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Latter-Day Cipher: A Novel

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  • Posted June 28, 2009

    Latayne Knows Her History!

    As a former Mormon who's family is deeply rooted in Mormonism and steeped with both the myth and the mystical of that church, I'm always appreciative of anything written about Mormonism that is well-researched and informative for the general public. This book is just that! And to have it in the form of a compelling mystery story makes it even more valuable for those of us who would like to have a more authentic story told about Mormon history. Latayne has created a very layered and nuanced murder mystery which is full of multi-dimensional characters - and by doing so, has been able to present interesting and lesser-known history about the church in a way that is anything but offensive. Due to my heavily immersed background as a Mormon, I am a seeker of truth, and Latayne knows her facts. I've researched many of them myself - and I commend her for finding a way to present that story without coming across as a "church-bahser". Great story, and good history!

    S. Emmett

    9 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 31, 2010

    If you are searching Mormonism....

    If you are searching Mormonism to understand its origins and complexities, or if you are considering leaving the faith, this book is a murder mystery that will cover the gamit of the faith. It will educate you, if you do not know Mormonism, it will show truths about the Church that many members choose not to relate to. It will show how others have lost their faith in the Church. It also shows the extreme loyalties of its members. I do not think that it was anti-Mormon, nor do I think it is Christian, very little in fact. It is just a good read to see how this religion interacts.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 4, 2009

    Must read

    I've spent my whole life living in Utah and know a bit about Mormon culture and wasn't sure I'd love this book. Suprise, suprise. The mystery was grand, but what pulled me in and kept me was the facinating information about the secrets of LDS life woven through. The respected it paid to those that believe or don't in the LDS doctrine was fantastic. Bravo!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 16, 2009

    Mystery Beyond Murder

    Now, my sis-in-law is a big murder mystery buff, but I am decidedly not. It's that aversion to the formulaic that I can't seem to shake. And yes, Later-Day Cipher does indeed start out with a murder, but that is just the first layer of the mystery, one that will continue to build long after that initial murder has been solved. It is with that first murder that Scott introduces us into a world very few of us are familiar with - Mormonism. The murderer intentionally leaves clues leading directly to the Mormon Church and some of its lesser known facets, clues that will take us deeper into the heart of a mystery hundreds of years old and more complicated than we realize.

    Cipher has one thing so often missing in murder mystery/thrillers: an entire cast of complex, interesting characters, not simply an intrepid detective and a calculating killer. Selonnah Zee, reporter with forensic training, is our pivot point, but she is not the only investigator, and not the only person we can identify with or care about. She is also not the devout, Scripture spouting sleuth or the jaded, world-weary atheist you might expect. She's a woman I could sit down and have coffee with, trying to do her job, care for an aging parent, and actually take a real vacation for once, all while occassionally pondering the big quetions life raises when we don't have the time or energy to answer them.

    During her so-called vacation to visit her cousin Roger, his wife Eliza and their daughter, she meets several interesting people, all while becoming involved in a murder investigation. In the years since leaving their home, Roger has converted to Mormonism, finding the forgiveness, purpose and belonging there that he so desperately needed. Also Mormon is the young detective Luke Taylor who was raised in a polygamous family, but doesn't feel the need to defend his church that so many others do. There is also Petersen, a no-nonsence police chief with a wife and child, who quotes poetry and misses his parents, who both succumbed to Alzheimer's before the novel opens. Other, more minor, but certainly not neglected, characters fill out the cast, all nicely rounded - no cardboard here - and all with varying associations to the Mormon Church. Perhaps the most surprising character of all is the Mormon Church itself.

    Scott is a former Mormon, now a Christian, but she is not an angry convert. This novel is not an attack on Mormonism, or on anyone who chooses that lifestyle, as she reveals that it is more an entire lifestyle, life system, than it is simply a religious affiliation. Her depiction of the church and it's followers is not only fair and balanced, but respectful. Its adherents are not mindless cult zombies, nor are they malicious predators; they are people who have found what we all want, purpose and comfort and belonging to something bigger than ourselves. Scott doesn't hesitate topoint out the questions and inconsistancies in Mormonism's beliefs and history, but there is no Bible-thumping Christian preaching eternity in hell either. She simply lets us learn about the religion along with Selonnah.

