense of disbelief. Especially since Elliott is such a down-to-earth, logical person... this is far beyond his purview! But even he is caught up in the presence of John in his life.
     Thirdly, and while not a big part of the story it is still a component, is the romance. As I am a major-league fan of romance this is not a small thing. Along with getting to know the other people in Elliott's life—especially his sister, Cessy, her homicide detective husband, Brad, and their children BJ, Jenny, and (to a smaller degree) baby Sandy—the introduction of, and the developing relationship with, Steve Gutierrez is all very, very fine!
     There are a few times—two in particular—when somewhat startling revelations are made and I pretty much lost it. Okay, one revelation, and then John's words to Elliott at the end of the book. Man, I had to take a break!
     So, yep, there will be another re-read of His Name Is John in my future, certainly within a year. This is one of those feel-good books that are on my go-to list when I need something totally fantastic! And Dorien Grey is one of those authors as well.
     If you've never read any of his books, either his "Elliott Smith and John" stories, or his "Dick Hardesty" mysteries... or even one of his other books—the western Calico; his book of poems, Dreams of a Calico Mouse; A World Ago: A Navy Man's Letters Home (1954-1956) [rather self-explanatory]—then I strongly encourage you to check any of them out.  I highly recommend any and all of them!

Dorien Grey's website:

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