Latter-Day Cipher by Latayne C. Scott is ostensibly a murder mystery, the book opens when a young woman, Kirsten Young is found murdered and left displayed in popular canyon. Into her flesh, odd symbols and markings are carved, and a note is found with the body written in an obscure 19th century code. The symbols and note are connected with historical aspects of the Mormon Church, and the Church, always careful to protect its image, quietly calls on a few of its members to defuse the issue.
The book quickly becomes much more than it appears. One part murder mystery and one part exposé of the theological flaws in one of the worlds most powerful religions; in addition the book addresses quite well what happens when someone suffers a crisis in faith. When the very foundations of their beliefs are shaken and cracked. Scott’s protagonists are believable, and her faith is woven throughout the story, an integral thread that holds it all together. Yet the book never stoops to shallow preachiness. Instead we see real people struggling with their beliefs and faith. Against this backdrop, Scott has devised a rousing good mystery. Add to that, the fascinating glimpse into the secret and hidden practices of the Mormon Church, and you have a compelling read that I highly recommend.