    What I think I appreciated the most was that we find out the identity of the murderer long before the end of the novel, but the mystery, instead of being resolved, actually deepens. Serial killers typically grow more and more extreme in their atrocities, but Scott turns that on its ear as the incidents grow less gruesome, but more baffling as the pages tu

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 12, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Fascinating Read!

    Scott does a great job of blending intriguing suspense with truth about today's Mormon church. This book can simply be an entertaining thriller, or, for those interested in deeper thought, a great learning tool for those with questions about Mormonism. I highly recommend this book!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 27, 2009

    Gripping, Heart-Thumping Suspense

    Latter-Day Cipher is a compelling suspense novel, from its eerily beautiful opening to a final page that lingers long after you've closed the cover. This is a finely-crafted story from a gifted, award-winning author whose prose is anything but typical to the genre. Like Dan Brown's Angels & Demons, Latter-Day Cipher traces a series of crimes steeped in Mormon tradition. Scott, renowned for her non-fiction The Mormon Mirage, now in its 3rd edition, uses her inside knowledge of Mormon doctrine to plot Cipher's crime spree, giving the reader a rare glimpse into the faith Scott embraced for 10 years. Now a devout Christian, Latayne, who still has a deep empathy for the Mormon people, speaks at seminars around the country on why she left the church she loved.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 24, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Latter Day Cipher

    Latter Day Cipher
    Latayne C. Scott
    Moody Press

    Reviewed by Cindy Loven

    Journalist Selonnah Zee is off for a vacation to Salt Lake City, to visit her cousin, Roger a former news reporter, Mormon convert. Her boss decides that this trip would be a great time to do a article about Mormon Temples, for the Memphis Telegraph, the newspaper she writes for.

    Selonnah arrives in Utah to find out there is much more to report about, than the temples, there has been a high profile murder, which is quickly followed by 2 other murders that have weird symbolic cuttings, and ties to deep Mormon rituals. Selonnah finds herself right in the middle of the investigations. Along with coming to terms with her mom being diagnosed with Alzheimer's, she is overwhelmed by it all.

    Latayne C. Scott, the author of this book, a former Mormon herself, has brought us an attention grabbing book, a mystery, with great suspense. There is a wonderful representation of faith, of Annabel, a reporter in Utah, at the paper Selonnah is working with. This book will help you to understand more about Mormonism and also you will be amazed at the faith angle of this book.

    Latayne, was a Mormon for 10 years, attended BYU and worked as a staff member for 2 BYU weekly magazines, she has converted to Christianity and since then has authored 13 published books. You can learn more about Latayne at

    Latter Day Cipher is a book that you will enjoy and is definitely a book to read and to recommend to others. 374 Pages, 13.99 US. ISBN 978-0-8024-5679-3

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 20, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Gripping suspense novel set in Mormon Utah

    Author Latayne C. Scott, a former Mormon and now devout Christian, has written a gripping suspense novel remeniscent of Dan Brown's Angels and Demons - a series of strange crimes against a religious background.

    Scott knows her setting well - Salt Lake City, headquarters of the Mormon church and home to many Mormons, both the good kind of people who are merely trying to serve their God and raise their families in the best way they know, and the weird fanatics that make their own twisted interpretations of strange doctrines, and will go to any lengths to achieve their goals.

    Almost nothing about Mormon life is left out here. Every basic belief, every weird doctrine, every strange practice finds a neat place in the story, skillfully and unobtrusively woven into the plot. And it is 99% accurate (the reviewer was a believing Mormon himself for 25 years). Will a reader unfamiliar with Mormonism be able to understand all the "mormonisms" in the story? Yes, Scott has done it so well. A never-Mormon reader who read my copy had no trouble following the story, and along the way got a good picture of Mormons, both the harmless and the dangerous kind. Although there are some "bad Mormons" among the characters, many of the Mormons are portrayed sympathetically, so that this is in no way a polemic against Mormons or their religion.

    The author builds suspense well and keeps the reader guessing almost until the end. I am looking forward to her next novel!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 5, 2009

    Latter-Day Cipher = Fantastic Read

    I was given this book as a gift, and was pleasantly surprised. Extremely well written and hooks you from the beginning. Very clever and actually makes you think well after the last page. If you like mysteries shrouded in truth, you will love this book. One of the best books I've read in a while. Read it, you won't be dissapointed and you might even learn something.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 13, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 19, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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