Title: The Moroni Deception
Author: Jack Brody
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Visigoth Press (December 19, 2012)
Michael Chenault is an award-winning investigative journalist with the New York Times. One night, he is accused of murdering a complete stranger. After clearing his name, he discovers that the victim died in strange circumstances. When he receives information of another murder, his interest is piqued because the second victim is killed in identical circumstances. He decides that these events are worth investigating and embarks on an adventure that will take him to Salt Lake City, Utah. This forms the basis of Jack Brody’s The Moroni Deception. On the website for this book, http://themoronideception.com, it is stated that what Michael Chenault discovers ‘may not only determine the next Presidential election, but cause an entire religion to come tumbling down’.
What is this religion, though? For those who know little about the Mormons, Brody has thoughtfully included information at the front of the book. He explains that in the 5th Century, Moroni buried Gold Plates that contained the sacred history of the Americas. In the 19th century, one Joseph Smith said that Moroni appeared to him as an angel and reportedly directed him to the burial site of these plates. Joseph Smith then translated them and published The Book of Mormon. At the back of the book, Brody provides even more information about this movement and of interest is that Joseph Smith announced his candidacy for President of the United States in 1844.
After reading the book, you can see how Brody has relied on many of his experiences in writing this book, from being in the army, travelling and writing screenplays. He admits, “I’m fascinated by history, politics, and architecture, all of which play a part in my novel.” Brody also explains that the inspiration to create this novel arose after reading Jon Krakauer’s bestselling Under the Banner of Heaven. The research took a full year and ‘with a bit of imagination’ he created The Moroni Deception.
It has been classified as a conspiracy thriller; therefore, the question to ask is this: was it a page turner? Was the reader riveted? Was the plausible? To all these questions, there is one answer – yes. Indeed, for those who are accustomed to reading thrillers, the clues and red herrings are well-placed it’s not difficult to guess the real baddie. It is the way that Brody handles the final pages of this story that sets him apart: Chenault stands his ground and does bring the antagonist to task about what he’s done. Clearly, he does not compromise on his standards, which is what contributes towards making him an award-winning reporter in the first place. Still, Chenault shows restraint in the story he eventually publishes and, by doing this, Brody has inserted the element that most readers love: Chenault’s experiences in this story have transformed him from cynical reporter to one who has compassion. It leaves the reader satisfied that from the tragic ending has come something of value and looking forward to the author’s next work.
Reviewed by Jacinta Rao (December 2012)